Junior Pirates

Although International Talk Like A Pirate Day started out as one of those weird things grownups do, the Pirate Guys have been happy t’ see that the younger set is just as eager to observer this great holiday as their elders.

This Web site is aimed at, well, more or less adult guys*, but we’ve been pullin’ together some resources for junior pirates and their parents and teachers.

* Yes, women can be guys, too.

Kid-friendly pirate talk

Andrea, from the Auckland Museum, wrote to ask for ” a funny and adventurous pirate talk or speech which we can teach children of ages 5 and up.” To which Cap’n Slappy responded:

Ahoy Andrea!

I’ve taken this opportunity to write a little children’s shanty that might
be fun AND edumacational. Hope it’s useful.

Cap’n Slappy

A Children’s Pirate Shanty
by Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers
(can be sung to the tune of Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK” – or make up your own! Watch the Pirate Guys perform the song on YouTube!)

I’m a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late – till half past three!
And that’s a peg below me knee!

Yo Ho, my friends I have a tale
of treasure, plunder, sea and sail
my story’s bigger than a whale
it gets so deep, ye’ll have to bail.

I’m a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late – till half past three!
And that’s a peg below me knee!

I like to fish, I like to fight
I like to stay up half the night
When I say “starboard” ye go right!
Me ma, she says, “Ye look a fright!”

I’m a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late – till half past three!
And that’s a peg below me knee!

I’ve got no hand but that’s me hook!
I pillage stuff but I’m no crook.
Me booty’s in this chest I took.
They’ll write about me in a book!

I’m a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late – till half past three!
And that’s a peg below me knee!

And that’s all there is to this song.
I hope it hasn’t been too long.
A pirate’s life might just be wrong
So grow up nice and big and strong!

I’m a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late – till half past three!
And that’s a peg below me knee!

Pirates in the classroom

Teachers all over the place are using Talk Like A Pirate Day as an excuse to get in a little actual pirate history, math, art, science and FUN. Here are some resources for teachers, librarians and parents who’d like to introduce their young shipmates to pirattitude.


  • Special Education classes, especially classes for kids who cannot speak, can use the free version of Fat Cat Pirate Chat to talk like a pirate and speak silly piratical phrases. The free version comes with 60 phrases. (More phrases are available for in-app purchase, but the free version is enough for lots of classroom fun.) Available for iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android. Last year Christine G. from Wilmington, Delaware wrote to Team Pirate:

    “I work with students who have severe disabilities. I find and program ways for them to talk w/ technology … I found a picture symbol pirate voice output app last night and 10 “voiceless” kids talked like Pirates all day!!! I can die happy now.”

    More information at www.piratechat.us or www.fatcatchat.net.

    Curricula, lesson plans, etc.

  • Pirate curriculum (all grade levels) in PDF format from our own Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket:
  • LessonPix.com, where teachers can create and share their lesson plans and classroom materials, sent out a call to socially socially-active Speech and Language Pathologists and Special Ed teachers and got the best of them to write blog posts about how to use International Talk Like A Pirate Day to motivate their kiddos. Six outstanding posts to date, with more expected, all containing free materials for the teachers or SLPs, great ideas and even thoughtful commentary. The original call, with links to all the posts, can be found at http://lessonpix.blogspot.com/2012/09/talk-like-pirate-day-in-school-therapy.html . Great resource!
  • Teacher-recommended: A teacher from New Zealand recomments Pirates and Piracy, a fun and relevant e-book unit that not only investigates pirates of old, but gives students opportunity for class thinking and discussion on piracy today – the moral issues of copying videos and DVDs, etc.
  • Another bunch of New Zealand teachers have put togehter a PirateWiki where teachers can share their pirate-themed lesson plans, activities, links and more! See it – and sign up to participate – at http://talklikeapirate.wikispaces.com/
Pirate Lesson Plans

(from actual teachers, who may or may not be pirates)

Lesson plans from actual teachers

From Kimberly Roos, St. Michael’s High School, Santa Fe, New
Mexico (10th grade world history)

I would be so happy to share the lesson I planned for the big day. The
books I used were the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Book “Pirate”
by Richard Platt and a book called “100 Things You Should Know About
Pirates” by Andrew Langley by Barnes and Noble.

Three flags from the Eyewitness book were xeroxed so I had ten copies
of each. Students drew a flag at random upon entering the class and thus
they were put in groups: the “scurvy dogs,” the “bilge
rats”, and the “scallawags”. I then read your disclaimer
about pirates being really, really bad people, but how the holiday is
just for fun.

