Hover to see how factors connect to Safety. Then click connected factors to explore strategies related to multiple factors.
Safety is being and feeling physically and psychologically secure at home, at school, and within our neighborhood and larger community. Students who feel safe are better able to focus on learning and therefore learn to read more quickly. Students who feel less safe tend to miss school and participate less often in class activities, missing out on learning opportunities.
There are four key types of safety that affect a student's learning:
Even under teacher supervision, bullying, primarily verbal aggression and exclusion behaviors, is common in classrooms. Bullying is unfortunately also common in the broader community outside of school. Students who are bullied in person or online experience higher rates of depression and anxiety and have lower levels of academic achievement. Perpetrators of bullying also experience higher levels of depression and suicidal thoughts.
Safety at home is critical to students' development because students who live in unsafe homes can suffer from chronic stress. Students can feel unsafe at home for many reasons, such as:
The traumatic effects of living in an unsafe home can in turn make it difficult for students to reach their full potential at school.
Students who live in safe neighborhoods have better academic outcomes, including learning to read, than students who witness violence in their communities. Exposure to violence and crime in the community is linked to many negative outcomes because students who live in unsafe neighborhoods experience chronic stress that has implications for their mental health, an aspect of Emotion.
The reduction of bullying and school violence are two main goals of school Safety. Because of the many repercussions of bullying, all states have implemented legislation to combat bullying in school and cyberbullying that moves into the school space.
The prevalence of school shootings in recent years is also an important concern. Students who survive these traumatic events are at risk for experiencing serious psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet, despite the increase in the number of victims of school shootings, overall crime rates in U.S. schools have declined in recent years due to increased security measures. More research on the impact of school security measures, such as active shooter drills, is however critical across different age groups. Early findings for older students suggest that, while active shooter drills enhance student preparedness, they also bring more attention to the threat from potential shooters, which can increase anxiety.
Teachers can support language development by using and providing syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g.
Teachers support language development by using and providing Vocabulary that is appropriately leveled (e.g., using word wall words).
Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.
Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and to experience books above their reading skills.
Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students become storytellers by listening and questioning.
Dictionaries and thesauruses can serve as resources for students to expand their Vocabulary knowledge.
When teachers provide explicit instruction in comprehension strategies and model when to use them, students learn how to flexibly apply them to make meaning of texts.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition.
Teaching students how to label, identify, and manage emotions helps them learn self-regulation skills.
Overtly encouraging all students to seek support and ask questions creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development.
When students explain their thinking process aloud, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
Free choice supports learner interests and allows more complex social interactions to develop.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Games help students visualize how to connect one fact to another.
Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthen recall.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Easy access to high frequency words promotes sight word recognition as students see the words repeatedly.
Imagining allows students to step back from a problem or task and think about it from multiple angles.
Independent reading promotes reading development by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
Having space where students can go supports Self-regulation and individual deliberate practice.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce language development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
Literacy centers with reading games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex reading skills and social interactions.
Providing physical representations of concepts helps activate mental processes.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Creating patterns for remembering classroom processes, narrative structures, etc.
Multiple tables and chairs on wheels allow for setting up the classroom to support the desired learning outcomes of each classroom activity.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Teachers sharing text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections models this schema building.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their reading work.
Multiple display spaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
A parent evening meeting about how to support literacy at home with one follow-up meeting with each family has shown strong results for students' reading development.
Reading aloud allows students to hear and practice reading and fluency skills.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Visuals help students recognize relationships within words and sentences to develop reading skills.
When students reframe negative thoughts and tell themselves kind self-statements, they practice positive self-talk.
Talking with students about what they know about the topic of upcoming work helps activate their Background Knowledge or reveals gaps.
Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
Cards with strategies for managing emotions help students remember how to act when faced with strong feelings.
Decreasing extra audio input provides a focused learning environment.
Reading aloud regularly exposes students to new and familiar vocabulary and texts.
Reading aloud books about skills children are learning provides another model for their development.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.
Students build their confidence and skills by reading and rereading books.
Books of varying complexity and reading levels are necessary for all students to experience reading success.
Multicultural and diverse books are critical for supporting all students.
With rhyming and creative word use, poetry is a genre that supports the development of early literacy skills in particular.
Books with SEL topics, such as developing friendships and identifying emotions, help teach these skills.
Incorporating multiple senses with strategies like chewing gum, using a vibrating pen, and sitting on a ball chair supports focus and Attention.
Providing ways for students to adjust sound level supports individual auditory needs.
Using earplugs or headphones can increase focus and comfort.
Providing a story map ahead of time or having students create a map during or after reading helps learners understand and practice narrative skills.
Providing students a voice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful.
Providing ways for students to meet their individual temperature needs supports focus and Self-Regulation.
Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.
Students develop reading skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
Timers help students learn to self-pace and transition.
Tossing a ball, beanbag, or other small object activates physical focus in support of mental focus.
Spaces that are structured, organized, and clean provide increased room for collaboration and active learning.
Having students verbally repeat information such as instructions ensures they have heard and supports remembering.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Videos developed with discussion guides can teach students about SEL skills.
Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and guided reading strips, help students focus and properly track as they read.
Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.
Web-based dictionaries and thesauruses can serve as visual and audio resources for students to expand their Vocabulary knowledge.
Word sorts are multisensory activities that help learners identify patterns and group words based on different categories.
A word wall helps build Vocabulary for reading fluidity.
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