Learn like a Pirate is a Student Win!


Happy Monday Everyone,

Last month I saw the release of Learn like a Pirate by Paul Solarz which was the newest book in the Teach like a Pirate series by Dave Burgess. As much as I wanted to click right on Amazon and buy or download the book, my financial woes I have talked about the last few months kept things from happening. However, my wonderful niece got me an Amazon gift card and I quickly purchased the book after receiving it (Thank you Emma). Reading it this weekend I can’t tell you the amount of amazing lessons and ideas this book has given me. Especially, Silent Day (p. 117). Paul Solarz comes from 15 years experience and brings an amazing profession and easy access in Learn like a Pirate. The book hit me on page 121 when he mentioned that: “one child’s excessive enthusiasm can have a negative impact on the success of the whole class.” I have been guilty of this crime, you get so enthusiastic about what you are doing that you end up having the opposite effect on the situation and I’ve seen in with my students. Just on Thursday I had a student get so set in their Genius Hour project and wanting to have everyone do what they were doing. It caused a major problem with the entire class. I had to switch gears fast so others wouldn’t compromise their projects to be like the other student because they were throwing out their entire project to be like his.
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Learning to lead like a pirate

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Last night I was part of another great Teach like a Pirate chat over on Twitter and you can read about it on Storify. The final question of the night was doing a blog post on how to Lead like a Pirate and I had one in my mind from a few months ago at Ed Camp 302. What happened over there? While it can’t go with the fun I had where my jedi robe during my Dice UP the Classroom at The Mobile Learning 2015 a couple weeks ago, but it is one Ed Camp I’m very proud of. Something that I talked about what makes a good lead with Teach like a Pirate is that the captain of the ship has to look on top of the crow’s nest of their ship and allow the crew to choose the journey. My session during Ed Camp 302 was about Sketchnotes which many educators and teachers had heard of but had no idea where to start. I did the basics of what sketch notes were and how to form them but what I did just after my explanation is had everyone in the room come up to the white board and put in what stuck in their minds from the first ten minutes. They all came up, drew pictures, outlined and highlighted words and I had one teacher who perfectly outlined the notes like it was on a giant piece of paper for everyone to write on. After that, I went into what you could use sketchnotes with from using Explain Everything to Minecraft Edu and teaching the basics of App Smashing.
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My student’s Learn Like a Pirate about Baby Animals Stick Around Genius Hour Project

One of my first graders for their final Genius Hour wanted to know if she could make a lesson just as fun as Mrs. Andre or myself. Well, after toiling away on Pic Collage, Google Search, National Geographic free pics and about an hour on Stick Around. She came up with this great lesson on baby animals because she loves baby animals especially how they are both different and yet similar. We finished it up by putting linking the baby animal Pic Collage with Google Drive in Thinglink. Give it a try. If you have a problem the direct link … Continue reading My student’s Learn Like a Pirate about Baby Animals Stick Around Genius Hour Project

How Teach like a Pirate changed my practice as an Educator


It was April of 2014, I was just a month and a half from completing my second year at Christian Life Schools and something happened. I felt burnt out. I had barely been in education for almost four years and I remember sitting in my office. I was fixing a few forgotten gmail passwords and was told on twitter: “You have to do something else with your App Dice, they are getting boring.” I had no other major planned classroom lessons happening until close to May 1st and I had just sent off my clean up for iPads for classrooms and final eRate quotes to be reviewed and I looked at my blog and went: “What can I do?” “What is the point, if I’m not in the classroom.” “I’m just another tech guy with no classroom and nothing better to do.” “I’m not good enough to do anything innovative or new.” Then I had Barbara Gruener point me towards a guy named, Dave Burgess and his book, Teach like a Pirate.

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Time to Play and Explore like a Pirate in 3D Printing

The last few days, I have been busy with my teachers getting our new STEAM art curriculum set up as we await our Spheros and Drones and play with our new 3D printer. During the time of working out some great designs prints and planning some amazing lessons and projects, a wonderful lesson came to me. Using both Explore like a Pirate and Play like a Pirate teaching fun.

