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Pirate Diary



Pirate Diary

By Richard Platt

Illustrated by Chris Riddell
ISBN: 0763621692

Summary: Ten year old Jake Carpenter leaves the American colony of North Carolina to become a sailor in 1716. His ship, the Greyhound, is captured by pirates, and Jake becomes a member of the pirate company. His pirate adventures and safe return home with his pockets filled with pieces of eight are recorded in this fictional diary.



Unit prepared by Jimmie

Note: Please preview this book to decide if it is right for your child; it's authentic pirate and can be crass and gory at times; you need to pre-read to determine what parts you may need to skip, or what parts you need to be ready to discuss; it is not for the weak stomached. 


Resources created for this unit
Math Worksheet (multiplication by 2's)
Math Worksheet (multiplication by 3's)
Math Worksheet (multiplication by 4's)
Smuggling Shutterfold Template
Ship's Log Cover
Ship Shape Book Template
Pegleg Pull-tab Minit Book
Flag Trifold Template
Compass Envelop Fold
Cannon Trifold Template
Act of Grace Shutterfold Template
Manatees and Mermaids Venn diagram
Cause and Effect Chain
Life of a Sailor Layered Book Template

More notes about lapbooking for this unit are at the end.



1. Photocopy pp. 4-5, the diagram of the Greyhound. (It may be helpful to enlarge it.) If you choose, you can omit the key from the copy and have your child write the parts of the ship as you go through the study.  In addition, you may choose to use the diagram of the Hispaniola Schooner: This second link gives the labels to the numbered parts.  If you are doing the lapbooking component, the ship diagram will go into the ship mini-book.


2. Have a map of the Caribbean/West Indies, including North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida to record Jake’s travels. This site has a nice, color map which is appropriate. If you are doing the lapbooking component, the map will go into the ship’s log mini-book.


3. Optional.  If you want to teach calendar skills, print blank calendars for September 1716 through May 1717. As you read each diary entry, the child can mark the date with an X or write/draw a picture about what happened that day. By the end of the unit study, the calendars will be a great summary tool.

PDF Blank calendar template with days of week written in  or  Blank calendar with space at top for picture; days of week abbreviated


These sites will show you the correct dates for 1716 and for 1717


Lesson 1

Reading Selection

Pp, 7-11; Sept. 23, 1716 – Sept. Tues. 25th


Map of Jake’s Travels

Mark Holyoak, NC and Charleston, SC (on page 96, #1 is Charleston)


Diagram of the Greyhound



Language Arts Vocabulary

Note:  definitions for vocabulary words are for the meaning of the word in context. Some words have multiple meanings. For example yarn is used in the story to mean a tale. The meaning of woolen string is not included in the notes.

Word Found on Page Definition
Yarn 8 a tale or story, especially an exaggerated one
Fie 9 for shame!
Finery 9 showy elaborate decoration, especially clothing or jewelry
Glum 9 gloomy, sullen
Mean 10 low quality, shabby, poor
Quay (quayside) 10 a wharf, usually of stone or concrete
Masthead 10 a flag or pennant


Language Arts Writing

Write a yarn or “When-I-was” tale that Uncle Will may have told. It could include sea monsters, mermaids, icebergs, whirlpools, hurricanes, pirates, etc.  Your student could also write a yarn that someone older has told him in the past.

Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 8 last sentence:

I write this on the last day at home, for tomorrow I shall return with my Uncle Will to his ship, the Sally Anne.


Sally Anne is written in italics. Why? (Ship’s names are always written that way.) How can you write in italics when writing by hand? (You can underline to indicate italics. So Sally Anne can also be written as Sally Anne.)


The word for could be substituted with what other word? (Because. In this sentence, for means because. The word for is a coordinating conjunction, joining the two independent clauses.) Remove the for and say the two sentences which for joins. (I write this on the last day at home. Tomorrow I shall return with my Uncle Will to his ship, the Sally Anne.)


Why is Uncle Will capitalized? (It is the title and name of a specific person, a proper noun.)  What about this sentence: Tomorrow I shall return with my uncle to his ship. Should uncle be capitalized? (No. This uncle is a common noun, not a name.)


The word shall could be replaced with what word? (Will. Shall is an old fashioned way of saying will.)


Why is there a comma after ship? The Sally Anne is an appositive; it renames ship.


Language Arts Idiom

On p. 11 Will says, “Beggars cannot be choosers.” What does this idiom mean? Tell another situation in which you could use this phrase.


