The schedule for my visit to Middleburgh Elementary this week called for a full day, with both day and evening presentations. In between, it had been suggested I might want to try climbing something called Vroman’s Nose. Years ago, I went to school with a kid named Vroman, and I was very curious to see if this was the same nose. Unfortunately, Monday’s sweltering heat put the kibosh on any outdoor activity, so I’ll never know for sure.
Worked out fine, though. I was happy to stay indoors, and the folks at Middleburgh sure did make me feel welcome. This was how the librarian, Mrs. Friedland and Mrs. Rumph greeted me when I first arrived. (Note the pig on the shoulder.)
A large table in the library was covered with this giant pirate map, made entirely of recycled materials by Mr. Miller’s 3rd grade class.
In the Physical Therapy room, Mrs. Coonradt used Backbeard’s pirate map as the inspiration for a pirate-themed activity course.
The reward at the end? Not gold, exactly, but goldfish. Close enough.
There were many more fantastic projects, far too many to list here. One of my favorites used the endpapers from Pirate for Hire to explore the idea of stereotypes. Kids made a list of qualifications for a job (say, “secret agent”) and listed the obvious ones. Then, they went back and amended the list, correcting the stereotypes. Very cool.
The only snag of the day came during the first session when Mr. Burton and Mr. Primeau, clearly shell-shocked from spending a year teaching fifth graders, arrived dressed not as pirates, but as pyrite. Enjoy your summer vacation, gentlemen. You’ve clearly earned it.