Talk Like A Pirate Day: Landlubber vs Pirate Nursery Rhymes

Hey_Diddle_DiddleI am taking on a new class this fall called Reading Essentials. I will be targeting 6th grade students with an emphasis on close reading skills (that’s another post for another day). One of the lessons that I have developed is one for talk like a pirate day on September 19th. Click here for other posts that I have written about the day: Reading and Writing Ideas for celebrating talking Like A Pirate Day, Ahoy Matey! and, Kaleidoscope Eyes Are Watching.

I have several lessons dedicated to having students look at word choice and the impact of words in stories and phrases. For this particular lesson students are taking a popular children’s nursery rhymes and adding pirate vocabulary. After that they then are to answer questions about the nursery rhymes and the impact of word choice.

Talk Like A Pirate Day: Landlubber vs Pirate Nursery Rhymes Steps

Step 1: change the nursery rhyme and add pirate words

Step 2: answer 3 questions about the changes

  1. What is the difference between the original rhyme and your new pirate rhyme (what did you add/take away)?
  2. How does the meaning of the children’s rhyme change when you made it into a pirate rhyme?
  3. Why is word choice important when determining the meaning of a rhyme?

Step 3: work with partners

Step 4: share with the class

If you would like the full lesson click on the title to be transported to my Teacher’s Pay Teachers lesson called: Talk Like A Pirate Day: Landlubber vs Pirate Nursery Rhymes. Here is a description of the lesson.

Avast! September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day and this one day lesson is to have determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone. Students will take one of 11 popular children nursery rhymes and add their own pirate words to change the meaning. Afterwards, students analyze the impact of the changes. This lesson plan includes: objectives, common core standards, assessment, materials and resource list, lesson plan, 11 different student worksheets: landlubber rhymes vs pirate, and pirate vocabulary with definitions. Now you are ready to weigh anchor and hoist he mizzen!


Mrs. Berry

O is for Oh Say! Can You See

O is for Oh Say! Can You SeeSince, it was recently the Fourth of July my daughter and I skipped a bunch of letters and went for the letter “O” as part of her ABC storybook. After watching the parade and reading the story Oh Say! Can You See by D. Clark, we made our own flag.

When I did this lesson with my kindergarten students I sang the song. The art lesson went over really well but my singing not so much. You know you don’t have a strong singing voice when a group of kindergarten students cover their ears. They are definitely honest. If you would like a copy of O is for Oh Say! Can You See and not my singing click here to go to my page on Teachers Pay Teachers.

This is what we did when my daughter made her “O” page.

  • She made the 5 x 5 square with help. I put little dots where she should connect her lines
  • She would say, “Horizontal” while drawing the stripes of the flag
  • She recognized there was a pattern
  • She then told me there are lots of stars on the flag, not just one
  • Then she told me about the stars.

Again, I left in her language and grammar style to keep it to her voice. I have a sneaky feeling that the stars are my daughters who want to play with their friends and the mommy and daddy star are my husband and I. I do let her play with her friends but not at 8 at night. Her story is below.

American FlagGwendolyn’s Story

Flying away.. A bird catches them and a pop star and momma star look for the kids far far away. A little stars come out and play for a little bit. Momma said, “No.” Some little stars wanted to play. And the daddy said, “No” too. That’s important too. And a little star said, “Pretty please,” like those. And do that in summer. Them flew out of the sky and see us. That’s important thing. The stars can begin. They are supposed to be together. It’s important things for them to be together. Then the daddy star said, “Yes, and go play.” Mommy star said, “No.” The End

Happy 4th of July!


Mrs. Berry

A is for Ants

A is for Ants by Gwendolyn Age 4

A is for Ants by Gwendolyn Age 4

Many years ago my first daughter and I worked together to create her own ABC book; where she created the artwork and told stories. Since she was four, I wrote down what she said. I then thought, “Hey would this not be cool if my students made their own ABC book to learn about art.” I’m not going to lie, it was a ton of work with many different volunteers needed to help. However, the results were amazing. Each student walked away with their own book that they created over the entire school year with their own artwork and stories. The whole experience was to introduce students to art terms/techniques, stories, and letters. My lessons also include dancing/movement, counting, science, and songs. If you would like my lesson on “A” click here to go to my page on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I no longer teach elementary art; however, my youngest is four and it is her turn to create her own ABC book. We started with the letter “A”. I don’t have a die cut machine so we used a scrap-booking sticker. It works for her book. We sang the Ants Go Marching song and parts of the insect. She argued with me that I had it wrong; she insists that it goes head, shoulders, knees, and toes. It does not go, head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen. She also questioned about ants climbing trees.

This is what we did when she made her “A” page.Drawing Ants

  • She would say, “Vertical” while gluing vertical strips of paper
  • She would say, “Horizontal while gluing horizontal strips of paper
  • She would say print making while pressing down the different parts of the ant
  • She drew legs and antenna on each ant
  • She then told me a story about ants

I copied down what she said for her story. I did this because I wanted the focus to be on telling the story. I also kept the integrity of her style of language and did not correct her grammar. When I worked with the kindergarten classes each student had a fifth grade buddy that wrote down what the kindergarten student stated. A parent volunteer would also help out.

Gwendolyn’s Story

Ah… it’s for digging on the ground.Ant by Christy Berry It’s for pooping all of the poop out.   It’s they make babies, and babies eggs crack and babies grow and it’s get taller and the scoop comes and there is kids and bugs grow horses squishes all of the things and people love all the other one horses get me out to the cage and this one squishes the ants and this girl all alone with nobody to play because the ants marching all long and they climb the trees, blue and green, and rainbows and then the rain dried up. The End


Mrs. Berry

MSU 4H China Art Exchange with Jonesville Middle School

Top Ten Pictures from JMS

Top Ten Pictures from JMS

This year my students participated in something called the 4H China Art Exchange. This program is run through Michigan State University and 4H. What I like about the program is that my students learn about Chinese children and their artwork.

