With Talk Like a Pirate Day being September 19th, I thought it would be perfect to use a Pirate theme for this week. With Jake and the Neverland Pirates being their favorite TV show at the moment, it was very easy to get them excited about the theme (and to find a computer game for them to play!). There is a LOT of stuff out there that uses a pirate theme, so it was really just a matter of filtering through what I found and deciding what skills I wanted to work on and what would interest them most. Here’s what we did.
To introduce the theme we started off reading some pirate books I’d gotten from the library, watched the Veggie Tales movie The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, and acted like pirates all day. We all wore head scarfs the whole day, even while running errands. I meant to get a picture of all three of us dressed up, but never got it. Oops! We also played the game Pirate Island. It’s a game of listening, thinking, and doing. Each card had a phrase which indicated a specific 2-3 step action that the players must perform. When I would call out the phrase, they had to think about what those steps were, then do them. I was actually quite amazed at how well they did this. Later Lucas called out the phrases (he can’t read, but apparently the pictures on the cards gave him enough clue and he remembered the correct phrases!) and Kyla did the actions. It was a super cute game. To keep it interesting I made them do everything super fast once I knew they really knew the actions. They really enjoyed it.
We started the day at speech, then dance, then played a Pirates Arrr! board game. The cards are blank, so you can use them for any skill you want to work on. I decided to use it for identifying lower case letters. They did great! Unfortunately, it didn’t hold their attention quite like I thought it would. We played once and they didn’t want to play again. But they DID want to do another pirate activity. Which I hadn’t planned for because we had several scheduled things going on that day. But taking naps away last week means we have extra time in our day that I hadn’t factored in. So I quickly pulled out an activity that was meant for Wednesday. I used a Pirate Vocab Cards set and had them “trace the room.” They had to hunt for the picture/word cards that I’d taped up all over the house, then find the matching word on their tracing sheet and trace it. They seemed to really enjoy this one and I think it really helped them to see how slightly different letters can create different words. Lucas started to trace “pirate” when he found the “parrot” but quickly noticed they were not exactly the same, even though they both started with P. He began to really pay attention to all of the letters, rather than just the beginning. I think this was a great activity and one I may use for future themes as well.
Since we did a Wednesday activity on Tuesday, I moved an activity from Thursday to Wednesday along with an art project I’d already planned to do that day. We made paper bag puppets from a Pirates packet by Rainy Day Learning. There were lots of good activities included in the packet, but this was the only one I used. I just didn’t have time for everything I found! I probably could do a pirate theme for a whole month and not run out of new activities!
The rearranged Thursday activity was Pirate Pattern activity within a larger packet of Pirate themed math. While the kids have done patterns before and are pretty good at them (thanks Umizoomi!), I had never referred to them as AB, ABC, etc. So I wasn’t sure how they would do with this one. When they finished making their puppets I talked to each of them individually about what the letters meant. I wasn’t sure if I had explained it well, but as I was talking to Kyla, Lucas started laughing and said “I colored that one purple and it supposed to be blue!” He thought it was quite funny. I told him that was okay and I was proud of him for realizing his mistake. I suggested he color blue over the purple, even though it wouldn’t look exactly right. The other patterns (ABC and ABBC) were a piece of cake for him apparently! Kyla, on the other hand, had a bit of difficulty. She didn’t do badly, just made a few mistakes. I wanted to make sure that I showed her where she’d gone wrong, but I also know that she falls apart when she’s told she has made a mistake. So I decided to approach it a bit differently. I said “Why don’t we look and see what you got right?” I then went one by one through the patterns and which colors should be the same. I had her tell me which ones were different and what color they would need to be to fit the pattern. I then had her circle the incorrect ones with the correct color. It worked well and there were no tears! As a matter of fact, Lucas was disappointed that he didn’t have any to circle! LOL
Although Thursdays are another busy day for us now, we were able to work in one activity. This one we did together, since it is a new skill for them. We’re talking Pirate Addition. I did not use these exactly as they are in the packet. I printed all of the addition problems, but I only printed off the number pages in such a way that I had at least one of every number 0-10. We then worked together to put those numbers in order. Then I gave each of them a pile of gold dabloons to use for counting. I would turn over a card and talk them through putting out the right number of coins for each number in the problem and adding them all up. We then placed the problem under the appropriate answer on our “number line.” Once again, Lucas caught on quickly and Kyla struggled a bit. I think more from a fear of being wrong than actually not getting it. After I knew they understood the concept, I gave a pile of cards to Lucas and a pile to Kyla and had them work on different problems at the same time and place them under the correct answer. Lucas worked quickly, while Kyla struggled and asked for help often. Of course, because I was so focused on helping Kyla out, I didn’t discover until later that Lucas was not always getting the right answer. By the end, we had quite a graph of sorts of all the different ways to add up to each number. By no means do I think they are addition experts now, but I think they’ve definitely got the beginning knowledge in place now!
I also quickly designed a rhyming lesson the night before using the vocab cards from Tuesday. I made my own cards with pictures and words that rhymed with 8 of the pirate words. We worked together to match the rhyming words. This was where Kyla caught on faster than Lucas. I don’t like to stereotype boys and girls, but it sure is interesting to notice where my boy and girl have their biggest strengths! (I didn’t get pictures of this activity because it was really quick.)
Computer day! Of course, since we’re doing a Pirate theme, we HAD to do Jake and the Neverland Pirate games on the computer! I let them chose the games they wanted to play while I worked with the other child on ordinal numbers from the same packet as the patterns from Wednesday. I knew they had a good grasp on what first meant (how many times have I heard “Me first!” from one or both of them?), but wasn’t sure how they would do with the rest. As I suspected, they really didn’t know the others, so it took quite a bit of coaching on my part to help them through the task. I do think it was helpful for them to do this activity as an introduction, but I’m glad I chose to do it on Friday when the other child would be busy with the computer. And thankfully, N was home, so when the child on the computer was needing help he was able to step in so I could focus on what I was doing.
I think this week went well. I wasn’t as fond of the books we got for this theme, but we didn’t really need them since pirates is a known thing for them. Today (Sunday) we also played Pirates and ate on the last two pirate map paper plates from the pantry (why not?!). I know the kids enjoyed this theme and it will probably make it’s way back into homeschool, since there is so much out there with this theme.