Teaching & Reviewing Essential Survival Signs & Symbols

Tips for Teaching & Reviewing Essential Survival Signs & Symbols | Remedia Publications

We encounter special signs, symbols, and directions in every area of our lives. They provide us with information and tell us what we can and cannot do. Knowing what they mean is vital. Knowing them is even more essential for students who are trying to expand their knowledge outside the classroom into the real world. We've put together some fun, hands-on activities to help you teach and review the essential signs and symbols with your students.

Getting Started
First things first, you’re going to need some pictures of the signs and symbols you want to teach and reinforce with your students. Whether it’s a walking field trip with your students, or on your own time, go out and snap some photos of the signs in your neighborhood, at the movie theater, and around the school.  Save and organize them so that you can display the pictures on your classroom’s whiteboard, your iPad, or print and laminate them.

If you are working with students who may be easily distracted by the other elements in a real-world photo, we recommend using our Survival Signs & Symbols Program. This program includes 94 flash cards, reproducible activities, glossary of terms, and interactive software. The flash cards in the program each feature a stand-alone sign displayed on the front with a simple definition of the sign on the back. These flash cards are a great way to review the signs and symbols that students will encounter in their daily lives with minimal distraction. As students become familiar with the signs, you can introduce the “real-world” photos you’ve taken.

Tips for Teaching & Reviewing Essential Survival Signs & Symbols | Categorize Signs | Remedia Publications
Categorizing is a very important skill that helps with memory, problem solving, and organization. Depending on your students’ ability level, you may ask them to categorize the signs into more complex categories like “warning” or “transportation” signs.  However some students may struggle with categorizing and will need more systematic instruction.

For these students, help them categorize the signs by similarities such as color or shape. Find all of the triangle signs. Find all of the yellow signs. For example, you’ll notice that brown signs all belong to the same category. If students can recognize these patterns, this can help them learn and remember the meanings of each sign.

Another way to help your student categorize would be by using situations that they can relate to.  Start by displaying anywhere from three to eight signs. Ask students to choose the signs that would be most helpful in the below situations.

What sign would you look for...
  • if you were sick or hurt?
    Signs: first aid kit, ambulance, hospital, fire department
  • if you need to use the bathroom
    Signs: restroom, men’s room, women’s room
  • if you are riding your bike?
    Signs: bike lane, bicycles prohibited, cross walk, stop sign, no trespassing
  • if you are entering or leaving a building?
    Signs: push, pull, exit, open, closed, food prohibited

Riddle Clues
As students become more familiar with the signs, playing riddle games will be a fun way to reinforce what they know. Make a riddle for each sign and try to get students to guess the sign based on the clues in your riddle. For example: You can find me on a street corner. I am red. I am shaped like an octagon. What sign am I? As students become proficient at playing the riddle game, ask them to make their own riddles to share with a partner.

Act it Out
Students will have a blast reviewing the signs with a little game of Survival Signs Charades. One, of many, ways you could play is by splitting students into teams of about five or six. Have each team choose one person who will start off the charade. Give the teams 60 seconds. The first person will come up and act out a sign that you show them, trying to get their team to guess the sign (remember, no talking, just acting). Once someone on their team has guessed the correct sign, that person jumps up and acts out the next sign. The goal is to get as many signs guessed as possible in the 60 seconds. After the first team has competed, the next team comes up and does the same thing. Tip: Keep the whole class involved by having the teams not participating, write their guesses for the other teams' charades.
Review essential signs & symbols with your students with these hands-on, #lifeskills activities from @rempediapub
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Story Time
Tell a story to get your students thinking about how they may encounter the signs in the real world. My friend and I were hiking in the woods. We brought a lunch to eat. We wanted to find a place where we could stop to eat. We came across a brown sign. The sign had a white picnic table on it… As you tell the story show a picture of the sign so that students can better connect to the story. Challenge students to write or tell a story of their own that includes a few signs. Hand out images of three random signs to each student to get their creative juices flowing.

Photo Shoot
When students are ready, send them out of the classroom with a partner, a parent, or yourself to experience the signs in the real world. Have students document their experiences through pictures.

Assign each student one sign. Have students take pictures of their sign to share. You can ask students to share their pictures in a slide show for the class. Or students can post their pictures on your class’ Facebook page or even on Twitter or Instagram using your class’ hashtag (example: #MrsSmithsRm120). Students may even have fun making a Vine video of their sign being used. They could record people waiting for a bus in front of the Bus Stop sign or a car stopping at a Stop sign.

No matter how you choose to review the survival signs and symbols, the more practice and experience students have with the signs, the more prepared, confidant, and independent they will be in the real world.

Want more practice? Check out our Survival Signs & Symbols products: