Learn Like a Pirate 2019

Elijah Carbajal
4 min readDec 7, 2019


A year ago my school in Aztec, NM had their first annual Learn Like a Pirate Day. It was an idea I had and that I took to my administration with the hope of having a day of extreme fun filled learning and excitement. Every teacher had the opportunity to teach something that they were absolutely passionate about. Kids were able to sign up for and were placed into four classes that they wanted to be in for the day.

Yesterday was our second annual Learn Like a Pirate Day. I wanted to take some time to share some of the highlights from the day.

What was being taught?

There were amazing lessons taking place all day. There were teachers that taught football fundamentals, such as teaching routes and giving the kids a chance to scrimmage. Another teacher taught her passion for kindness. She helped her kids create dog and cat toys for an animal shelter and Christmas cards for troops who are deployed. Speaking of Christmas, another teacher taught art through ornament crafting. One teacher, who spent years in Japan teaching English, brought Japanese culture to her students, teaching them Japanese words and phrases and things like how to use chopsticks. I got in contact with a local contractor who then taught the kids how to make a stool that they got to take home with them! There was so much more.

So many awesome lessons were taking place. At the end of the day the kids were thrilled! They shared their excitement with me and other peers.

What did I teach?

Tracey Taylor and I taught…

Something that took us a while to prep for. We were at school till 10:00 PM preparing for the day. We taught…

More kids than we expected. Originally, we were told that 20 kids would be in each of our four rotations. That number jumped to an average of 28 kids per rotation! What did we teach that so many kids wanted to be a part of?

Cue the spy music…

Secret Agent Spy Training! Yeah!

We had rotations in our room where students were crawling through a laser field.

At the start of the lesson students opened a top secret folder with their mission. But wait! It was just a blank piece of paper! Or was it?

Invisible ink!

At another rotation students had to use detective inference skills to determine who did it.

Another group of secret agents had to analyze their own fingerprints, looking for patterns under a microscope.

By the end of each rotation I was tired, but ready to go another round at the same time. By the end of the day I had hit that happy exhaustion. Thrilled at how the day went. Happy that the kids left our room feeling excited and happy as well. The day went great!

I hope that this inspired some of you who are reading this. I hope you’re inspired to try something new. Inspired to teach your butt off. Teach with passion an excitement. Yeah, maybe you also run with this idea of having a Learn Like a Pirate Day at your school, but I also hope you teach like a pirate every day! I hope that your kids are leaving your classroom at the end of the day excited to return the next day. I hope you and your kids have fun!



Elijah Carbajal

Educator living and working in Albuquerque, NM. Author of “A Place They Love”. Lover of music. Host of “The Shut Up and Teach Podcast”.