Top 10 arrrrr-t and craft activities to do as you set sail on your next pirate adventure

10. Pirate hats – Print and copy the pirate hat template from www.learningenglish-esl.blogspot.ca  on 8.5″ x 14″ paper.  Once students have coloured and cut out their hats, staple them in the middle of a 2″ x 24″ strip, leaving about 2″ of the hat brim unattached on each side.  Fit to each student’s head and staple strip into a loop.

Pirate hat1

9. Eye patches – These super quick and easy!  All you need is a small piece of paper, some string and some tape.  I make a patch tracer out of cardboard for my students to use as tracing is a great 2-handed activity for developing hand dominance and building fine motor skills.

eye patch

8. Hooks – Roll a 12″ piece of tinfoil up, squeeze it to form a tight “rod” and shape that rod into a hook. Take a cup (we used black paper cups here) and cut an “X” in the bottom.  Push about 3″ of the tinfoil hook through the “X ” in the cup to create a “handle” to hold on to on the inside of the cup.

Hook

7. Telescopes – All you need for this is a paper towel roll, some paint, glitter and some white glue.  For this one, I mixed the white glue into the yellow paint so that students could dip the ends of their telescope into glitter (and have it stick) once they are done painting.

Telescope

6. Noodle necklaces & tin foil earrings – Every good pirate needs some jewels.  Our pirates hang their tin foil loop earrings around their ear with an elastic band and we use dyed pasta to make our necklaces.  When doing threading activities with string, try wrapping masking tape around the end of the string to prevent fraying.  To learn how to dye pasta, click here.

Pirate necklace

5. Treasure maps – Have students draw their treasure maps with wax crayons.  When they are done drawing, have them paint their maps with watered down brown paint, then rinse them in a bucket (or sink of water) and then leave to dry.  (You can also dye them using tea however they need to soak in the tea for a while and this can be less efficient if you are working with a classroom of children).  Once dry, my students crumpled them up to make them look really old and some added little rips around the edges.

Treasure Map

4. Paper bag treasure chests – These are quite simple to do.  For complete instructions, please click here.

Treasure chest

3.  Salt dough treasure – Make salt dough.  Have students roll the dough and cut it into circles (we use water glasses).  Texture and details can beaded to the “treasure” using things like thread spools, screws, nuts and bolts, nails, etc.  Once cooked, paint with gold acrylic paint and finish with glitter.  Once dry, put them in your paper bag treasure chest for safe keeping!Treasure

2. Pirate pastel pictures – Once we have done lots of pirate crafts and built our pirate language and vocabulary, we transfer this knowledge to drawing pirates.  Before we go to paper, we do guided drawing activities on white boards.  I give my students big paper (12″ X 18″) to draw on and we use oil pastels to colour them (Kindergarten students have great success with pastels and love the ease of adding bright colours to their art work).

Pirate pastel pictures

1. Pirate ship pencil drawings – After you have looked at pictures of pirate ships in books (or online) with your students, brainstorm all the things that a pirate ship needs.  Give them a big piece of paper (about 16″ x 24″) and have them draw a ship with as many details as possible (we will also do guided drawing before we go to paper).  It is amazing what they can do when they have a big piece of paper to draw on.

Pirate ship 3

Pirate Ship

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Quick Tip – Time Timer, A teacher’s best friend

In one of my early years of teaching, I was given a Time Timer to use in my classroom.  I have since moved schools and had to buy my own Time Timer.  I use it so often that I sometimes wonder what I did before my Time Timer days. 

time timer 2

 

I love this timer because it shows a piece of red for the given amount of time.  As time passes, the red gets smaller.  The visual is fantastic for students.  Some of the newer Time Timers also have a buzzer that, when turned on, beeps when the time runs out .

Here are 5 ways I use my Time Timer on a daily basis:

1.  At snack time – I set the timer for 12 minutes for snack.  Students know that when the timer runs out, everyone puts away the rest of their snack.

2.  As a clean up warning – I give students a 10 minute warning for clean up time.  It gives them time to finish up what they are working on and helps them switch from something they want to be doing (playing) to something I want them to be doing (clean up).

3.  As a signal to rotate centres – If a new center is overly popular, setting the timer to let students know when it is time to switch can be helpful.  (The only time I would limit time in a centre is when it is something new so that everyone has a chance to check it out before home time).

4.  As a reminder not to rush – For students who tend to hurry through a given task to move on to something else, setting the timer for a required amount of time can remind them to slow down and do their best work.  If they finish before the timer, they need work on improving their work until the timer runs out.

5.  And to keep me on track – Any time I tell students that they have __ minutes to do something, setting the timer helps me keep my word.  Before my Time Timer days, I would often say things like  “In 5 minutes…” or “You have __ minutes to…” and while I got busy working with students, 5 minutes could easily turn to 10 or 15 minutes without me even noticing.  When I set the timer, nobody lets me lose track of time!

 

If you are looking to buy your own Time Timer, they can be ordered from places like Spectrum or Scholars Choice or can be bought directly from most “teacher stores”.

Quick Tip – Tracing letters and shapes made easy

Looking for a simple way to practice drawing basic shapes or printing letters?  Try writing it in highlighter for your child to trace.  They can see what they need to write or draw and you can see their pencil lines when they are done.

Tracing highlighter

Here’s one more highlighter tip…..use a highlighter to let students know that they have a simple correction to do.  If they reverse a letter or number or forget a capital somewhere, simply print over top of the error with highlighter.  When they go back to it, it is easy for them to see their simple mistake, erase and correct it.

Paper chains with purpose

Everyone loves making paper chains, especially during the holidays.  Here is a new way to use those paper chains.  Try using those paper chains to countdown the days to Christmas (or to winter break for students who don’t celebrate Christmas).

In our class, we start with chains that are 25 links long on December 1st (our strips are 8.5″ long by 1.5″ wide).  As patterning part of our curriculum, we talk about all the different patterns we can make out of two different colours (AB, AAB, ABB, AABB, ABBB, etc.).  When they are done, we then hang them up on the wall, spread out around the classroom so that each child can easily get to his or her chain each morning or afternoon.

chain patternsEach day, we count the links left on our chains and then take off as many as needed (usually one per day but after a weekend, it may be 2 or 3).  We then count to see how many are left.  On the strips that we ripped off, we practice printing numbers.  (With older students, I would have them write a number sentence like “25-3=22” but with younger ones, we count and if there are 22 days left until Christmas, for example, we might practice writing “22” over and over again on one of the strips we just ripped off.

As our countdown continues, we get to watch our chains get shorter and shorter and shorter, we practice printing meaningful numbers for a purpose that is motivational for students, we count backwards (which, by the time we are close to 10, students have figured out the pattern and really understand what is happening) and in just 2 minutes a day.

Do you have a favourite way to count down to something special in your classroom?