On a table I placed three party-favor pirate chests from the local Party
City store. Each contained plastic gold coins and ten questions cut into
strips on either ancient pirates, the pirate flag or famous pirates. To
save time, I marked the books with sticky notes to help them find answers,
but they still had to read to get the information. Each group received
an instruction page and puzzle-pirate vocabulary sheets. The instructions

Avast me hearties!!! Ahoy! I’ve a task for ye. Inside the treasure
chests are ten questions for ye sprogs. Go on the account and use the
books or copies to answer the questions smartly, lads and lasses. Once
ye’ve become a messdeck lawyer filled with knowledge, ye’ll need to
be use’n the “piratey expressions” to explain or act out yer
information to the rest of the lubbers in class. Be creative mateys!
Don’t hornswaggle! Be talking like pirates as best ye can, arrgh! There
be a treasure of booty to the teams that’s the best. Shiver me timbers!!!!

Each group found their answers and practiced their piratey expressions.
Some took construction paper and made parrots, hats, beards, cannons and
hooked hands! Groups then had five minutes to share their information.
It was pretty easy to pick winners in each class, and if there was a fantastic
effort by one student but they weren’t in the winning team, they got a
bonus prize. All members of the winning teams received one ring pop (suckers
that are like big gemstone rings), jolly ranchers (instead of jolly rogers)
and more gold coins. Pirate booty is expensive with six classes, but the
day was well, well worth it.

I also had two pirate flags, a pirate bandana and a student bought me
a hat as a surprise. I also got a banner of flags from the party store
– check the little kids birthday aisle.

Oh yes, as our school is in NEW Mexico but over 50% Hispanic, some students
wanted to know if there were ever Mexican pirates. I guessed that there
were, hitting the Spanish Main…

Language Arts lesson plan for 4th-6th

  • I will give the students laminated copies of pirate vocabulary words
    and their definitions
  • We will review the words and definitions together (so they have both
    auditory and visual)
  • Students need to choose one of their favorite nursery rhymes (they
    can look some up if they can’t seem to recall any at the moment)
  • Students will give their nursery rhyme Pirattitude by adding in and
    replacing some of the nursery rhyme words with pirate terms (they need
    to consider which part of speech the word is and use it appropriately)
  • Students need to try to give their rhyme as much Pirattitude as possible
  • Finally, the presentation of the Poem with Pirattitude is the most
    important part! They need to read it with as much Pirate gusto as they
    can muster up! Be loud and proud to be a pirate!


Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away

With Pirattitude:

A proud beauty, Little Miss Muffet
Embarked with her matey on her tuffet
Making lubbers eat her foul curds and whey. Arrr!
Avast! Along came a behemoth bilge rat
Who smartly sat at her starboard stern
And scared Miss Muffet all the way to the depths of Davey Jones’
Locker. Arrr!

I am still working on a different plan for my 2nd and 3rd graders, so
I will send that in soon.

I printed out and laminated the pirate
and am thinking about punching holes in them and tying on
elastic cord to turn them into eyepatches

I just remembered that I had planned some science lessons for my 2nd-6th
graders that also kind of go along with pirates. (I teach gifted, so that
is why I have such a crazy mix of students)

I had my 4th-6th graders build ships completely from recycled materials
(one of the challenges they are facing is: what recycled materials can
we use to stick things together?) The students had a week to collect materials,
design, and build their ships at home. Many of the students have mentioned
how they are making crow’s nests, life boats, cannons, and various
other super cool piratey things. They will bring their creations in next
week and we will all be responsible for grading each others’ ships.
They will be rated on 1. Materials (did they use all recycled materials?
Did they have to resort to using glue and tape?) 2. Appearance (how does
it look? How much time does it look like they spent on it?) 3. Creativity
(Did they use some pretty unique materials? Did they add on creative details
to make their ship one of a kind?) and 4. Stability (We will see whose
can hold the most weight/the most passengers) When they come in next week,
I have an inflatable kiddie pool that we will use to test the stability
of the ships. I think I will use dominoes for the weights because there
happen to be a whole jar of them in my room and they won’t roll
around and fall off the ships. (This is my first year teaching-so I’m
still discovering the neat things that were left behind in my room). As
a follow-up activity, I will have them write down reflections about this
whole experience…1) What did you learn from this experience? 2)
What could you do to improve your ship? They have been extremely excited
about this and it works on many higher level thinking skills. I think
that figuring out how to use someone else’s trash to your advantage
is just great. They need to think outside of the box, experiment, and
learn from their experiences.

For my 2nd and 3rd graders I put together some activities that are a
great way to experiment with what it would be like to have only one eye.
It also exposes them to the scientific explanations for some of the ways
that our eyes work.

