Friday, November 4, 2016

Meet the Pirate Queen and Grab a Freebie!

 Ahoy Mateys!

Welcome to the Pirate Queen's blog where I hope to share with you teaching treasures I discovered during my twenty years of teaching 3rd and 4th graders. 

You may be wondering why the pirate theme! Well, truth be told, I wasn't always a pirate. It all began with a nearly life size cardboard cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean". My daughter, a Johnny Depp fan, acquired the cutout from the bookstore where she was working. She stationed the captain in a corner near the entryway of her apartment, but it gave her boyfriend the creeps every time he walked through the door. Eventually she passed it on to me! Of course, being a teacher, I knew I could make good use of Captain Jack in my classroom, and so it came to me that books are treasure and pirates love treasure! Thus began my adventure as the teaching pirate!
Thar be treasure in these books, Mate!

Over the years, my classroom took on a pirate theme. It was decorated with pirate flags, treasure chests, and pirate ship posters. I was constantly on the lookout for all things "pirate". I happened upon a pirate blanket and pillow which were used to cover up the couch in my room. When my amazing aunt in Florida learned of my pirate theme, she sent me colorful beads and flags from Tampa's yearly Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Of course, my students often bestowed upon me pirate gifts they discovered on their travels. One pirate family during spring break visited Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and gifted me with a replica gold doubloon necklace!

My students called themselves "The Pirates of Perrine". Just as most teachers assign student
jobs so did I, but our classroom jobs had different names such as First Mate, Lookouts, Orderlies. After morning announcements, we began our day with our pirate mantra, "We are the Pirates of Perrine. Discover the knowledge. Yo! Ho!" Instead of Student of the Week, every Friday one of my young pirates was either the Pirate Queen or Pirate King, and they brought in their special treasures to present to their mates. Our first class celebration of the year had a pirate theme too.  We played pirate games such as "Pin the Parrot on the Pirate", "Pirate Yahtzee", and "Pirates of the Caribbean Monopoly". 

One of my favorite activities to do as a teacher is reading to my students. I always have done my best to make the books I read come to life by giving the characters distinctive voices. This meant that I had to develop a pirate brogue for the pirate books I collected and stored in our class treasure chests. (Who knew there were so many pirate picture books out in the publishing world!) 
A tradition I established at the beginning of the school year was to read picture books to my students that inspired a love for reading. Of course, I began with Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail! Edward loves to read. He'll read anything, even cereal boxes. Also, when he reads he sees vivid images of what he reads. Once he was reading about dinosaurs, and he was certain he saw one outside his bedroom window. His favorite time to read is bedtime. One evening as he reads a book about pirates, his imagination gets carried away, and suddenly there are pirates in his room! 

A charming feature of the book is the illustrations that show Edward as well as his mom and dad as characters in the stories that he reads. With that in mind, I recommend the following activity for your students:

First, have each student think about a favorite book, one that made them feel as though they were part of the story. Once they have their books selected, they write a summary of their favorite part, a scene that came to life for them. To help students organize their summary, use the SWBSTF Flow Chart: (Someone...Wanted... But... So... Then... Finally...) 

Now students can write a paragraph summarizing their favorite event. Then students will draw an illustration of their favorite scene including themselves as one of the characters. If you can, take head shots of each student. Students will cut out their faces and glue them as the faces of the characters in their drawings.

When the class has completed the project, choose a means for sharing. Museum walks are fun. Students place their summaries and drawings on their desks and move quietly around the room reading each other's recap of favorite scenes. You can also post the summaries and drawings on a wall in the room or hallway. Having these decorating the wall will encourage students to read the favorite books of their classmates.

For more specific directions as well as a printable flow chart, final copy response sheets for the summary and illustration, click the picture below to download this freebie from my TpT store. 

 Free Summary Activity

Happy Sailing! Be sure to come aboard again to discover more treasure from the Pirate Queen!

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