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Happy Pi Day 2016 with some Play like a Pirate

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So you’re ghost looking for inspiration?

This past weekend, after waiting what seemed like forever, my copy of Quinn Rollins, Play like a Pirate arrived. I filled a glass of lemond with the Care Bear, Funshine on it. Sat down on my new couch by the window and started reading. Like all the other Teach Like a Pirate books, it was filled with amazing ideas, lessons and a few things I never thought of, well one I had thought of. As we know, its Pi Day once again and I was planning on some fun ideas around Pi or pie, depending on what type of educator you are and after I turned to the Trading Cards chapter in PlayLap. I was taken a step back and a light bulb went off above my head.  Continue reading “Happy Pi Day 2016 with some Play like a Pirate”

Gaming to Coding Learning


From Bubble Ball to Sphero Edu

The last few days, I have been reunited with my friends and students at Tech Wizards, which is our local partnership club that brings technology introduction to our students. They are the group that we are partnered with for our Sphero rental. In the last two weeks we have been playing with KEVA Planks and trying to not only have our students create, but also learn how to mash-up with other tools. Despite some awesome Explore like a Pirate and Teach like a Pirate ideas my students were going through. They looked at me, and went: “Mr. Read, what else can we do with these?” It didn’t take too long for me to put in a little Play like a Pirate, Sphero Edu and more into some fund lessons and projects.


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Build like a Pirate: Finding your UP


“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”

~David Allan Coe


 Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & Analyze, Transformation, Enthusiasm. That’s what Pirates have. Education was not my first career choice. I never loved school but I never hated it either. I was the student who tried his hardest in every subject but yet never felt I could accomplish the grades and success my peers seemed to show when it came to report cards or with the honor roll. Even worst, I had teachers who felt that if I didn’t match with the traditional way they taught I would fall behind the rest of my class. I felt every time I received a low grade or didn’t ace a project I was doomed to not being anything more than the kid who needed help. Then something changed my life for the better when I reached 5th grade. We had a new teacher join the school that year, Mrs. Larson. She was around my mother’s age at the time, had two young boys that were only a couple of years younger than me. I remember on the first day of school she was going over who she was and what we would be learning during the school year. The usual speech every teacher gives but then she said something that changed the way I would learn from then on: “We are going to make this fun and different.” While every student wants to hear that from your teacher back during the late 80s most of us didn’t know what “fun and different” would mean. That changed when she said we would be doing our first book report and had to use puppets. Continue reading “Build like a Pirate: Finding your UP”

My Journey to The Mobile Learning Experience 2015

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is having a great week so far, I just recently returned from Tucson, Arizona where I was part of The Mobile Learning Experience 2015. I originally sent my proposal to talk about Dice UP the Classroom, Roll out learning earlier this year and was surprised that when I was emailed back not long after saying that my proposal had to been accepted. After working out travel plans over the last couple of months, I arrived Wednesday morning in Tucson at the beautiful Westin Resort thanks to my wonderful Aunt Gloria, who drove me from Phoenix down to the conference. After chatting with some teachers from the area I headed towards the main room and after taking in the awe of the room sat down towards the front and was soon greeted by Tony Vincent. After we chatted a bit, he headed off to get ready for the opening and I met with other great educators like Jenny Ashby, Adam Bellow, Michael Buist, Felix Jacomino, Katherine Burdick, Jon Samuelson, Sara Crawford, Rodney Turner, Dierdre Shelter and a host of others. Following the opening key note and seeing Dr. Kathy Weibke be awarded the ISTE professional development award I headed off to the many sessions that were occurring.
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Brush like a Pirate

Its another cold day in Illinois and while I like to spend my snow days being very active to stay warm, I stumbled on a great little activity the other day and you know I had to turn it into a great Tech like a Pirate lesson. As you can see, there is a great little model of the mouth using paper and egg crates to make it look like you are visiting the dental office. The original reason for this was to teach students the importance of flossing. Now, this is all fun and easy to do and uses … Continue reading Brush like a Pirate