Signs and symbols

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By Taissa Csákyeducation writer

Crack codes, send secret messages, and interpret and make use of all kinds of symbols in this rich creative topic


Some of the most familiar signs and symbols are numbers and the letters of the alphabet. But, these are just the tip of the iceberg: there are other alphabets from around the world and the ancient past, cartographic symbols, road signs, pictograms… These, and more, are introduced in this topic, which makes links to literacy, numeracy and more, to show children how signs and symbols help us to communicate.

We’re got a range of resources to go with this topic. Take a look


Key Stage 1

  1. Talking with signs
  2. Picture yourself

Key Stage 2

  1. Semaphore
  2. Map-makers
  3. Rules of the road
  4. Writing in pictures
  5. What’s for dinner?

Key Stage 1

1. Talking with signs (literacy, citizenship)

This topic teaches children how to make some basic statements in British Sign Language. Find out their ideas about sign language – is it only used by deaf people? Not all people who use sign language are profoundly deaf. Some of them have learned BSL because they work with or are friends with deaf people.

You may find it helpful to watch this online video before starting the session, so you can see BSL in action.

Show the class Activity sheet 6, ‘Talking with signs’. Also refer to the BSL alphabet and numbers activity sheets from the Child Ed PLUS resource bank. Ask the children to practise making the individual signs in pairs or small groups. Put the signs together to make sentences. Sign language is slower than speech, so the sentences have to be simpler.

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