History/Social Studies

Read the information in the back of Pirate Diary pp. 97 -100 (top)

Identify the thirteen colonies on a map: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.  What does it mean to be a colony? (a territory ruled by a distant state; no independence)

A chart with information about the 13 colonies

A map with the 13 colonies marked

Locate England as well. What ocean is between the colonies and England? (Atlantic)



Holyoak must be a fictional city since it is not on any NC maps. Instead of using it, we can use Raleigh. Calculate the distance between Raleigh, NC and Charleston, SC.  In the story, it took Jake and his uncle all day to travel. How long would it take today, riding in a car traveling at 55 mph?



The Mermaid

Sailors were very superstitious. Seeing a mermaid was actually bad luck to sailors. Listen to the music of this sea song and read the lyrics. (It’s easy to figure out how the tune matches the lyrics.) Sing along!


'Twas Friday morn when we set sail,
And we had not got far from land,
When the Captain, he spied a lovely mermaid,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.

Oh the ocean waves may roll,
And the stormy winds may blow,
While we poor sailors go skipping aloft
And the land lubbers lay down below, below, below
And the land lubbers lay down below.

Then up spoke the Captain of our gallant ship,
And a jolly old Captain was he;
"I have a wife in Salem town,
But tonight a widow she will be."


Then up spoke the Cook of our gallant ship,
And a greasy old Cook was he;
"I care more for my kettles and my pots,
Than I do for the roaring of the sea."


Then up spoke the Cabin-boy of our gallant ship,
And a dirty little brat was he;
"I have friends in Boston town
That don't care a ha' penny for me."


Then three times 'round went our gallant ship,
And three times 'round went she,
And the third time that she went 'round
She sank to the bottom of the sea.





On p. 11, Jake and his uncle sign their names into a book to join the crew of the Greyhound. Read Phil. 4:3 and Luke 10:17-20. God has His own book in which are the names of His elect. Is your name there?



Make a mini-book to resemble a ship’s log. A one sheet book will be fine. Or use the printable template, Ship's Log Cover. Title it the Greyhound’s Log.  Inside make a list of crew members who have signed on to the Greyhound. Sign Will’s and Jake’s name to the book. Think – what is Will’s last name? He is Jake’s father’s brother. (Later you will add more to this book.)



Draw a pirate ship.

For the lapbooking component, you may want to use this drawing as the cover of your ship shape book instead of using the template.


Lesson 2

Reading Selection

Pp. 12-17; Sept. Wed. 26th – Sept. Sat. 29th


Map of Jake’s Travels



Diagram of the Greyhound

Yards (p. 13) and companionway (p. 15) are not labeled on the key, but can you find them based on the descriptions? Add them to the Greyhound Key.

Main Mast p. 13  #6

Both masts and yards would fall under the category of spars (see vocabulary word below).

Foremast p. 13  #10

Upper Deck p. 14  #9

Great Cabin p. 14  #4

Crew’s Quarters p. 14  #17

Cargo Hold p. 14  #16

Label front (at the anchor), back (at the tiller), left side, and right side of the boat with the nautical words supplied on p. 15.


Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Plank 12  a long, broad, thick board; on a ship this board was laid across the gap between the ship and the dock for crossing over. Also “walking the plank” while out at sea was a punishment (i.e. drowning).
Hoist 13 to raise or lift with a pulley or crane
Rigging 13 sails, masts, and ropes
Spars 13 any pole as a mast or a yard supporting sails on a ship
Reel 15 to sway or stagger; to spin or whirl
Glower 16 to stare with anger
Bollard 16 a strong post 


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 17 2nd sentence of 1st new paragraph

This was enough to make the Greyhound glide smoothly away from the dock and into the channel.


Greyhound is written in italics. Why? (Ship’s names are always written that way.) How can you write in italics when writing by hand? (You can underline to indicate italics. So Greyhound can also be written as Greyhound.)


What word tells how the Greyhound glided? (smoothly) Smoothly is an adverb because it tells how. Many adverbs end in –ly.

What two phrases tell where it glided? (away from the dock; into the channel) Those two phrases are adverb phrases because they tell where. Adverbs and adverb phrases tell how and where.

What word joins those two adverb phrases? (and) And is a conjunction. A conjunction is a joining word.

This is what? Look back at the story if necessary. The sentence itself does not tell. (the sailors’ unfurling the sail to be filled with wind.)


History/Social Studies

At Sullivan’s Island, Jake could no longer see the lights from Charleston. Why? (Sullivan’s Island is outside of Charleston harbor.) What body of water did the ship just leave when they entered the ocean? (Charleston harbor) What is a harbor? (An inlet of water protected from the wind and waves used for anchoring boats.) What ocean did the ship enter? (Atlantic) The map can help you answer these questions.



