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Teaching Guide

Teaching PBIS: Safety

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There are enough safety slogans, mottos, and jingles to plaster a million signs. "Click it or Ticket." "Stop, Drop, and Roll." The lyrics to "Safety Dance." Gather up a bunch of those safety-related signs and you could build an impenetrable fortress, keeping you 100% safe from any danger… unless it collapses, crushing you under a mound of safety warnings.

A motto, slogan, or song is all well and good as a reminder, but first students need to have a solid foundation about safety so they know what they're being reminded of.

In this guide you will find

  • online resources for home safety, fire safety, and digital safety.
  • group activities that prompt students to make safety plans in a variety of dangerous subject areas, like poisoning, choking, and watching really boring TV shows. (Okay, just the first two.)
  • assignments about safety on all different forms of public transportation. Bus, train, taxi, self-driving car—you name it.

As Men at Work sang, and we're paraphrasing here: You can Shmoop if you want to / you won't leave your students behind / because your students will Shmoop / and when they Shmoop then they're students of ours, too.



Today, students will become safety experts at home. They'll share their expertise with each other and make a booklet they can take home and use to assess their homes (to the joy of their parents).

Before you get started, here's a video you can show to your class.

Key Skills and Learning Objectives

  • Cover twelve different safety areas of the home
  • Make a safety booklet
  • Design a fire escape plan for their homes


  • Yesterday: Remember what your house is like. 
  • Today: Make a home fire escape plan. Start their home safety assessment.


Materials Needed: Library or computer lab access, copies of the handout, small binders for every student, access to a photocopier and a hole-puncher.

Estimated Time to Complete: 50 minutes

Being safe at home is a humongous undertaking, but learning at-home safety skills will be useful forever and maybe even save a life somewhere along the line. Worth paying attention to? Probably.

However, the topic is so big (and it's so important to be thorough) that we're going to have to become a group of experts, each with a specialized knowledge on one aspect of home safety. Then, we'll share our knowledge with the class in order to do it justice.

[Get the students into twelve groups. Depending on your class size, this might be pairs, with a few groups of three. Each group will be assigned one of the following topics:]

  • Burglars
  • Home heating
  • Poison
  • Fire
  • Child-Proofing
  • Burns
  • Cars/Driving
  • Falls
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Electrical Cords
  • Furniture Tip-Overs
  • Choking

Now that you have your teams and topics, spend fifteen minutes online discovering what safety looks like for that topic. For example, how do you reduce tripping hazards? Or avoid getting poisoned? What about home invasions? [Depending on where you live, you might want to add a safety topic about weather-related emergencies…earthquake, tornado, hurricane, zombie apocalypse, etc.]

Use the handout to write down useful tips to share with your classmates. Make it legible for photocopying purposes. [During the last thirty minutes of class, students should share their knowledge of their topic, including reading their tips and answering any questions. Each group should have about two minutes to present.]


[Debrief with the students. What did they learn today? What tips did they find surprising or have never thought about before? Either today or next class, make copies of the filled-in handouts and have the students put together little safety booklets they can keep at home. They can customize their binder covers with pictures of Dalmatians, poison symbols, bloody, severed limbs, or whatever. Tell them their homework for the week is to assess their homes for safety and hopefully check off everything in the booklet.]


Call a family meeting: today, you'll be making a fire escape plan. First things first: play detective and map out all possible exits from your house. Make sure they all open easily, especially windows. Next, check if there are smoke alarms in every bedroom and on every level of the house. Talk to your parents if there aren't. Pick a meeting spot outside, a safe distance from the house, where you'll all meet in case there's a fire. Make sure your house number is visible so the fire truck can find it easily. If it isn't, propose designing a new sign. (Glitter, anyone?)

If you have grandparents or little kids at home, pick a person (and a backup person) to be the one who fetches them and helps them out in case there's a fire. Remind your family never to go back into a burning house. Even for the big screen. Or the dog. The firefighters will know what to do about Scruffy when they arrive. Oh, and memorize this number: 9-1-1.

Check out this optional resource, too.


  1. What makes you feel safe at home?
  2. Have you ever been in danger at home? What was the danger?
  3. Would you consider your home safe? Why or why not?
  4. How can you be safe without being too uptight?
  5. Do you think your parents are aware of home safety? What might they not know about it?
  6. Have you ever known anyone who was in a home emergency? How did it come about? Would they do anything differently next time?
  7. How can you increase home safety awareness in your community?
  8. What other home safety issues can you think of that we didn't cover in class today? [natural disasters, stranger danger, the Rapture, etc.]
  9. What three things could you do today that would make your home safer?
  10. Can you apply any of your at-home safety knowledge to your school?