Like many lessons I teach, I like to add a bit of dramatic flair to get the children drawn into the moment.
Ahoy, Landlubbers! Meet me at the rug for a story.
While the children are gathering to the carpet to listen to a story, I put on my pirate hat, patch my eye, and tie on my cardboard cutlass. My voice changes and I greet them with an "Avast me hearties!"
Avast me Hearties! Are you ready for another gingerbread story? This book has a bit of a different twist. Do you think you might know what that be?
The children greet me back with their best pirate talk or they giggle.
Today's book is called The Gingerbread Pirates. Are you ready to sail into this story?
I read the story, The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup with a bit of a pirate accent. If time allows I like to read the story a second time so that we can identify rich vocabulary and talk about the transformation that we see in the cookies. I have included a youtube reading of this same book for a variation if you chose to use it for the second reading. Sometimes it is fun for the children to hear books being read by someone else. The emphasis or the inflection might be different. I have already written several words onto the board: mast, cliffs, cutlass, and we listen to the story during the second reading to try to define these words.
Here is the story of The Gingerbread Pirates. I have written some pirate words on the board that we will need to figure out the meaning. They are mast, cliffs, cutlass. Listen carefully for these words and we will see if we can figure out their meaning from what we hear in the story. This is called using our context clues. So as we listened to the story, did you figure out what the mast was? Cliffs? Cutlass? I can tell that you were doing a great job following along.
Now let's think about another aspect of the story. What might happen now that the cookies have become toys? Some of you have suggested that the pirates might play with the boy, go on the sleigh with Santa, or even go on adventures on their own ship. You are really thinking!
This leads me to the second part of my instruction. I pull out a couple of postcards that I had sent to me, and I share them with the class. I show off the colorful picture on the front and then show off the different parts to the back:stamp, address, and written letter.
When I go on adventures with my family, I like to send my friends postcards of where I have been. Here are some postcards that I have purchased. Some have writing on them and some do not. Look at how small the writing section is, so when the sender is writing, the card needs to hold just the important facts. (I read the samples that I have and we talk about what kind of information was given.)
You will be writing a post card today. We will pretend to send it to Jim, the boy from the story. Post cards do not need to be long. There is a greeting, like "Hello!" or "Dear Friend". There is a sentence about where the writer has been, another about what they saw , and a last one about how they felt about the trip. You will be writing the cards out as if you were one of the pirates. Jim would love to hear about your Ship mates and ready for adventure.
Before you write out you postcards, let's brainstorm some ideas of places that pirates could go and what you could see. I will write these ideas on the board, so you can use this list to help you. I have a copy of the paper you will need to complete your postcard, and I will model what I would like you to do with this writing assignment.
I take a copy of the postcard template and demonstrate how I would like the children to fill this in. We talk about drawing a detailed picture and I show the class the picture that I drew previously. (This saves of instruction time.) The children are given their own copies of the template to complete their writing.
Now you are ready to try one on your own. When you think you are finished, share your work with someone at your own table. Listen to what they tell you about your picture and your writing. They may have some ideas to make your writing or illustrating better. This gives them a chance to talk about their work, but also encourages them to add more based on the feedback they receive.