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Hi teacher friends! I am here to talk to you today about my favorite functional skills instruction, environmental signs! I just love teaching about signs!

There are quite a few curricula available for teaching signs in special education. In my classroom, I have both Edmark Signs Around You and Pro Ed's Survival Signs. Edmark teaches 100 words total and Survival Signs teaches 80 words total (40 indoor/40 outdoor).

I also have designed my own curriculum called "Reading in Real Life" and I have a signs edition. You can read more about it here.I generally run a functional skills class period, which includes sign instruction, with each of my students. I have created the Reading in Real Life word list of signs that my students should know now (in middle school). I have this list split into 4 sections- warning & safety signs, indoor & lobby signs, community signs, and directional signs. Each section has 25 signs and I introduce up to 5 words at a time, depending on the student.

Regardless of what program you use, there's 3 components to include when teaching environmental signs.

Like when teaching academic vocabulary, it's essential that students build comprehension and understand the meaning of the word. For example, if you can identify an employees only sign but don't know what "employees" are, it doesn't really matter that you can read the sign. Students must understand what each sign means. In addition, it's beneficial for them to know where certain signs are located. I also post as many signs as I can in my classroom, in natural locations, so we can generalize and practice in real life scenarios

Over the years, I've created tons of resources for teaching environmental signs and have them posted in my store. You can grab a free sample of my Reading in Real Life: Signs Task Cards here! Thanks for reading!




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