On September 19th every year, Lytle Primary and Elementary campuses explode with brightly colored vests, puffy shirts, flowing skirts, and knickers. You’ll also see hats sporting exotic feathers, buckles, boots, eye patches and parrots perched happily on the shoulders of adults and kids alike.
What started as an inside joke between friends John Baur (AKA Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (AKA Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon back in 1995, Talk Like a Pirate Day has turned into an internationally celebrated day that becomes very educational for the littlest Lytle Pirates in Lytle, TX. According to Wendy Conover, principal at Lytle Elementary, teachers get very creative weaving lessons about technology into a Pirate-themed day. “Nearly every day our students in the secondary levels dress as pirates when they put on uniforms to compete in sports and other events. When working with our younger children, getting them involved in celebrating our school mascot gives them a sense of belonging. It stimulates their imaginations and also gives them pride in our schools.”
According to Conover, many teachers use technology to bring the idea of an old fashioned pirate to life. Teachers use green screens and computer generation to create realistic digital images of students on the decks of old pirate ships. Fifth grade teacher Michelle Ripps said she had a few students who were not able to dress up, so she researched a filter on the phone app, Snapchat, and found a way to add a pirate hat and parrot to her photos of students. Says Ripps, “It’s all about learning what the possibilities are with technology. I may not have lots of pirate gear laying around my classroom, but I can model problem solving for my students by researching the technology that’s out there. It was a cool surprise to find the app and my students loved it.”
Superintendent of Lytle Schools, Michelle Carroll Smith, sums up Talk Like a Pirate Day by saying, “I love seein’ me hearties dress like me favorite mascot – a Lytle Corsair, by Blackbeard’s sword! I enjoy wanderin’ the deck with me parrot Petey and wavin’ me cutlass, too. Learnin’ new things is like gettin’ yer sea legs, so aroun’ these parts, we do our best t’ ‘Be a good Pirate!”
Pirate Speak translation: “I love seeing everyone dressed like my favorite mascot – a Lytle Pirate! I enjoy dressing up, taking my parrot Petey out and waving my sword, too. Learning new things can be much easier when you’re having fun, so around here, we do our best to always ‘Be a good Pirate!’”