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Pirates! (Set the Stage to Engage)

Did you know that National Talk Like a Pirate Day is this Monday, September 19th? I've got you covered with this Set the Stage to Engage unit all about PIRATES!!! This unit is also perfect for kicking off the year with a pirate theme, teaching -ar, or it can be used as an End of the Year celebration. This unit is packed full of literacy, math, and science fun.

Here are some pictures that Holly Ehle took of this pirate unit in action:

First, we "flip" the classroom so it looks like our students are going on a real pirate adventure. This increases student engagement because they are automatically excited to learn and participate in the lessons.

Next, we make costumes.  These are super easy and super cheap! We have all of the directions and patterns in our pirate unit. 

 I think this picture shows the high levels of engagement going on. As students are working on their math, STEM projects, writing assignments, etc. they are focused and excited about what they are learning. 

We played a fun Walk the Plank game to review some of things we've learned.  SO FUN!  {All of the pieces for this game are included in our unit}

And look how cute the pirate glyphs turned out!

Here's another pic of the glyphs that shows how I displayed them in my room a few years ago.  We've since made a better pattern for the pirate hat, but these are still super cute!

Here's a preview of everything that's included in this unit:


Here's a description of what's included:

*Pirate Glyph with charts, directions, and templates
*Printable math activity for analyzing the data 
includes graphing, ten frames, and tally marks
*If I Were a Pirate Writing template (boy and girl version)
*Stem Project- Build a Pirate Ship 
*Build a Pirate Ship recording sheet
*Science Exploration- Why Do Pirates Wear an Eye Patch?  
*Eye Patch recording sheet
*Pirate pocket chart story 
*Pirate emergent reader
*Fair Shares whole class math activity
*Fair Shares independent activity
*Go Fish! An interactive fishing game with a variety of skills to choose from so that it can be used for at the beginning or end of the year for both K & 1.
*A Pirate Says, AR! Literacy Center game
*All About Macaws (Parrots): A full-color nonfiction reader that tells all about macaws and what makes them great pets. (Note: Macaws are in the parrot family)
*Macaw reading response pages in a variety of formats
*What is a map? Students will learn a wide variety of math skills with these fun, engaging activities. Their new skills will be put to the test as they search for the pirate's treasure.
*Talk Like a Pirate Phrases and Definition Chart
*Buccaneer Grub: Comparing Pirate's food to our food
Have you ever eaten hardtack or had a drink of Swanky? You're not a real pirate until you try it out. Includes Venn diagrams to compare/contrast
*End the unit with a Pirate Party! 
Included are:
*Food suggestions
*Editable invitations to make it extra special
*Full-color directions and templates to make easy, inexpensive pirate costumes
*GAME IDEAS that review skills! Fun and Educational
Each game has directions and full-color pictures
*Swab the Deck Relay Race (2 versions)
*Walk the Plank
*Pass the Pirate's Parrot
*Dig for Treasure
Over 220 pages of learning fun!

Here's the link to purchase this unit from my TPT Store:

Case of the Missing Cookies: A Cookie Detective Unit

I am happy to report that I just started my second week of school with students and I have the cutest group of kids to love on each day. It's so great to be back in the classroom this year! I will share more about my new classroom later, but today I wanted to share the fun unit that I did with my students last week.

As you probably know, student engagement is very important to me. In today's world, getting students excited about learning is the key to success and motivation in the classroom. I am happy to say that I have teamed up with Holly from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connection to bring you a series of engaging lessons that we have named: Set the Stage to Engage. 

Last week, Holly and I were both able to put our Cookie Detective unit to good use. We transformed our classrooms into Detective Agency Headquarters and prepared for a full day of activities and learning for our students. 

Very Bright Students (VBS) Detective Agency Headquarters

Who took the cookies from the cookie jar? It looks like they left behind a finger print! Join our Very Bright Student Detective Agency as we solve the case! 

Our student detectives found math problems written on balloons. Once they solved the problems, the balloon was popped and clues were found inside! We discovered that our three suspects were Mr. Dingess, Mrs. Claire, and Dr. Royal!

We learned that there are three types of finger prints; whorl, arch, and loop. The finger print we found on our jar is a whorl print.

Students analyzed the finger print found on our jar. They then compared it to finger prints taken from our three suspects. We discovered that Dr. Royal's finger print matched the one we found on the cookie jar!

Our Very Bright Student Detectives used their math and phonics skills as they worked through our detective agency cases.

We confronted Dr. Royal with our evidence. He admitted that he took our cookies, but only because we left the lid off and he thought they were stale! He explained that it is never okay to steal and brought us brand new cookies! 

If you're interested in trying this out with your own students, we have everything you'll need to get started in our Case of the Missing Cookies unit. You can find it in my TPT store.

Here's a peek at all that's included with this unit:

*The Case of the Missing Cookies 
Set Up, Directions & Materials
*Solving the Mystery Activity #1: 
*Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar Class Game & “Who Took the Cookies?” Poem
*Solving the Mystery Activity #2: 
Search for the Great Cookie Thief – Following the Clues!
*Solving the Mystery Activity #3:
Balloon Blasters/Finding the Suspects
*Solving the Mystery Activity #4:
Fingerprint Science & Solving the Mystery
*Writing Template to draw & write about the learning fun
*Cookie Poem in three different formats pocket chart version, single page version, and poetry journal version
*Cookie Detective Craft with patterns and directions
*Literacy & Math Centers for kindergarten and first grade.  
Color and black and white versions available

This unit is super fun, filled with learning and it's engaging!


Back to School Bash GRAND PRIZE!

The Back to School Bash 2016 has been so much fun! Thank you to everyone who joined us this year.'s not over yet! We have one final chance for you to win! When we say win, we mean WIN BIG! Anyone needing some updated technology for your classroom? I give you the B2S Bash Grand Prize...

Yes! This is real life!
Yes! This could be in your classroom very soon! 

But you have to enter first! Here's how you do it: 

1) Begin the insta hop by locating @stepintosecondgrade on instagram. You will want to begin with Amy so that you collect the letter tiles in order. Each blogger will link to another letter. Click on the letter and hop to the next location. As you hop...

a) follow each blogger 
b)  collect each letter

The letter tiles look like this....

2. The letters will reveal a question. (Don't worry...the letters go in order so you don't have to unscramble a thing!) 

3. Once you have figured out the question, hop on over to any of our blogs to enter the Rafflecopter to win! You will be asked to answer the instaHOP question! 

You only have 24 hours to enter, so go get your hop on! ;) 

 Yep! That simple! So have you finished your hop? 

Enter below: 


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