In second grade, students are developing their writing skills beyond the basic sentence. They’re eager to write for real-life purposes, and show off their developing abilities on paper. At this age, they’ve been exposed to lots of different safety ideas, too – fire safety, sun safety, bike safety, water safety, and bus safety are all ideas that have probably been addressed with your child by the third year of school.
So, give your child a chance to review his knowledge of safety and show off his developing writing skills at the same time. Have him write a safety manual to share at home!
What You Need:
- copy paper
- two sheets of card stock
- pens / pencils
- colored pencils/markers
What You Do:
- Explain to your child what a manual is, and if possible, show him examples of manuals that you have in your house. You may have manuals that came with the purchase of your vehicles, appliances, computer, etc. Have him flip through the pages to see what types of information are included in a manual, such as how-to steps, and labeled diagrams.
- Encourage your child to create a page in the manual for fire safety. Ask him to tell you out loud what he knows about how to stay safe in the event of a house fire. Then discuss with him ways he could put this knowledge on the page to include it in a safety manual. When he’s got some ideas ready, let him go to work with the copy paper and some writing utensils. He can also illustrate with colored pencils and markers.
- Repeat for additional pages on other safety topics, such as sun safety, bathroom safety, bicycle safety, and kitchen safety. Some pages will be much shorter than others. For example, it may take only one page to describe and illustrate ideas for safely using the family’s staircase. But perhaps the fire safety pages include a list of steps, a page of emergency phone numbers, a map of your home’s fire exits, and a fire escape plan. Encourage him to take his time in creating the pages. You may wish to break up the manual-writing activity and spread it out over several days.
- Have him compile the pages, and add card stock covers to the front and back. Staple together to make a book.
- Have him decorate the front cover, and list his name as the author and illustrator.
- Finally, have your second grade author share his work with the entire family, reading it aloud and showing them his fine work. On the inside back cover, family members can all sign their names to indicate that they agree to the safety rules of the house.
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.