• Karen Caswell

'Get To Know Our Crew' Pirate Day 2019

Updated: May 16

#TLAPdownunder #tlap #ourcrssstory

Confession - since reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess last year (you can read my blog post about the book’s impact on me here), I’ve become a little bit obsessed with all things #tlap! I follow many of the Dave Burgess Consulting Inc. pirate authors on Twitter (you can find them all on this pirate map), have personally connected with several of them, have read as many of the books as time, and cost, will allow (fifteen so far, but I have another six waiting to be read) and join in the related Twitter chats whenever possible – usually during the school holidays, but I've joined in during break time at school when my playground duty was covered, and even stayed up until 1.30am last Saturday to join in #LeadLAP! In order to address the difficulties of joining in the US based chats, I started a #TLAPdownunder chat to provide an opportunity for those that can’t join other chats to talk pirate! It hasn’t alleviated my #tlap FOMO, but it helps! 😂 (You can read more about the #TLAPdownunder PLN and chat here.)


Upon returning to school to start our school year, I announced that I was ALL IN PIRATE this year! ☠️ (You can read why here.) One of the first pirate endeavours I undertook was to organise a grade level ‘Get To Know Our Crew’ Pirate Day.


When I first read about Tamara Letter’s Pirate Day last year, I wanted to implement something similar, but we were rapidly approaching the last few weeks of our school year and there just wasn’t enough time. However, the idea remained in the back of my mind. Then I read about Annick Rauch’s Pirate Day and I became determined to make it happen. Then inspiration struck! Our school focus for the first week of the year was ‘Know Me Before You Teach Me’ and our goal was for all students, teachers and parents to build positive relationships to support future growth and learning, which was the perfect opening for the ‘Get To Know Our Crew’ Pirate Day. As Dave says, “All pirates travel with a crew; you can’t sail, navigate, and fight battles all on your own.” This is true of our students as well as us teachers – everyone needs a crew! So I decided to rope my fellow grade level teachers into my crew and suggested we hold a Pirate Day as a culmination of our school ‘Know Me Before You Teach Me’ week. They jumped aboard and we began planning our Grade 4 ‘Get To Know Our Crew’ Pirate Day, to take place on the Friday of the first week of school.


We set sail in the best possible way, with a read aloud by our Pirate Captain, Dave Burgess! Over 170 Grade 4 students and 10 teachers gathered in our hall/sports court to hear Dave read ‘Rufus Goes to Sea’. He was so engaging that everyone was mesmerised – there was not a peep or a wriggle from anyone the entire time he was reading! Dave then answered several questions the students had prepared and gave some great advice about following your dreams, achieving your goals, and of course that the greatest treasure of all can be found in books.




The rest of the day was spent engaging in team building and getting to know you experiences with each of the grade level teachers. From an Escape Room, to talking like a pirate, the variety of activities and challenges incorporated movement, creativity, drama, STEM and more.





Upon reflecting on the day with students, it was a resounding YES when asked if they enjoyed the day! Every experience was a highlight for different students, which means we were successful in catering to all students. One of the highlights for me, in addition to the value of the experience and obvious joy of the students, were the relationships fostered between my colleagues, and that we all came together as the ‘Grade 4 Crew’ to provide such a memorable experience for our students.



And of course, that read aloud!



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