Portland Traffic Safety Curriculum: Grades 6-8

Curricula - "Kids on the Move" (K-5); Introduction Grades pK - 3; Grades 4 - 5; Appendices; Curricula - "Smart Moves" (6-8); Introduction and How to Use This Curricula; Welcome to PORTLAND KIDS ON THE MOVE, a traffic-safety curriculum with an emphasis on environmental concerns.

This curriculum was written and designed especially for Portland-area school children, kindergarten through fifth grade. Educational consultants contracted by the City of Portland Office of Transportation developed the program with the assistance of an advisory committee composed of Portland Public Schools administrators, teachers, parents, and Portland traffic-management specialists. In addition, Tri-Met, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Portland Department of Transportation, and the Oregon Department of Education contributed materials and representatives to the final product. Goals of the Program  PORTLAND

KIDS ON THE MOVE has two primary goals: (1) to instruct children in basic pedestrian, bicycle, and motor-vehicle occupant safety; and (2) to encourage children to walk, ride bicycles, and use mass transit as a regular means of transportation. To meet these goals, 25 lessons with specific objectives involve students in the classroom and in active, hands-on experiences. 

Though stranger safety is critical when students are in city streets, biking, walking, or riding a mass-transit system, the subject does not directly relate to the traffic/environment theme. Therefore, lessons on stranger safety are included as supplements in the Appendices rather than placed right in the lesson plans.  Some cities in other countries are far ahead of us. In many, the bicycle is the primary means of urban transportation, and fast, fuel-efficient trains take passengers long distances. Automobile-dependent Americans will have to use new modes of transportation if we are to preserve our natural environment. This curriculum is an effort to educate Portland children to value and enjoy alternative transportation.  

Just as important as transportation issues is the issue of traffic safety. Traffic accidents are the number-one cause of death and injury to young people, and most such accidents could be avoided if schoolchildren learned and consistently reviewed basic traffic safety. While almost all children ride bikes, fewer than one in 1,000 schools in the nation teach bicycle safety. Park programs, youth organizations and clubs, associations such as AAA and Red Cross, and educational programs such as this curriculum have been trying to fill the need. Background Educational Philosophy.

The developers of PORTLAND KIDS ON THE MOVE have tied this course to proven educational philosophy and practices. The following concepts are woven into the materials and methodology:  

Because students have individual learning styles, material is presented in a number of different ways to be meaningful to all students.

Most students learn best when actively involved in instruction with "hands-on" activities requiring full participation.

Instruction begins with what students already know and builds on this base.  * Students learn from sources other than the teacher, such as parents, peers, and other community members.

An inclusive educational environment is essential, with no limitations based on sex, race, economic status, or disability.

Forms of enrichment are made available for teachers and students who seek more than the basic course content.

Parent/guardian involvement is critical in linking course instruction to real life and reinforcing important concepts. It is assumed that students will get feedback on their progress and recognition for their successes from parents, teachers, peers, and the community. 

How to Teach the Program 

Ideally, PORTLAND KIDS ON THE MOVE would become an all-school project extending a full month, which might be called Traffic Safety Month or Portland Kids on the Move Month. The month could end with a celebration, with students receiving certificates for participation and special recognition for their efforts. If all-school participation is not possible, individual teachers can use the lessons as they choose. However, a number of lessons involve cross-age teaching with 4th- and 5th-graders instructing and modeling for K-3 children.

Parent involvement is built into the program in many lessons, and extensions involving community members - such as police officers, bicycle mechanics, and other volunteer speakers and helpers - are recommended. The more people involved, the more emphasis and energy expended, the more likely the instruction will be remembered. 

Program Components PORTLAND KIDS ON THE MOVE contains 25 lessons: 14 lessons that are most appropriate for Grades pK-3 and 11 lessons that are most appropriate for Grades 4-5. All lessons include nine main components: level, subject area, objective, time, materials, suggested activities, assessment, extension, and additional resources. Some lessons repeat basic information included in earlier lessons because some students will not have learned it previously. Level - A full range of Grades K-5 is indicated for each lesson plan since many of the activities may be taught in all the grades, in blended-primary classrooms, and/or to students with differing experience, knowledge, needs, and abilities. Those grades in which the lesson plan objective is most likely to be addressed are indicated in bold and underlined type. 

Subject Area - A list of subject areas touched upon briefly or in depth by the lesson plan and corresponding to Portland Public Schools' Curriculum Frameworks is included under this heading. 

Objective - Objectives describe what students will be able to do after completing the lesson. 

Time - The time needed to complete each lesson is estimated. The time will vary considerably depending on the ability level of the students, the number of students, the individual style of the instructor, and the teaching environment. 

Materials - All materials and equipment necessary to teach the lesson are listed, and many of them are provided in the lesson plan. 

Suggested Activities - Clear, step-by-step procedures and factual information are included for all suggested activities. 

Assessment - Most lesson plans suggest one or more ways to enhance or expand the lesson concepts. 

Additional Resources - Teachers are referred at the end of each lesson plan to specific sections. Most lessons contain supplemental "Figures," which consist of materials for students to use in classroom activities and/or to deliver to parent(s)/guardian(s) and for teachers to use as overhead transparencies. Permission forms are included for the convenience of teachers, although in some instances the "Day Field Trip Notice and Student Permission Form" (an internal form of the Portland School District) may suffice. 

Authoring Organization: 
City of Portland Office of Transportation

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