Walk 30 paces to estimate the length of the Greyhound’s upper deck. Then measure it in yards or meters. Looking at your diagram of the Greyhound, where would the mainmast and foremast be located within your 30 paces? Measure in paces four other distances, for example, from your front door to the mailbox, the length of your living room, etc. Record your observations. If your siblings or parents are also doing this experiment, do their measurements match yours? Why not? How accurate are paces for measuring things? Why are standard measurements necessary?



Why does the deck have to be kept wet? (Otherwise the boards shrink apart and let in water.)  What is the deck made of? (wood) Why does wood absorb water? (wood is porous – it has many vessels/tubes for absorbing water since the wood is actually from a tree trunk or limb.)

Spend some time studying how plants absorb water through their roots, trunk, and limbs. You can do the classic experiment of putting a celery stalk upright in a glass of water tinted with red or blue food coloring. The color will travel all the way to the leaves over time.

Experiment by soaking craft sticks and/or twigs in water overnight. Compare them to controls that were not soaked. Are the soaked sticks larger? (The change will be slight; and treated wood will absorb less than untreated wood.)



On p. 123 of Sources, the writer and illustrator credit Howard Pyle’s pirate art as inspiration for the pictures in the book. Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates is now in the public domain. From Facing p. 36 is WALKING THE PLANK.


Using your new words from the Greyhound diagram, what parts of the ship can you see?

Point to and use words to describe four different emotions you see portrayed on the men’s faces.

From what you can see, what keeps the plank from falling into the ocean?

How does this picture make you feel?

When Jake walked the plank, was he doing what is pictured here? Explain the difference.



Jake learns that a sailor’s life includes much hard labor. Read 2 Thessalonians. 3:7-12 and Proverbs 24:30-34.



Make a boat shape book to hold your Greyhound diagram. If you like, you can put Howard Pyle’s Walking the Plank in your boat book with an explanation of this punishment.



Find some rope or twine and practice tying knots that sailors use.


Lesson 3

Reading Selection

Pp. 18-23; Sept. Sun. 30th – Oct. Sun. 7th


Map of Jake’s Travels


Diagram of the Greyhound

Cook’s Cabin/Galley p. 20 #14


Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Contraband 18 smuggled goods forbidden to be exported or imported
Smuggle 18 to bring or take secretly or illegally
Jest 19 joke or taunt
Timber 20 wood for building houses, ships, etc.
Pitch 21 to rise and fall
Sway 21 to swing or move from side to side
Beckon 23 to summon by a gesture


Language Arts Writing

Would you like to climb to the top of the mainmast? Read the description on p. 21 and look at the picture on p. 22. In your paragraph, describe what it would feel like. Hint: use some of your new vocabulary words.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 19

We will return with sugar, molasses, Dutch gin, French brandy, and lace – all contraband.


Why are there four commas in this sentence? (They are used to separate the five items in a series.) What are the items in the series?

Why are Dutch and French capitalized? (They are proper adjectives. They refer to countries.) What country does Dutch refer to? (Holland or The Netherlands)

What is  -- called? (A dash. It is used to emphasize or set-off  an explanation. Here the word contraband explains what the all of the list is considered.)


History/Social Studies

Smuggling was how colonists avoided customs taxes levied by England on the imported and exported goods. Read p. 98-100 about the Navigation Acts.

How would the colonists’ perspective on smuggling be different from that of King George? Discuss or use the printable smuggling 2 views PDF-- Smuggling Shutterfold

Locate Jamaica and Martinique (p. 19) on your map.  Identify the entire chain of islands that make up the West Indies or Caribbean.



Uncle Will tells Jake that the captain will hold back three months’ wages to keep the sailors from abandoning ship. Practice your multiplication tables with the Pirate x3 math PDF worksheet.



Jake gets very seasick (p. 21). What causes seasickness?

(adapted from  Seasickness happens when the body, inner ear, and eyes all send different signals to the brain. The result is a queasy, nauseated feeling – like you want to throw up. The problem is mostly in the inner ear where there is fluid to help you with balance. Your brain has to adapt to the unfamiliar, constant motion of the ship moving through water. The fluid in the inner ear is constantly moving, and the brain gets confused. When the eyes see cabin walls, barrels, sails, and furniture, it sends the message to the brain that these are stable things. But in fact, they are all pitching about in motion on the sea. Your brain is being told by the vision system that the world is stable, while the inner ear is screaming that it's not. Seasickness will go away after a few days at sea as the body adapts to the new environment.

For additional study, investigate the anatomy and function of the inner ear.