Introduction Discussion: What do you think your life would be like if
you lost an eye? What might be difficult?

Activity 1: Cut small thin strips of paper. Draw a smiley face on right
side and a frowny face on the left side. Students close one eye and stare
at the smiley face. Ask them if they can still see the frowny face? (They
should be able to, in their peripheral vision). Then instruct them to
slowly move the paper closer and farther away. Is there ever a time when
you can’t see the frowny face? (This should be exciting for them
when it happens) Ask them to think about why that might happen.

How I like to explain it: We have a blindspot. Our eyes are complicated
things. When we are seeing things, the information comes in to the back
of our eye, which is called the retina. There are millions and millions
of tiny cells on the retina that take in what we’re seeing, then
they send a message to our brains. How do you think a message can get
from your eye all the way to your brain? It needs a pathway—just
like we need roads to drive somewhere—the eyes have pathways to
get to the brain. These are called nerves. There are tiny nerves coming
out from every tiny little cell. The tiny nerves all come together to
one big nerve that goes to the brain. When they call come together, it
kind of looks like a pony tail, with all the little hairs coming together
and forming a big chunk of hair. The spot on the retina where the tiny
nerves all come together, there are no little cells to take in what we’re
seeing. So we have a blindspot there. If information comes into our eye
and goes to that part, then we can’t see it!

Activity 2: One students wears an eyepatch or closes one eye. Their partner
puts their arm out straight, holding a penny in their fingers. There is
a cup on the table to hold the penny. The student holding the penny slowly
moves his/her hand around and above the cup. The student with the eyepatch
has to tell him/her when to drop the penny so that it will fall into the
cup. Is it harder than it looks?

Activity 3: One student is blindfolded with a small object in his/her
hand. Their partner is wearing a patch or closing one eye. There is a
target on the floor on the other side of the room. The student with the
patch has to direct the student with the blindfold to drop the object
onto the target. Is this harder than it looks?

Explanation: Why is it so hard to judge things with only one eye? We
need 2 eyes to have depth perception. We are created with 2 eyes, so that
our eyes can work as a team to see everything. Both eyes send information
to the brain, and our brain compares the information to understand everything
that is going on. With only one eye, we don’t have depth perception—it
is very hard for us judge how close up and far away things are.

Follow-up activity: Do you think pirates with only one eye were really
that dangerous after all? (Prompt with-How do you think they’d be
at fighting? How do you think they’d be at aiming cannons? How do
you think they’d be at sailing close to land?)

— Megan Sheeley

Pirate Math

Shiver me timbers – it’s almost time for ITLAPD 2006, and I can’t wait!
I coach a middle school math team as part of a national program called
MATHCOUNTS, and this year we are practicing on Tuesdays. How exciting
that ITLAPD is on Tuesday this year! At our September 19th practice, the
“mathletes” will go on a treasure hunt. I will divide them into
two teams and give them maps of the school marked with 10 X’s. They will
find each X and solve the math problem at that location. Whichever team
gets back first with the most correct answers will win the booty, a chest
full of chocolate coins. Arrr! — Betty Jean Jordan, a.k.a. “Dirty
Bess Flint”


1) Ol’ Chumbucket can blow a man down in 20 seconds. Arrr! How many
men can he blow down in 15 minutes?

2) Polly wants a cracker. Awk! A box of crackers sitting next to her
perch contains 5 Ritz crackers, 4 saltines, and 7 Wheat Thins. If she
sticks her beak into the box and randomly pulls out a cracker, what is
the probability that she does NOT get a saltine? Express yer answer as
a common fraction.

3) The pirates of The Black Pearl are a motley crew. Arrr! Twenty-seven
of them have earrings, and 25 of them have peg legs. If the crew consists
of 37 pirates, how many have both earrings and peg legs?

4) Dirty Bess Flint buried her treasure at 24° 41′ 37″ N and
78° 04′ 16″ W. (That’s degrees, minutes, and seconds of latitude
and longitude, ye scurvy dogs!) If there are 60 seconds in 1 minute and
60 minutes in one degree, convert the treasure’s latitude and longitude
into decimal degrees (i.e., showing no minutes or seconds). Round yer
answer to the nearest hundredth. Arrr!

5) Blackbeard has to swab the poop deck after a sword fight. Arrr! The
poop deck is 48 feet wide and 100 feet long. If Blackbeard can swab 125
square feet per minute, how many minutes will it take him to swab the
entire poop deck? Round yer answer to the nearest minute.

6) On his last raid, Captain Jack Sparrow stole 1,000 pieces of eight,
500 doubloons, and 600 gold coins. If each type of coin is worth the dollar
value shown below, what is the average value in dollars of Captain Jack
Sparrow’s booty? Arrr!

