Ahoy Me Mateys!


This week’s Characters We Love: Pirates!  We adults know that pirates aren’t all seafaring fun.  The premise of taking what’s not yours in rather swashbuckling ways is not one we’d like to pass on to our students.  In their exposure, though, pirates are fun!  They dress interestingly, speak with hilarious phrases, and spend all their time with their best mateys.  We took advantage of this more positive side of pirates this week to encourage team work, creative thinking, problem solving, and hypothesizing.

Out on the playground and in the classroom, pretend games of Pirate were constant.  Each time, the children were great at establishing roles aboard their ships.  They shared the roles of steering the ship, cooking food, swabbing the deck, hunting for treasure, and even protecting the ship from sharks and sea monsters!  We also cultivated our pirate aesthetic (as well as our fine motor skills), making our own pirate parrots and popsicle-stick ships.

The treasure hunt took a turn indoors mid-week when we received a mysterious visit from Captain Swordbeard, who snuck into our classroom while we were outside and left a scavenger hunt for us to solve.  His screw of 20 sailors had mutinied against him and stolen his ship.  He needed us to find his treasure so he could buy his ship back!  We had to find numbers that were hidden all around the classroom.  The numbers were different colors and ranged from 0-20, and took all of our creative problem solving skills to find them!  Once we had found all of the numbers, we had to assemble them in order, which would unlock the secret hiding place of the treasure.  Peter told us to search in a dark, wet place where land-lubbers clean their eating tools. Inside the dishwasher (safely wrapped!) was the treasure!  The staff and I love reusing this activity because we can cater it to a variety of disciplines.  Finding numbers and letters is something we can always practice.  Their skills of searching and problem-solving improve while they continue to grow in the breadth of symbols and characters that they recognize and can use. The format is reliable enough for the children that they can focus less on the rules of the game and more on the specific task of numbers or letters.  And in the end, we all get a small special treat!

We ended the week with Pirate Sink or Float.  We filled a large clear bin with water and added a pirate ship to the bin for special effect.  We imagined that the pirates had a hefty cargo that they needed to unload!  Would their cargo sink or float?  For each object, we asked the children to hypothesize as to whether the objects would sink or float.  If they thought it would float, they had to sit by Carla.  If they thought it would sink, they had to sit by Peter.  We launched a ball of play dough, a domino, a unifix cube, a cotton ball, a rock, a bowl from dramatic play, a shrimp from dramatic play, an apple, a die, and an empty toilet paper tube into the deep blue sea and got some exciting results!  Both the cotton ball and the toiler paper tube floated at first, but later sank as they absorbed more and more water.  The toilet paper tube even started to fall apart!  We were also excited to see that the play dough ball began to disintegrate after about an hour or so.

We finished up our 6th and final week of yoga this week.  We’re going to miss our yoga classes with Megan and hope we can reprise them again!