Usborne Book of Knowledge (How Your Body Works) p. 112-3

Usborne Book of Science Activities volume 3 (yellow one) p. 34-5


Experiment with your inner ear by twirling around until you are dizzy. How long does the dizzy sensation continue? Does it stop as soon as you stop twirling? The sensation is caused by the confused messages your brain is receiving from the liquid in the inner ear. Even though you stop twirling, the liquid is still moving. Thus the continued dizzy feelings.  Make a model by filling a clear plastic bottle with water and a bit of glitter. Twirl the bottle in your hands and then stop it suddenly. Does the water stop? (No, the glitter keeps moving even after the bottle has stopped. The liquid in your ears is the same.)



Sailors often sang as they did their work. This made it more enjoyable and helped to pass the time. Their songs became known as sea shanties (also seen spelled as chanties).

The word 'shanty' comes from the French word /chanter/, which means 'to sing.' (BTW, the French word is derived from the Latin word 'cantare.') Shanties were used to synchronize the team work of the chores aboard the ship. Shanties are sung in a call-and-response fashion. A main singer, known as the 'shantyman,' sings the verses and then the chorus or refrain is sung by the entire crew. The style is very rhythmic, and a word is usually emphasized during the chorus that corresponded to a heave or a pull. Over time, shanties developed different rhythms to match the different tasks, such as raising the anchor or pulling the ropes.

Different kinds of shanties include:

Capstan Shanties--sailors would walk around the capstan in order to raise the anchor. As they walked, they would stomp their feet in time with the shantyman's song. A well-known capstan shanty was Drunken Sailor.

Halyard Shanties--A halyard is strong rope used to haul on a yard, the wooden extension of the mast to which sails were fastened. The men rest while the shantyman sings the verse, and then the men all haul on the chorus. A popular halyard shanty is 'Blow the Man Down.'

Short Haul or Short Drag Shanties--Difficult or heavy jobs required special short shanties that would require the men to pull once per refrain. 'Paddy Doyle's Boots' is one such shanty for furling the sails.

Pumping Shanties--Many old sailing ships had pumps in the very bottom of the ship to drain out any water that collected there. Working the pumps was very difficult and so special shanties were developed for pumping time. 'Santy Ano' is one example of a pumping shanty.

Being objects essentially made out of wooden planks nailed together, the old sailing ships naturally leaked quite a bit. Pumps were located in the bilge — the very bottom section of a ship — to drain out the water that collected there. This was an arduous task that necessarily had its own shanty to accompany it, like 'Santy Ano':

Ceremonial and Forecastle (also spelled fo'c'sle and pronounced foke-sail) Songs--These songs were similar to shanties, in that a lead man sang the verses and the others would each the refrain, but instead of being sung during chores, they were for special occasions or for entertainment.

(The Contemplator  and )


Listen to "Blow the Man Down" a halyard shanty (you may need to preview any shanties you want to share with your student; they are pirate songs, so you can expect to hear about drinking and women!). 

Here's another halyard shanty: 
"Haul Away, Joe!"   lyrics and music



The Captain deceptively left in the night to avoid paying his debts. Read Acts.5:1-11, another story about people being deceptive.



Use a small shutterfold book to describe the two views of smuggling – that of the King of England and that of the colonists. On the outside left put a map of the colonies; on the outside right put a map of England. Inside each flap write the different perspectives on smuggling. Or use the printable smuggling 2 views PDF--Smuggling Shutterfold .


Make a six page layered book. Title:  The Life of a Sailor. Illustrate a hammock (p. 12) for their sleeping quarters. On one page, write and illustrate a sailor’s food (p. 20). On another page describe how their wages are held back (p. 18). More will be added later.  Life of a Sailor Layered Book Template



Make a 3D ship from paper.

Or make a 3D pirate ship from milk cartons.


Younger children can color a pirate ship

Lesson 4

Reading Selection

Pp. 24-29 (top); Oct. Mon. 8th – Oct. Sun. 14th


Map of Jake’s Travels



Diagram of the Greyhound

Quarterdeck p. 26 #2


Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Navigator 24 see job description in history section below
Flog 26 to beat with a stick or whip
Flinch 26 to draw back or wince as from pain or a blow
Horizon 28 the line where the sky seems to meet the ground (or ocean in this case)
Sum 28 result of adding


Language Arts Writing

In one paragraph, explain who is in charge of the ship – Noah the navigator or Captain Nick.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 28 first sentence of first new paragraph

To check his sums, Noah finds our latitude: how far we have traveled north or south.

Why is there a comma after sums? (Commas are used after introductory phrases.)

Why is Noah capitalized? (Noah is a proper noun – a name.)

Why are north and south not capitalized? (Used as directions, north and south are not capitalized. But if you are referring to the geographical region the South, you capitalize it. For example: I am from the North, but I now live in the South. To get to my home, travel south on Petersburg Street.)

