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Keith's Corner: Entry 9: Pirates and explorers

Type: Article

In his ninth diary entry, Keith’s young learners look at pirates and explorers, and even find their very own buried treasure!

At the heart of Anglia School methodology is the principle that the children are learning language through doing things. While we do focus on language explicitly from time to time, we firmly believe that the children have to be engaged actively in their learning experience through the medium of the English language. We keep the activities rich and full of meaningful language, which is also strategically repeated and reused. Part of this process involves the children exploring all manner of things. It comes as no surprise then, that our Anglia School explorers should have some time dedicated to the theme of explorers and pirates!

Singing pirates

A sailor went to sea is a fabulous song which we sing with unrestrained enthusiasm with the children. We act out the actions together, going slowly at first, then speeding up until what comes out is a speedy muddled pirate mess of noise and action. The children quickly remembered the rhyme and wanted to sing it again and again. There are many versions on YouTube, but we like this one!

Explorer story-time

Toot and Puddle - Top of the world is a lovely story about going away. We read the story and talked with the children about where they might have gone. We used a world map for this and had the two characters from the story wandering around the world, with the children pointing out the different countries that they are familiar with. This also allowed us to do some work with maps and compass coordinates, which the children could then use when making their own maps.

The chance to make door hanger notices is a great part of reading this story and there is a template at the back of the book. The children created their own ’Gone out’ door hangers, with their own colourful personal images representing their ’At home’ or ’Gone out’ messages.

Map making

We couldn’t be real pirates and explorers without a treasure map so we set about making our own. Of course, a treasure map has to look like the real thing and it has to appear old and worn, so the children made their maps and coloured them over with a pale brown paint to make them look old and well-used.

Searching for hidden treasure

We’re very lucky to have a garden close by that we can make use of when the weather is good! With a little preparation, we managed to hide some fabulous treasure for the children to find using the maps they had created in the classroom. The children had to work together, following the clues in their maps in order to find the buried treasure. A clue: it was in the sandpit!

Pirate hats

Our pirate craftwork included making authentic pirate headwear and eye patches. You can’t be a real pirate without them!

Play-acting pirates

Of course, all of the children were very keen to actually play pirates and I can still hear the roars of “Oooh, aaagh, Jim laddd!’” ringing in my ears to this day!

Happy exploring!

Keith

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