Tomorrow is my favorite holiday: International Talk Like a Pirate Day! (It's a real thing, I swear!)
I love pirates (and really any excuse to dress up and speak in a funny accent) so I usually bring the celebration into my classroom for the week and make sure all of my lessons are infused with a certain amount of pirattitude.
This year I've added a few new pirate activities to my arsenal, which the kids at my new school have loved so far. I'll share three new pirate activities with you today:
Pass the Parrot
This is based on a folk dance, "The Chair and Broom." I read about it recently on facebook and also got to try at a Kodály workshop a few years ago. I'm told that the source is an out-of-print book called Backwoods Heritage by Martha Riley. It is a partner mixer dance, which means that as students go through they will end up with different partners each time. It's a great beginning folk dance and great for socialization.
The setup is one longways set with three students sitting in chairs in a row at the head. The child in the center holds a parrot (I didn't have a good parrot toy available so we used my rubber chicken with great success.) When the music starts, she chooses to either pass the parrot to the person seated to her right or left. Whomever she gives it to is going to remain seated. The child in the center gets up with the other child (the one not holding the parrot) and they sashay together down to the bottom of the set. Then, the child remaining at the head holding the parrot slides into the middle seat and the next person standing in each line in the longways set comes forward and takes a seat. The center child passes the parrot and the dance continues.
Since the only dance move required is the sashay, it's pretty accessible for students of all ages. I did it with 2nd grade and higher today and everyone enjoyed it. It can be done to any jig. I forgot to bring my New England Dancing Masters CD to school today so I just pulled this Scottish jig medley off YouTube and told the kids it was pirate music. They loved it!
Fire in the Hole!
For some rhythm review, I devised a simple game that uses flashcards and beanbags. I told the class that my rug was the pirate lagoon and we scattered rhythm flashcards all around the rug. One student would come stand on the edge of the rug and get to "fire the cannon," a.k.a. toss a beanbag onto the rug. Of course, before tossing it they had to shout "fire in the hole!" which made it infinitely more fun. When the beanbag landed on a card, the student had to pick it up, show it to the class and count us in as we all read it together. I used these black and white flashcards, which I printed on colored paper and laminated.
Port Side Pirates!
I'm always looking to add more great illustrated children's books to my library and I recently discovered the delightful publisher, Barefoot Books. The great thing about Port Side Pirates is that the entire thing is a catchy song. It comes with a singalong CD, and what's even better is that the CD includes an instrumental-only track so that once your students know the song they can sing it themselves. The melody is also fully notated with sheet music and guitar tabs in the back of the book, which I love having for reference.
The song uses tons of really cool pirate vocabulary so I'd make sure to review things like port vs. starboard before singing and reading. If you want your own copy, it's available on Amazon. (Please note that this is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission off any purchases made by clicking below.)
I hope some of these pirate activities spark your interest! For more piratey fun, check out my TLAPD post from 2015: Piratical Fun in the Music Room.