What is the name of the punctuation after latitude? (colon) What is its purpose? (to set off a clause of explanation) What other form of punctuation could be used there instead? (a dash)


History/Social Studies

Look at a map and identify latitude lines. These are the lines that run parallel to the equator. The equator is 0 degrees latitude. Latitude is measured in degrees north or south of the equator. Latitude lines, along with longitude lines, can be used to identify any point on the globe. Roughly estimate your present latitude and longitude with a world map. Then check it online. How accurate were you?


Today’s reading introduces the navigator. Below is an outline of the various member of a (pirate) ship’s crew and their jobs. Refer to this throughout the unit study.


Today there are many different misconceptions and myths about buccaneers throughout history. A common misconception made by many people is in the role and authority of the pirate captain. Unlike naval captain’s who were appointed by their respective governments and whose authority was supreme at all times. Most pirate captain’s were democratically elected by the ships crew and could be replaced at any time by a majority vote of the crewmen. For example some captains were voted out and removed for not being as aggressive in the pursuit of prizes as the crew would have liked. And others were abandoned by their crews for being a little too bloodthirsty and brutal. A few were even murdered by their own men. They were expected to be bold and decisive in battle. And also have skill in navigation and seamanship. Above all they had to have the force of personality necessary to hold together such an unruly bunch of seamen.

This left the captain of most pirate ships in a rather precarious position and some were in truth little more than a figurehead. Generally speaking, he was someone the crew would follow if he treated them well and was a fairly successful pirate captain but could be replaced if enough of the men lost confidence in him and felt he wasn’t performing his duties as well as he should. However, despite all this, the captain was frequently looked upon with respect as a knowledgeable leader of men. And the pirate crews historically appeared to have followed his judgment in most matters. There are surprisingly few detailed descriptions of what the pirate captains looked like, and those we do have are rarely flattering. Most seem to have adopted the clothes of naval officers or merchant sea captains, which in this period followed the style of English gentlemen.

During the Golden Age of Piracy, most British and Anglo-American pirates delegated unusual amounts of authority to the Quartermaster who became almost the Captain’s equal. The Captain retained unlimited authority during battle, but otherwise he was subject to the Quartermaster in many routine matters. The Quartermaster was elected by the crew to represent their interests and he received an extra share of the booty when it was divided. Above all, he protected the Seaman against each other by maintaining order, settling quarrels, and distributing food and other essentials.

Serious crimes were tried by a jury of the crew, but the Quartermaster could punish minor offenses. Only he could flog a seaman after a vote from the Crew. The Quartermaster usually kept the records and account books for the ship. He also took part in all battles and often led the attacks by the boarding parties. If the pirates were successful, he decided what plunder to take. If the pirates decide to keep a captured ship, the Quartermaster often took over as the Captain of that ship.

This was the officer who was in charge of navigation and the sailing of the ship. He directed the course and looked after the maps and instruments necessary for navigation. Since the charts of the era were often inaccurate or nonexistent, his job was a difficult one. It was said a good navigator was worth his weight in gold. He was perhaps the most valued person aboard a ship other than the captain because so much depended upon his skill. Many Sailing Masters had to be forced into pirate service.

The Boatswain supervised the maintenance of the vessel and its supply stores. He was responsible for inspecting the ship and it’s sails and rigging each morning, and reporting their state to the captain. The Boatswain was also in charge of all deck activities, including weighing and dropping anchor, and the handling of the sails.

The Carpenter was responsible for the maintenance and repair of the wooden hull, masts and yards. He worked under the direction of the ship’s Master and Boatswain. The Carpenter checked the hull regularly, placing oakum between the seams of the planks and wooden plugs on leaks to keep the vessel tight. He was highly skilled in his work which he learned through apprenticeship. Often he would have an assistant whom he in turn trained as a carpenter.

The Master Gunner was responsible for the ship’s guns and ammunition. This included sifting the powder to keep it dry and prevent it from separating, insuring the cannon balls were kept free of rust, and all weapons were kept in good repair. A knowledgeable Gunner was essential to the crew’s safety and effective use of their weapons.

On a large ship there was usually more than one Mate aboard. The Mate served as apprentice to the Ship’s Master, Boatswain, Carpenter and Gunner. He took care of the fitting out of the vessel, and examined whether it was sufficiently provided with ropes, pulleys, sails, and all the other rigging that was necessary for the voyage. The Mate took care of hoisting the anchor, and during a voyage he checked the tackle once a day. If he observed anything amiss, he would report it to the ship’s Master. Arriving at a port, the mate caused the cables and anchors to be repaired, and took care of the management of the sails, yards and mooring of the ship.

