Teaching Functional Skills with Sign of the Week

Looking for a way to start teaching functional skills in your special education classroom?

I use Sign of the Week as a whole class instructional activity. We do it during our Power Up time, which is a school-wide intervention period. My students are all in my classroom during this time, so it works out well. This is also when we work on functional skills for our Community Based Instruction units for the month.

Sign of the Week interactive bulletin board display

Day 1: Introduce the Sign

We begin the week by introducing the new sign. I use the included presentations for this but I just go through the first few slides up until Write It. I like to add the Sign of the Week slides to my daily slides. I also love to use the Sign of the Week adapted books when I do this. One tip I have if you don't want to prep all the books is to use your screen snip tool and copy them into your daily slides. You can also prep the books for your more involved students who need the manipulative to help stay engaged. After I introduce the sign, we complete the Write It/ Trace It section of the workbook. Monday is the longest day of Sign of the Week instruction, the rest of the week is very quick.

Day 2: Define the Sign

On the second day, we focus on what the sign means. We use the presentation and read the definition. I provide lots of examples and non-examples. Whenever possible, I like to include movement, so if we are learning about the "stop" sign, we practice walking around and stopping when we see the sign. I repeat the definition a ton so every time I show a "stop" sign, I say "Stop. Do not move." Finally, we write the definition in our workbooks.

Day 3: Describe the Sign

On Wednesday, we discuss what the sign looks like. I love the variety of pictures included in the presentations for this. We complete the Color It/ Draw It section of the workbook. 

Day 4: Find the Sign

Next, we learn about where we may see the sign. If we can locate the sign within the school, we will go on sign exploring. We complete the last section of the workbook, the Find It section.

Day 5: Review

We don't do Sign of the Week instruction on Fridays because we don't have Power Up, but if you had time in your schedule for a 5th day, this is a great review day. I have tons of supplemental materials in my store. Here are some options.

Sign of the Week Match It! Work Tasks

Sign of the Week Yes/ No Task Cards

Sign of the Week Adapted Books

Reading in Real Life Signs Puzzles

Reading in Real Life Signs Task Cards


Sign of the Week is so easy to use! Here are a few tips I've learned over my experience teaching it.

  • Assign a student or para to switch out the interactive board every week. 
  • Review often to ensure maintenance. I like to include a review day each week because it ensures that I don't go too long without reviewing. 
  • Identify the signs in real life whenever possible. We do this whenever we go out into the community. I also have signs posted in my classroom, like an exit sign over the door and an on & off sign on my light switch.
  • Prep your Sign of the Week materials at the beginning of the year so you don't have to worry about them each week. How nice will it be to be ready to go from day 1?!
  • Have students start to teach the sign each week after everyone is familiar with the routine. This is fun for them too and you can use the included presentation to guide them.

If you want to get started with Sign of the Week, you can grab either Volume 1 or Volume 2 (or both) from my store now. I also have a Sign of the Week Bonus available with 6 signs that you can use for ESY or to supplement, or even just to try it out before committing to the whole bundle. 



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