Learn Like a Pirate: Responsibility

Hey friends! I’m back with another chapter of Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. This book study is hosted by Amanda from The Primary Gal.

So, last week had my brain all jumbled and messed up! I could not wrap my brain around that chapter. This week’s reading was almost to that point, but much easier for me to grasp how I can use these same ideas and make them work in kindergarten.

Alright! Let’s chat about chapter 5. This chapter is ALL about responsibility. I think allowing our students to take responsibility of their actions is a MAJOR goal in kindergarten. I also see responsibility for the flow of the classroom somewhat being there as well. Kindergarteners aren’t old enough to handle an entire day’s schedule alone. Sure with excellent routines set in place, the classroom organized in a manner where they know where everything is, and have extremely high expectations for your students, they should be able to handle a few tasks alone. However, I would never attempt my classroom as Paul did. If I was teaching a couple of grade older, I would definitely be all for it.

So how can I make responsibility work for my students in a way that is best for us? I had to stop and think about all of the ways in which they are held responsible in our classroom already as part of my routines and expectations.

Schedule – I’ve never had a schedule posted in my classroom. I will be making one with photos to help. This way, even though I stick to the same schedule as best that I can, they will always know what's next. I won't have to tell them. They won't have to ask me. This will allow them to be responsible for setting up anything that is needed, helping friends get ready, and getting supplies if needed.

Supplies – My students have their own crayon box or bag at their seats. I am still trying to talk my principal on no tables, but this conversation last happened one year ago. Maybe she knows me well enough know to see that my intentions are in the best state of mind. TOTAL ramble moment, back to the book!

This year, if I do not have tables, I plan to have sterilite drawers sitting with my students supplies inside. I want them to know what it feels like to be responsible for keeping up with something and have it looking nice. They get the chance to use community supplies and work on sharing and nice words when they use glue sponges. It is all up to them to get their own supplies.

At the beginning of the school year, I do teach them how to correctly get supplies and how to put them back. This saves on issues later in the school year. I know that my students are listening because when we receive a new friends late in the school year, I rely on them to teach the new student the rules.

Supplies includes anything that my students will have access to. This includes books. I want to make sure that my entire classroom is labeled with a picture to match. It is extremely difficult to have a student-led classroom and the students cannot read. How have I been expecting my kids to read those really cute labels with bunting with NO PICTURE? I didn’t expect them to read. I can make my classroom more functional and more student responsibility geared if I am expecting them to read labels. This will help by putting pictures or photographs on everything.
I allow my students to be responsible for getting scissors, glue sponges to their tables, finding their own math journals, science interactive notebooks, and so on. I want my day to be as easy as possible so these are tasks that I already give to my students. I rarely go and look for anything for them. I teach them that if they are having trouble getting something to ask a friend.

As I think about tasks that I could hand over to my students, I think immediately of books. One of my goals this summer is to get my books labeled with a very small picture. This same picture will be the picture that I already have on the front of my book boxes. The expectation will be set for them to use the books, but to place them back in the correct places. This will give me back some much needed time.

As far as collaborative responsibilities for the class, these come more towards the end of the year after they have had plenty of opportunities to watch me model how I want them to do certain things. I let them make our circle maps when we are learning new blends or digraphs. It is so easy for them to make them because I’ve made 26 alphabet circle maps with them. I also allow them to write on our anchor charts. This could be anything from a KWL to a simple what did we learn chart.

I love mini lessons for reading. I use a revised version of Daily 5 and between each small group I teach in very small bursts. They can handle a quick 15 minute lesson and I think they actually “get it”. I try not to keep them there longer than 20 minutes. The longest they are there is if I’m reading a book and we’re doing something with the book.


I’m changing it slightly this year. The entire routine is on a powerpoint. Here’s the routine:
Sight Words
Small Group - Daily 5 choices are already made for them in powerpoint. (Writing, Listening, Technology, Reading, and Word Work)
Phonics Skills
Small Group - Daily 5 for the rest
Phonemic Awareness
Small Group - Daily 5
Read Aloud that integrates science. I'll be full blown theme teaching this year and I plan to incorporate everything with our science/social science skills here. This will flow throughout the day. So if we're learning about zoo animals, our small group book will be about zoo animals, our vocabulary will be about zoo animals, read aloud, math workshop centers will be zoo themed and so on.

That's it! There is A LOT to take in from this chapter. This is only the things that stood out to me. I could go on and on and on, but I won't! I hope you'r enjoying this book study as much as I am.

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