Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teach Like a PIRATE Day...Huge Success

Where to begin?  First off, this is the first of several posts that will be up in the coming days/weeks.  Too much happened to put it in one blog post.  I guess I will start with addressing some concerns people may have about pulling off a day like this.  
  • We had about a 98% attendance rate today (and none of today's activities were for a grade).  
  • There were absolutely no discipline issues during any of the experiences. 
  • Kids were running from class to class.

The biggest problem we incurred was kids were getting shut out of the experiences they wanted to attend because the room was already full.  Teachers rectified this problem by using their judgement in allowing more students into their classes.  We did not want anyone to leave TLAP Day disappointed.

I walked into class after class and saw students hooked.  Students were engaged, they were having fun, and they were learning.  We had Willy Wonka themed experiences, The Ultimate Gift experiences, science experiments students can do at home experiences, Mystery Skype experiences, Human Battleship experiences, and a Native American Pow Wow experience, just to name a few.  Our students connected with classes in Wisconsin, New York, and Delaware.  Did I mention zero discipline issues?  Our teachers did a fantastic job.

One common question that students had for me was "Why can't school be like this everyday?"  My answer is "We are working on it."  Our teachers are using the PIRATE acronym to show more passion, immersion, better rapport, ask/analyze, transformation, and enthusiasm.  However, I would be remiss if I put it completely on the shoulders of the teachers.  Education is a two-way street.  Just as I will strive to get my teachers to create more engaging experiences in the future, we also need the students to be more passionate about their learning as well.  After seeing what I witnessed today, that should not be a problem.

We set out to answer Dave Burgess' question of "If your kids didn't have to be there, would you be teaching to an empty room?"  I never thought about answering his second question.  "Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?"  The teachers at Utica Junior High School got their answer to the first question today, and I had a student ask about purchasing a reserved seat for Mystery Skype, so that is a YES to number two.

Utica Junior High is a small rural school in central Ohio.  There are approximately 270 students in grades 7-8.  Nearly 45% of the students are on free/reduced lunch. 


  1. Impressive...thanks for posting your idea and success summary. I will be looking into Burgess' book as well as following Utica's lead. 6th grade science and math...San Juan Islands, WA.

  2. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    Mark Duin

    Motivational Speaker