The common sailor, which was the backbone of the ship, needed to know the rigging and the sails. As well as how to steer the ship and applying it to the purposes of navigation. He needed to know how to read the skies, weather, winds and most importantly the moods of his commanders. Other jobs on the ships were surgeon (for large vessels), cooks and cabin boys. There were many jobs divided up amongst the officers, sometimes one man would perform two functions. Mates who served apprenticeships were expected to fill in or take over positions when sickness or death created an opportunity."   Information quoted from this source



When measuring the speed of the Greyhound, Jake counted four knots slip through his hands. That meant the boat was traveling 4 sea miles in an hour. So to figure the actual speed, he had to multiply the number of hours traveled by four. In one day – 24 hours the ship traveled 96 miles. What math problem was used to get that answer?  (4 miles x 24 hours= 96 sea miles per day)

Math Worksheet (multiplication by 4's)



The navigator used many instruments to do his job:  almanac of navigator’s tables, charts, compass, knots to measure speed, the backstaff to measure latitude.

The backstaff was a great development because before its invention, sailors were looking into the sun to determine latitude with the cross staff, astrolabe, or quadrant. Of course, that’s dangerous for the eyes! And it was also inaccurate. With the backstaff, the user does not have to look into the sun. His eyes are protected, and he gets a more accurate reading. The backstaff was used well into the 18th century.


How does a compass work? Magnets always point north. Inside a compass is a small magnet that constantly shows the sailors the direction of north. From that, they can also know south, west, and east.

The Usborne Book of Science Activities volume 1 (blue book) pp. 34-5 has an excellent description of compasses.

Experiment with a compass. Find out which walls of your home faces north, south, east, and west.

Or make your own with a magnet: tape a bar magnet into a plastic bowl. Float the bowl in a larger pot or bucket of water. The magnet’s north pole will face towards the north even if you turn the bucket around! Now you have created a compass --not a very portable one, though!



This ballad tells of a battle between Captain Ward, a pirate, and the Rainbow, the ship sent by the king to capture him.  You can listen to a midi file at this site.


Ward the Pirate

Come all you gallant seamen bold,
All you that march to drum,
Let's go and look for Captain Ward,
Far on the sea he roams.
He is the biggest robber
That ever you did hear,
there's not been such a robber found
For above this hundred year.

A ship was sailing from the east
And going to the west,
Loaded with silks and satins
And velvets of the best;
But meeting there with Captain Ward,
It was a bad meeting;
He robbed them of all their wealth,
And bid them tell their king.

O then the King proved a ship of noble fame,
She's call'd the Royal Rainbow
If you would have her name;
She was as well provided for
As any ship can be,
Full thirteen hundred men on board
To bear her company.

'Twas eight o'clock in the morning
When they began to fight,
And so they did continue there
Till nine o'clock at night;
Fight on, fight on, says Captain Ward
This sport well pleases me,
For if you fight this month or more,
Your master I will be.

O then the gallant Rainbow, she fired
She fired in vain.
Till six and thirty of her men
All on the deck were slain;
Go home, go home, says Captain Ward
And tell your king for me,
If he reigns king all on the land
Ward will reign king on the sea.



The Bible talks about north, south, east and west too. Read Psalm 107:1-9.



Add to your ship shape book: a navigator’s tools and the members of the crew. If you like you can add the paragraph writing assignment to this mini-book.


Make a compass mini-book. See printable--Compass Envelope Fold.


Add a sailor’s harsh punishments to one page of your Life of a Sailor book.



Play the online game Sail Safe.

First read about navigating the ocean, then sail your boat!


Lesson 5

Reading Selection

Pp. 29-37; Oct. Thurs. 18th – Oct. Sun 21st


Map of Jake’s Travels

#2 Pirates capture the Greyhound (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound

Review Hold p. 32 #16

Review Quarterdeck p. 37 #2


Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Idle 30 lazy or inactive
Skiff 30 a light rowboat with a sail
Provisions 30 supplies
Yardarm 36 either end of a yard supporting a sail
Treacherous 36 untrustworthy or disloyal
Rogue 36 a scoundrel
Defiantly 37 resisting authority
Captive 37 prisoner


Language Arts Writing

Make a cause-effect chain starting with Jake’s losing the bucket overboard and ending with his coming down from the masthead and given a reward of warm soup. Use the Cause and Effect Chain printable if you like.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 29- I do not want to write of today’s evil acts, for they pain me so much.


Why does today have ‘s on it? (Evil acts belongs to today. The apostrophe shows ownership.)

For could be replaced with what other word that would maintain the same meaning? (because. For here is a coordinating conjunction connecting the two independent clauses. What are the two independent clauses—sentences—that the for joins?)

