good_pirate_ship_free.gifPirates is a fun book to read with students. Decorate your library with pirate paraphernalia and possibly dress up in a costume yourself. I have a treasure chest filled with books. I also display other pirate themed books as companion books such as Pirates Don't Change Diapers or How I Became a Pirate, both by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon. True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. Treasure Island by Robert Louise Stevenson.


Set the Pirate Mood by playing this MP3:
Blymy, the Pirate



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"It's Great to be a Pirate" (download from source: Richard Marcus and Johnny Caruso)



What is the name given to this flag?
When seen, why did this flag strike fear into the hearts of merchants and sailors?

Most students will call this "the pirate flag." Answer is below the flag.
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image source: Wikimedia Commons
This flag is called The Jolly Roger

Meet the Pirates!

Ask students if they can tell you something they know about pirates. They will all want to share their knowledge, but do not let them just yet. Next say, "Who can tell me about real pirates. Not the pirates from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean." Most kids will groan because that is pretty much their extent of pirate knowledge, but there are always a couple of kids who know a bit more and it usually involves the pirate Blackbeard. I start by dispelling pirate myths-these bad guys were not fun loving, treasure seeking adventurers. They were thieves and murderers and generally not nice people.

View this short 3.42 minute video on The History Channel

Blackbeard, the Pirate


The sinking of The Widow-pirate ship of "Black Sam" Bellamy-The Prince of Pirates




Introduce the book and explain how it is a book of poems that are strung together to tell about the way of life for pirates. I read somewhere that the author likes to write poetry and the illustrator likes to paint pirates so a pairing of the two must have been inevitable. We are so glad that the two did pair up and the outcome was a real treasure of a book.

Read the book aloud or have students take turns reading aloud using their best pirate imitation.

Visit Illustrator Don Burr's blog

Interactive site: Learn about Pirates, Privateers, & Corsairs (Mr. Nussbaum, the king of great resources)

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Some women were pirates- Anne Bonny and Mary Read were two of the most famous. They were said to be fierce fighters with violent tempers.

Anne Bonny sailed as part of the crew of pirate Captain Calico Jack Rackham and was eventually captured and sentenced to be hanged. The interesting thing is...she never did hang. There are no court records detailing her death. Many believed her wealthy father purchased her release from prison while others say she managed her way out and ran a tavern for the remainder of her life telling tales of her pirate exploits.

Mary Read was said to have died in prison of a violent fever, but rumors persisted that she was smuggled out and lived out her remaining days quietly. Another legend has it that she and Anne Bonny settled in America in Louisiana and raised their children together.

Pirates in action-the ATTACK!


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The Booty-Pirate's Treasure


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The Pirate's plunder


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Assessing the treasure


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Pirate activities:

Pirate costume
Pirate Patterns
Pirate Treasure Hunt Game
"How to" Make Pirate Crafts-pirate hat, treasure chest, pirate coin sack, pirate sword, etc.

Pirate Coloring pages:
Pirate holds a treasure map
Pirate, parrot, and treasure
Peg-legged Pirate

author Jan Brett's Hedgie as a Pirate coloring page


National Geographic's Pirate Adventure games


National Geographic Pirate Map lesson plan-Skills: acquiring, organizing, and analyzing geographic information

Pirate word searches:
Pirate Words
Pirate weapons
Pirate flags
Pirate Ships

Pirate Mazes:
The Jolly Roger maze
Pirate dot to dot game

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Pirate Math:
Place Value Pirates Decimals of the Carribean (warning:grown ups will like it too!)

Learn more about Pirates!
Blackbeard the Pirate and the Queen Anne's Revenge

Blackbeard for kids Pirate terror at sea!

Interactive student project on the book Treasure Island by Robert Louise Stevenson (REALLY GOOD)

The Golden Age of Piracy more pirate info

bluebonnet_clipart.gifTexas Bluebonnet Book Literature Connections:

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI teaching guide

Pirates Don't Change Diapers or How I Became a Pirate, both by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon.

author Melinda Long's Writer's Corner-author answers many questions young writer's have.

Pugwash and the Sea Monster-a pirate story by John Ryan (interactive pirate story)

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You might have this treasure in your library, we did!
Penelope and the Pirates written/ illustrated by James Young. A white cat with three black spots and a black tail gains passage on a ship when she tells the captain her markings lead to a buried treasure. The conversation is unfortunately overheard by a pirate and so begins Penelope's adventure at sea. (connect to treasure mapping activity)