#DBC50Summer 13/50: Play Like A Pirate

Book 13… lucky #13!  The school year in which I implement all of the ideas from the #DBC50Summer is coming up fast.  It is my 13th year in education… lucky #13. This is going to be a fantastic year; I can feel it.  Big things are going to happen, and I’m so excited to experience it!  Last night, as I finished up the blog on Book 12, How Much Water Do We Have, I noted that I was thrilled to be moving into the next book.

However, nothing could have prepared me for opening that book up again!  Typically my DBC books have been purchased from Amazon and I can tell when I bought the book by the purchase date at the top of each book’s page.  I realized that there was no purchase date for our 13th book, Play Like A Pirate by Quinn Rollins.  I knew I had the book; I remembered reading it very clearly because I was never into GI Joe, Transformers, but I do (errrr… did) enjoy playing with Barbies and Lego!  I immediately went to my DBC shelf (yes, that’s a thing at my house).  It’s behind glass in the TV console, not even kidding.  I was thinking that I’m going to have to pay extra to have it shipped in one day rather than 2-Day Prime because I am not letting anything slow me down on #DBC50Summer right now.  Sure enough, there it was – bright yellow and beautiful!  I couldn’t remember if I had highlighted in it, and upon opening it, realized I had not.  I also noticed that the spine of the book looked like it was coming apart.  Moving the first page to lay it down and see if I could repair it (I am a librarian and have book tape for DAYS), I found Pirate Treasure!  Inside the front cover of the book… Written in black ink was the words, “Enjoy #PlayLAP, Dave Burgess”!  It REALLY is Lucky #13!  I couldn’t believe it.  I must have won that book at an edcamp a few years ago!!! That would explain why I had no Amazon purchase date, AND why Dave would have even written in the book.  That was an amazing, LUCKY little discovery last night!


Within this book, Quinn talks about his own passions of toys, games, and comics.  He discusses ways that educators can use them in the classroom to make learning fun again.  I, too, enjoy toys, games, and comics, so I was enthralled by every word (I used a yellow highlighter for this book, in case anyone is wondering; it felt appropriate).  Here’s the thing though… I could go into some specific examples and link to templates that Quinn references in this book.  I could talk about what I have used in the past to make learning fun for my students.  However, Quinn reminds us that it’s not about incorporating THESE exact ideas into our classroom; it’s about incorporating MY (and YOUR) passions in the classroom.  As I noted in The Zen Teacher blog, I am consumed by work.  It doesn’t feel like work to me, and I enjoy learning new things and creating new lesson ideas.  I also enjoy inspirational quotes (usually related to education, perseverance, etc).

But passions outside of education??? Do I have any of those? Heck, do I even have ONE of those?  In The Zen Teacher blog, my way of “relaxing” was push-mowing the yard… really?  Who does that?

So while there are a bazillion ideas that I can take away from Play Like A Pirate, written in black and white on Quinn’s pages, that’s not what I am moving into the 2018-2019 school year implementing.  Every single idea in the book is something I can see myself doing, and something my students would love, and I will definitely share them with teachers in my school and beyond.  I especially love the trading cards activities and creating Barbies for different eras in history with their Barbie set!  I enjoy a good Lego lesson like the best of ’em!

Before I tell you what my idea for implementing will be, let me share a short story with you.  Like Quinn says on one of the last pages, storytelling is something that educators should be masters at doing.  I am CONSTANTLY teaching through story.  So let me tell you one real fast.  And it’s a true story (which you know are always more interesting, right?)…

As a young girl, I remember Grandma (that was my mom’s mom – she passed away in March 2017) collecting porcelain dolls.  I remember them always being behind glass display cases tucked in corners around the house, except for a few she had displayed on shelves in her room.  When I say shelves, I mean, the individual shelves attached to the wall… and there were a TON of them!  I remember a room that was closed off to me as a kid that held many, many, many more porcelain dolls, still cozy in their original boxes.  Near the dolls in the living room and Grandma’s bedroom, there were pictures mounted in frames with pictures attached at each corner on nearly every square foot of every wall in the house.  See Grandpa and Grandma had 11 children… eleven (some from a previous marriage).  Grandma wanted to be sure that every one of her children and their families were represented.  The tree gets enormous super fast!  It was a true farming family of the south… at the time of her death at age 87, Grandma has 31 grandchildren (I am one of the oldest of the youngest; Mom is number 10 of 11, and Grandma’s youngest daughter – there are generations of us that don’t know one another because the family is so varied in age).  Grandma had 35 great-grandchildren and SIX great-great-grandchildren.  This is important to the story, because of all of those members of the family, before Grandma passed, she wanted me to have one of her porcelain dolls, and it was my choice which one I received.  It was the kindest gesture Grandma could have made and it should have made my eyes well up with tears.  I should have beamed with pride that I was getting one of her precious dolls.  However… I was never allowed to play with those dolls. They were always “off-limits,” so selecting a doll somehow felt… wrong. I eventually chose a doll because it meant so much to Grandma, and was told to choose one for each of my daughters.  I did.  It made Grandma so happy to see her dolls go home with me.  She just knew the dolls, her passions, would continue on, as a way to remember her.  The sad reality is, they are put up in our storage building at the back of our land wrapped up in newspaper and probably won’t be taken out again until my daughters are sorting through my things after I have passed (hopefully many MANY moons from now, ha).

