Safety First!

Safety First!

by Judie Haynes

Many of the safety issues which are crucial for our newcomers are taught during the regular school year. Even if your new English languge learners attended school for the entire year, it is possible these important lessons were not understood.

Teach about Summer Safety

Summertime should be a relaxing, fun time for your students. However, many children are less supervised in the summer. There are many hazards of which parents of our students may not be aware. Teach your students and their parents about special safety issues which are unique to the summer and review those which they may have missed during the school year. These tips are suitable for students of all ages.

1. Review information about what to do in case of a fire. Young children will love the interactive Sparky website.

2.Bicycle safety and the importance of wearing a helmet are crucial lessons. A site about bike safety can be found at Bike Tour.

3. Learning how to cross streets safely is also important for ELLs. Go to Pedestrian Safetyto get a list of safety tips.

4. Children of all ages need to know how and when to use 911. Find this information at Using 911.

Warm Weather Safety Tips

The following safety rules are unique to warm weather. I spend much of the summer near the ocean and often see children in risky situations because their parents do not understand the dangers. Perhaps the ocean in their country is not as treacherous or maybe they come from a landlocked area of the world. Or the roads in their country were less crowded and seat belts were not mandatory and bicycling was safer. Here are some web sites that can help you teach these all important lessons.

1. Have students use one of the following swimming safety lists to learn vocabulary and then draw pictures to go with each rule. The Red Cross site, Water Safety Tips, provides a general overview of water safety. Find the safety information that is most relevant for the activities in your area. Another good site on pool safety is found at the Children's Safety Zone.

2. Warn students about dangerous weather in your area of the country. If thunderstorms are a problem, a good source for young children is at "Billy, Maria and the Thunderstorm." A list of plans and evacuation procedures in case of a hurricane can be found at the CDC website.

3. You don't want to alarm small children but parent education can help save lives. Evacuation plans for families in case of emergencies such as natural disasters or homeland security are covered on this U.S. Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) site. Go to Are You Ready? and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Download the information which is pertinent for your part of the world and to the summer season. See information on heat waves, thunderstorms and tornadoes. Under the heat wave section, there is an excellent list of measures to take during a water shortage.Again, the information should be tailored to weather conditions in your area of the world. This information is written for older children and adults. There are versions in Spanish.

4. It's difficult to teach young children about seatbelt safety if parents are not taught about this topic. However, students should know that they need to wear a seatbelt. Teach about seatbelt safety using information at Child Transportation Safety Tips. This site is designed for the adults in the family but can provide the teacher with the basic information to design a lesson.

Related Links

Activities for Summer School ESL
Teaching summer school is often a challenge because the range of English language ability and grade levels in a single class can be very broad. You may find yourself with a mix of students who are not literate in native language with those who are. Second graders may be placed with 5th graders; non-English speakers with intermediate English language learners.