Before you bust out your red striped bandanna, eye patch and favorite pirate catch phrase we’re talking about a teaching technique and popular book: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. In this book, for teachers who are looking to go beyond the status quo, PIRATE stands for: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & Analyze, Transformation and Enthusiasm.
In the book, which was read by Pinewood teachers this summer, they are asked to consider two questions:
1. If your students didn’t have to be there, would you be teaching to an empty room?
2. Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?
Motivated by these questions teachers enthusiastically began planning for their own Teach Like a Pirate Day filled with unique lessons and experiences designed by each teacher to showcase their own interests and passions as well what they thought would be interesting and engaging to the third through six graders participating in the special day.
The school day was split into six blocks and students had the opportunity to choose which classes they would attend during each block. Their options included: Story Dramatics, Loom Bracelet making, Search for Buried Treasure using Geo-Caching, Into to Origami, Service Project [landscaping school grounds], T-shirt Design, Zumba, and the very popular Chicken Wing Dissection taught by Pinewood’s own Donna Bergeon.
Jane Essenburg, third grade teacher loves Teach Like a Pirate Day “because when you think back to when you were a kid, what do you remember from school? You don’t remember the worksheets, you remember the experiences you had.” And because classes filled up quickly students had to have back up plans ready along with a good dose of patience and flexibility. Mrs. Essenburg says that learning and using the skills of problem-solving are key in an experience like this and they aren’t something that can’t be taught in a regular day.
And in Mrs. Brower’s class it was not only okay to have your favorite technological device out, it was encouraged! In the class, Technology Guru, students had the opportunity to share tips, shortcuts, clues and other device-specific tricks with their classmates. Students stood in the front of the classroom, used the projector and microphone and fielded questions as they shared their knowledge. While it was a little intimidating to choose a topic at first, Mrs. Brower was excited about Teach Like a Pirate Day and thinks it’s something they will do year after year.
6th grader, Izzy Krzewski, was having a great time pulling weeds [parents, take note!] and really liked the entire experience; “It’s cool to do new things and try new things.”
Many thanks to the amazing staff, parent and community volunteers who contributed to the success of Teach Like a Pirate Day! Looks like no one will be walking the plank this year!
School Service Project / Landscaping with Mr. Beachum.