Learn Like a Pirate: What is a Student Led Classroom

Hey friends! Welcome to this amazing book study, Learn Like a Pirate, brought to you by Amanda from The Primary Gal. If you don't know Amanda, you should! She is very inspiring, always has great ideas, and is SUPER sweet! I'd like to think that I've found tons of new friends through blogging all because of her.

Now, chapter 1 is all about a student-led classroom. What exactly is a student-led classroom? Well, in my eyes it's when students can be successful throughout the day without the help of a teacher in most areas of the day. I'm not saying the teacher shouldn't be there to facilitate, but I don't think students need to rely on teachers as much as they have been known to in the past. The book says, "a student-led classroom is one in which students make decisions and choices throughout the day without consulting the teacher." I have already set routines in place in my previous years in teaching to allow my students to function without the help of me. I start off with a lot of small things such as paper/pencil management, journals, supplies, Daily 5 time, math workshops... all of these things run smoothly without me.

As I was reading chapter 1, I had a little self reflection moment. Am I a teacher that micromanages or am I a facilitator? I'd like to consider myself as a true facilitator. I set very HIGH expectations for my kinders. Some may find it silly, but I like to tell my parents this on Meet the Teacher night and in my Welcome to School letter. If I don't set the expectations high, why would they push themselves?

Chapter 1 is really short, but pair it with the introduction and there are so many mind blowing things to think about. I highlighted so many things that I either wanted to think more on or that I totally agree with. Here's a few highlights that I took away.

Student-led classrooms are only effective if students feel safe, appreciated, and connected to their teacher.

Um, wow. How true is this? Why should students trust us if they don't feel safe? Why would they try their hardest and work to please us if they're not appreciated? Why would they let us in on their lives throughout their writing if they're disconnected with the person reading their inner thoughts?

As teachers, we need the traits of pirates. Our students need the characteristics of confidence, curiosity, independence, and collaboration so they can be successful.

Again, they need to learn to be successful on their own. The teacher does not need to be a crutch.

Students need to become risk-takers. Students need to make creative decisions. Students need to learn to work well with others. Students need the appropriate amount of freedom.

I put all of these together because I think there are so many things that we don't allow our students to become as teachers. So many schools are focused on testing, that kids don't have a chance. They need to be able to learn at their own pace in a way where the learning is meaningful.

As you can see, I LOVED chapter one. It was VERY short, but FULL of meaningful information to get my mind on the right track for the remainder of the book.


  1. Hi Keri -

    I really enjoyed your post for many reasons, but most of all, I like how you posted quotes from the book, synthesized them with your prior knowledge, and wrote reflective remarks. (I also really appreciate your positivity and kind words!!!) :)

    I plan to take this format that you used and ask my 5th graders to do the same when reading certain non-fiction and fiction books next year. Maybe: "Find three quotes from today's reading and explain how this information helps you to draw a new conclusion." Or something along those lines! So thank you for the idea!!! :)

  2. I feel like I highlighted nearly all of the same quotes!!! Even though this chapter was very short, it was POWERFUL! :)

  3. I loved reading your post! It took me back to my kinder days! Learning to be successful on your own is HUGE! It sounds as though you are laying tremendous groundwork for future teachers to build upon! Great fun reading this book together!


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