1 piece of eight = $0.75
1 doubloon = $1.20
1 gold coin = $3

7) The Horrid Shark pirate ship is sailing from the Cayman Islands to
St. John’s. Arrr! If she can sail 20 miles per hour, and St. John’s is
1350 miles from the Cayman Islands, in how many days will The Horrid Shark
arrive in St. John’s? Round yer answer to the nearest whole day.

8) Cap’n Slappy has to punish one of his bilge rat crewmembers. Arrr!
He plans to keelhaul him, which is dragging him along the underside of
the boat lengthwise. However, Cap’n Slappy relents and decides to only
drag him widthwise. If the width of the ship’s hull can be approximated
by a semicircle with radius 40 feet, what is the distance that Cap’n Slappy
drags the bilge rat? Round yer answer to the nearest foot.

9) X marks the spot! Solve for x:

6x – 5y = 8
2x + 9y = 24

10) Mad Dirk the pirate is hanging nautical flags on the mizzenmast.
Arrr! He doesn’t care about what signals he is sending to other ships
(he is mad, after all), and so he randomly selects four of the flags shown
below. In how many ways can Mad Dirk choose four flags? (Image of International nautical flags)

Answers (Arrr!):

1) 45 men
2) 3/4
3) 15 pirates
4) 24.69° N, 78.07° W
5) 38 minutes
6) $1.50
7) 3 days
8) 126 feet
9) x = 3
10) 14,950

Short lesson plan for elementary social studies:

I tie Pirate Day into my Social Studies. We study maps, legends, and
landmarks. Then I have my students draw a picture of the playground with
landmarks like the slide, the water fountain, etc.

I hide a cardboard treasure chest for each student and personalize each
of their maps with an X that marks the spot.

After a week of reading great pirate literature for kids, I suggest we
go on a treasure hunt. I give each student his/her map. When he/she finds
the X they find their own personal treasure chest which is filled with
fun fake jewels and goodies.

Then each student gets to decorate the chest with fake jewels, glitter,

– Paula Shaw, Walnut Grove, Calif.

TLAPD, Home-school style

Well, first I get me swabs out of their bunks & holler for all hands
on deck. They scrub the planks before they can have their grub. Or, if
the Cap’n is in a particularly benevolent mood we fill our bellies with
the spoils of the last Albertson’s pillage, then it’s on to the finer
lessons of life.

We talk of the ship’s need for smooth sailing & how best to handle
the rough waters.

We study treasure maps, honor our dead matey’s by telling their tales,
and set off for new adventures in mixing vinegar ‘n soda & blowin’
things up.

When the seas are calm, we search for treasure in the Garden of Weedin’
for a clue at the rest of the day’s activities.

We stick to the code whenever practical, but often find ourselves playin’
at the pirate games afforded by the webwench.

All the kiddies in these waters are a’might jealous when they come home
from the King’s school & find we’ve been fritterin’ and fraternizin’
with the likes of International Talk Like a Pirate Day folks. But we just
give ’em the eye & laugh ’em to scorn!

– Cap’n Kelli Mollinari & Crew of the Red Crab

Pirate Lessons for Kindergardeners

I live near the Orlando area. I grew up Tampa, FL which is rich in pirates history. I spent many summer in the FL Keys. Pirates be in me blood.

I teach them pirate words that they are to use for the day.

I teach them about the history of pirates in FL.

Read: “How I Became a Pirate”, “Pirates Don’t Change Diapers”, “Pirate Mom”, & “Pirate Pete”.

I have collect pirate toys for a pirate center. I also have party decorations for the room. I put up “Pin the Flag on the pirate ship+ (from Party City) on the marker board for the pirate center.

Make pirate hats: The hat is like a 3 corner hat, but only 2 side. Staple the sides to fit. The trace, cut, & paste on a skull & cross bones.

Make hooks: Trace hooks on card stock. Use strips of foil to wrap around the hooks. Cut a slit in the bottom of a Styrofoam cup. Slip the hook inside. Child puts their hand inside the cup holding the bottom of the hook.

Make maps. Use a brown paper bag from the store. Rip it to have an uneven edge. They draw their own map.

Treasure Hunt:I have a map I’ve drawn of the campus. They follow it to find buried treasure of beads.

Treasure Box: a shoe box wrapped in a brown paper bag from the store. I drew brown lines to look like wood.

Snack: Grog – root beer. Hard tack – oyster crackers. Use to have Pirate of the Caribbean snacks. They aren’t being made any more or at least not for now.

With snack, we watch Peter Pan.

— L.C. Poulos