I built a whole unit around the exchange and hit several Michigan benchmarks at the same time. This is just one part of the unit.

Once we receive the kit I explain to the students what the exchange is and how it works. I also explain that we need to treat these pieces of artwork with the utmost respect and how to handle these one of a kind pieces of art.

Students then look at and analyze the artwork and answer the following questions:

  • Name three shapes in the drawing.
  • Name three lines in the drawing.
  • Name three colors in the drawing.
  • What is happening in this picture?
  • Do you like this picture? Why?
  • Do you dislike this picture? Why?
  • What do you see in this picture that is similar to things in your life?
  • What did the Chinese child who painted this picture want to tell you?
  • What feelings do you have when you look at this picture?
  • Would you ever think of doing a painting or drawing like this one?
  • How do you think the picture was made? What art materials are used in it?

Afterwards students present their finding by either reading their worksheet, through a poem, story, or a skit.

Then students create their own visual letter back to the students in China. I picked the top ten based on completeness, originality, craftsmanship, and visual storytelling.

This program is available to K-6 students in the state of Michigan. Please contact your local MSU extension office or click here to visit their website.

Please enjoy our video.


Mrs. Berry

Reading Buddies for the Month of March

IMG_5759Since March is reading month, every Friday I took my alternative high school students to read to the local preschool. Each week there was a different theme. We started with Dr. Seuss books to kick off the reading month and Cat and the Hat tagged along. On the second week we read alphabet books and the third week was dedicated to books about artists. We ended the month with animal books. Each week the preschool teacher had an activity to accompany the theme.
While my students were reading they would point out pictures and words, and ask the children many questions about what would happen next in the story. There were many giggles, lots of reading, and fun each Friday.
Please enjoy the video or our reading adventure.

Mrs. Berry

Curing Cabin Fever

Cabin fever has set in and I am in need of some flowers and a green spring.  Since, I can’t have that and we have had 10 snow days in two months; I have been doing a bit of painting.  These are two that are finished.  I have a few others that I have been working on, but my attention span is all over the place.  Hopefully, spring will be here soon and I can start to garden again.

Old and New by Christy Berry

Old and New by Christy Berry

The purpose of the first painting was to use up the existing tubes of paint. I wanted to clear out space and purchase new paint.  I don’t like to waist any paint so I thought why not take the last couple of squeezes and create a painting using those colors.  The paint was purchased over 18 years or so ago.  It’s been awhile but the paint still worked; however, it was a little thick.  I also then added other colors on top because I now ran out of those colors.  I used a 20” by20” canvas with acrylic paint.

Yellow Flower by Christy Berry

Yellow Flower by Christy Berry

The second painting was using a type of vellum paper, acrylic, and sharpie.  I have been experimenting with this type of paper. Up until this point I have only used watercolor and sharpie.  I like the look of the acrylic.  The vellum reduces my use of highly saturated colors.  I’m indifferent at this point to if I like it or not.  It might grow on me.

Please enjoy.


Christy Berry

Stop, Drop, and Write In the Art classroom

Crazy CactusA whole lot can happen in just two minutes in the art room.  By using a ‘Stop, Drop and Write” technique midway through a project my students were able to refocus, have O2 put into their brains, meet a state benchmark, self-assess, and for me to use their writing to assess their learning/process/thinking of the project.  Wow, that is a very busy two minutes.  I had never heard or tried this until I read an article from Heather Wolpert-Gawron: Tween Brains, Part III: How it Work It Out In The Classroom.  She mentioned having the students participate in an instantaneous think aloud.  I thought, “Why not try it?”

I tweaked it for my students.  This is what I did:

  • I passed out note-cards ahead of time and had the students put their name on a card.
  • I let them know ahead of time that I was going to shout out “Stop, Drop, and Write” at some point in the class.
  • At which point they should stop what they are doing, drop right to the floor with a writing instrument and their note-card.
  • Then they were to write about what they were going to do next in their project (relates to state standards) for two minutes.
  • About half way into the class when I saw they needed a mental break I shouted, “Stop, Drop, and Write.”
  • And that is exactly what they did.
  • When they went back to their seats they were still focused and went back to working on their project.  I was able to then read what they wrote on their cards.  Yep, turns out it works.  The students did very well on self-assessing their own artwork and what they needed to do next.  If they hadn’t then I could have changed directions and retaught something.

This technique could be used for any project.  I tried it when my students were working on their crazy cactus lesson.  This lesson went over very well for my middle school students.  The students had a high buy in rate because they were allowed to choose what to put in their cacti and they liked trying to make people’s eyes go “buggy.”  I borrowed the lesson idea from the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise Logan. I tweaked it a bit by not painting; I did that a few years ago and found students tend to go overboard with the puffy paint.  I also added a part where students researched an Op artist and their artwork for inspiration and at the end students wrote about their art.

This is a shortened list of what we did in class.

  • First we did a bit of research on optical art.
  • Next we created designs to go on the cactus shape.
  • We stared at colored construction paper until our eyes saw the opposite.
  • We added color to the designs.
  • At one point we stopped, dropped, and wrote what we were going to do next.
  • Next we cut the cacti out.
  • We added a pattern on the outside for spikes.
  • Finally we wrote a statement about our artwork.

Please enjoy the video of my students and their artwork.


Mrs. Berry

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