What other ways could you combine those two sentences? Hint: change the order for more options. (They pain me so much that I do not want to write of today’s evil acts. I do not want to write of today’s evil acts since they pain me so much.)


History/Social Studies

A Dutch flag comes from what country? (Holland or The Netherlands)

Identify it on a map.


Study the weapons of pirates

Usborne Book of Knowledge How Things Began has a nice explanation of the history of weapons that would be appropriate.

This PDF has a page of illustrations of weapons commonly used by pirates.


1. Smallsword:  a straight bladed short sword was for dueling and thrusting; weighed about 2 pounds and was 30-40 inches long.

2. Cutlass:  this is the weapon of the buccaneers and the stereotypical pirate weapon; the blade is 2 feet, slightly curved with a single edge. It was the favorite weapon of Caribbean pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries.

3. Dagger: small knife that could be easily concealed under clothes; they were 12-18 inches long and very useful on the cramped areas of ships where there was no room to wield a sword.

4. Boarding axe: used to climb the wooden sides of a ship, to cut rigging lines for bringing down enemy sails, for chopping in doors and hatches, and for hand to hand combat; the axe weighed about 4 pounds and was 2-3 feet long.

5. Boarding pike: a long spear with a wooden handle and metal point. It is thrown at an opponent.

6. Musketoon: a rifle about 2-3 feet long, weighing 10-15 pounds.

7. Blunderbuss: a very deadly gun-- could maim or kill several people with a single blast. The blunderbuss weighed between ten and sixteen pounds and was two to three feet in length. It had a large barrel diameter of around two inches. The barrel was flared outward at the end like a funnel. This odd looking flare design was supposed to help give the gun a wider shot pattern. It was truly the crude shotgun type weapon of its time with a wide, short range that could cause havoc on the crowded deck of a ship. One of the major problems with all firearms of this period was that if the gunpowder got wet the gun would not fire correctly. And trying to keep a gun dry aboard a ship at sea could be very difficult.

8. Musket: one of the first small arms with some accuracy. Early muskets used the old matchlock firing mechanism. But these were replaced by the flintlock which was more reliable, especially in the wet conditions aboard ships. The flintlock musket weighed between twelve and eighteen pounds, and was about four to five feet in length. The older matchlock muskets were usually slightly longer and heavier. Although the standard muzzle loaded musket had a smooth-bore barrel, some muskets used a rifled barrel which greatly increased their accuracy at longer range. The musket was not as popular as the musketoon or blunderbuss with pirates because it was not as effective in close range boarding attacks. The musket was used mainly as a long range sniping weapon in calm winds and seas, or against the opposing ship’s crew shortly before boarding began.

9. Pistol: a favorite weapon among pirates for its small size and light weight; ideal for personal defense and for boarding enemy ships. Most fired a single shot and were loaded through the front of the barrel. Reloading was such a lengthy process that pirates would often carry several pistols and various bladed weapons into battle. Blackbeard was known to have carried six pistols, and Bartholomew Roberts was said to wear four pistols. These pistols were sometimes tied to their belts with silk cords to avoid dropping them overboard during a boarding attack. There was a variety of pistol sizes used by the pirates. Some preferred to carry larger ones that weighed around five pounds, and were roughly twelve to eighteen inches in length. Others carried smaller pistols that weighed about four pounds, and were six to ten inches long. These smaller pistols were normally not as accurate as the larger ones and caused less damage. But a pirate could carry more small pistols.

10. Grenade An early form of the hand grenade was in common use by 1700. They were also called powder flasks. The ones used by pirates were normally small hollow ceramic balls with a fuse sticking out. These weighed about two pounds, and were roughly four inches in diameter. The explosive result could cause great bodily damage. Some may have been stuffed with tar and rags to create a fire or smokescreen effect. The grenade’s fuse was lit just before being thrown at the intended target. However, they were not totally reliable, and could present a serious danger to the person using them as well.   Source


Study pirate flags.

Ships usually had a flag of some type (a masthead) to identify their nationality.  Pirates also used flags to identify themselves. The pirate flag is called the Jolly Roger. Sometimes people call it a “skull and crossbones” flag. But pirate flags were not all identical. Some were red, but most were black. They were designed to be scary. When merchant ships saw the flag, they were terrified by the symbols they saw: skulls, an hourglass (meaning time is running out), skeletons, bones, crossed swords, wings (time is flying away).

For graphics of flags and more information see



Make a graph comparing the weights and measurements of some of the weapons above, Which were longest? Which were lightest? Heaviest?



What is the jug with smoke on p. 36? (Probably a homemade grenade. See the notes about weapons above. The grenade in the book gave the pirates a cover of smoke which confused the Greyhound’s crew and gave the pirates the advantage of surprise.)