Moral of the story: without being able to play with ‘the thing’, without being able to get our hands on whatever ‘the thing’ is, ‘the thing’ has no real meaning.  Don’t you think it’s the same way for our students?  Quinn creating these hands-on opportunities, which you’ll notice most of which are analog, allows students to get their HANDS ON the thing you’re trying to teach.  Without that experience, your content has no real meaning.  It’s just another ‘thing’ filed away with other useless stuff that you keep collecting and can’t seem to get rid of.

I tell that story because I want to know what my passions are.  Grandma knew her passions.  She may have kept them locked away and out of reach, but at least she had a passion.  I could look around and see it, but I wasn’t allowed to touch it.  My goal in 2018-2019 is to really discover what it is that I’m passionate about.  I was talking to a DBC author friend through DM the other night and I had a realization that I get excited about MANY things in education.  I can talk to educators knowledgeably about nearly ANY educational topic.  I am a educational Jack (ummm, Jill?) of All Trades…but what am I PASSIONATE about?

I like working with other teachers to create lessons in Minecraft… but I don’t know that I’m PASSIONATE about it!  I enjoy leading students through virtual reality experiences, but after nearly two years of high-end virtual reality, I can’t say that it’s a PASSION of mine.  I used to really get into coding and how to implement it in the classroom, but now that has fallen by the wayside. It’s cool & definitely a literacy our students need to know! Don’t get me wrong about that.  But I’m just not passionate about it!  I get incredibly “excited” about new trends in education, a new tech tool, a creative way to use an old tool, helping teachers integrate the tool for the first time (teachers also have the same lightbulb moments that our students do – as I coach I get to see that… the A-HA moment; it’s pretty cool), but after a few months, I’m ready for the “next big thing” and I want to move on.  I could almost say that lifelong learning, continual improvement, and growth mindset are passions, but they are becoming buzzwords – which kills any passion I have about them.

So… what is my passion?  What will sustain me for the next 17 years of education?  Next year will be tremendous.  Next year, I have my “next big thing” – it’s implementing #DBC50Summer… but what will be my passion in Year 14 and beyond?  I joke about how “when I grow up, I want to (insert person to be like or insert job to have)”.  I am coming close to the halfway point of my educational career. What will sustain my enthusiasm?  What passions will drive my instruction?  Going back to Grandma…

What passion will I be able to share with my students that will be meaningful to them because I’ve shared it with them?

That is my implementation for Play Like A Pirate. Quinn shares three passions on the cover of his book (toys, games, and comics).  Surely I can figure out three passions that I have? When I have them figured out – I will let you know! Stay Tuned for that information.  In the meantime, what are your passions?  What is it that you want to, or have implemented, in your classroom or school that brings learning to life and makes it fun for your learners?  Share with Andrea Paulakovich and I on our Flipgrid.  The purpose of the Flipgrid is to create a space for a global book study of each of the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc books – both the 50 that were out when #DBC50Summer began in June, and all of the subsequent ones!  DBC isn’t stopping, so neither are we! (Shoutout to Andrea for the incredible Flipgrid idea – follow her journey through #DBC50Summer here!) . As always, the Flipgrid password is DBCSummer.

Play Like A Pirate, as most DBC books do, has a following on Twitter – use the hashtag #PlayLAP to unlock the resources within that community.  You may also find Quinn’s website and blog posts here. You will notice along the side of the page, the templates that Quinn references throughout this book.  If you’re interested in where Rubber Duckie is traveling, check out his facebook page here!  Join The Principal Center podcast as they discuss #PlayLAP with Quinn!

Book 14 is one of my favorites, which I’ve got to tell you, is kind of odd.  I don’t typically pick favorites from within the DBC collection (unless it’s #TLAP because hello, it was first; Dave Burgess stepped out on a REALLY shaky limb to get that one to us, and thankfully the limb didn’t break – instead it bore fruit… wow, it’s getting deep in here, and insanely late for me).  However, 140 Twitter Tips for Educators by Brad Currie, Billy Krakower, and Scott Rocco is one of my favorites!  Come back for #DBC50Summer 14/50 to find out why!

5 thoughts on “#DBC50Summer 13/50: Play Like A Pirate

  1. Pingback: #DBC50Summer 15/50: The Classroom Chef | AliciaRay.com

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  3. Pingback: #DBC50Summer 17/50: Kids Deserve It | AliciaRay.com

  4. Pingback: #DBC50Summer: Discovering my #EDUpassions | AliciaRay.com

  5. Pingback: #DBC50Summer Book 11-20 Recap | AliciaRay.com

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