Study how gunpowder works.

Although it can explode, gunpowder’s main use is as a propellant. Gunpowder was invented by Chinese alchemists in the 9th century. Originally, it was made by mixing elemental sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter (potassium nitrate). When the ingredients were carefully ground together, the end result was a powder that was called 'serpentine.' The ingredients tended to require remixing prior to use, so making gunpowder was very dangerous. People who made gunpowder would sometimes add water, wine, or another liquid to reduce this hazard, since a single spark could result in a smoky fire.

Once the serpentine was mixed with a liquid, it could be pushed through a screen to make small pellets, which were then allowed to dry.

To summarize, gun powder consists of a fuel (charcoal or sugar) and an oxidizer (saltpeter or niter), and sulfur, to allow for a stable reaction. The carbon from the charcoal plus oxygen forms carbon dioxide and energy. The reaction would be slow, like a wood fire, except for the oxidizing agent. Carbon in a fire must draw oxygen from the air. Saltpeter provides extra oxygen. Potassium nitrate, sulfur, and carbon react together to form nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases and potassium sulfide. The expanding gases-- nitrogen and carbon dioxide-- provide the propelling action.

Gunpowder tends to produce a lot of smoke, which can impair vision on a battlefield or reduce the visibility of fireworks. Changing the ratio of the ingredients affects the rate at which the gunpowder burns and the amount of smoke that is produced.  Source


Rats p.32

Rats are rodents which must chew to keep their ever-growing teeth from getting too long. They reproduce quickly and are very adaptable.

The ship’s rat or black rat is Rattus rattus, and is also known as the Black, Roof, or Old English Rat. Ship rats originated in Asia where they are still very common. They were also the dominant rats in Europe right up to the late 18th Century, but they are now rare in Europe.


"Vermin such as rats were a great problem on ships. There was a variety of vermin on board ships. Weevils infested the biscuits in huge numbers. Officers were allowed to re-bake their biscuits to remove the weevils, however the crew were not permitted to do this, so they had to eat them as they were, weevils included. Weevils also infested cereals (oatmeal and wheat). Maggots were in many supplies and also cockroaches, which had a particular liking to ink. Rats however, were a particular problem.

While food was generally kept in wooden barrels, rats were able to gnaw through the wood to reach different decks and the food inside the barrels. They could also bring disease if left unchecked. Rats were a persistent menace to the ship’s food supply and were also known to eat sails, clothing, and even the hard skin from the soles of sailor’s feet while they slept. They could provide meat in desperate times, but caused much damage through the ship"  Source



pp. 34-35 book’s illustration

What emotions do you see?

What weapons do you see?

Describe the clothing you see.

Where do you see action or motion in the illustration?



Read Matt. 26:47-56. Discuss a pirate’s life in light of Jesus’ teaching.



Add this information to the food page of your Life of a Sailor book-- apples (fruit of any kind, actually) were a rare treat.


Make a mini-book on the many different pirate flags. Include the meanings of the symbols. Use the Flag Trifold Template.


Make a mini-book about the weapons used by pirates. A strip book would be a good choice since most of the weapons are long and skinny.

graphics of weapons



Make some pirate swords and pistols from cardboard and stage a battle.


Lesson 6

Reading Selection

Pp. 38-43 (top); Oct. Mon. 22nd – Nov. Sun. 4th


Map of Jake’s Travels



Diagram of the Greyhound



Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Anchorage 38 a place to anchor a boat; a port or haven
Boatswain 38 a ship’s petty officer in charge of rigging, deck crew, etc.
Permit 39 allow, let
Opposition 39 resistance or refusal
Weals 39 a mark on the skin left by a blow; a welt
Nuisance 40 irritant, pest
Jerkins 40 closefitting sleeveless jacket
Excess 40 extra, more than is necessary or expected; beyond a reasonable limit
Gunport 41 a whole through which a gun or cannon can be fired.
Maggot 42 wormlike larvae, for example of a fly


Language Arts Writing

Write one paragraph telling how you would have handled the pirate invasion? Would you welcome them as Noah did or would you disapprove as Bart did. Explain your position with all you know about pirates and the life of a sailor.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 42 “Shall you help me, Jake?” he asked me.

What does shall mean? (Will)

Why is there a comma before Jake’s name?

(Because Noah is talking to him. This is called direct address in grammar.)

What if Jake’s name were moved to the front of the sentence, where would the comma go? (Jake, shall you help me?)

Make up three sentences that use direct address. When you need a comma, just say it. (Mom, please help me. I’m lost, Toto! Why did you, Jake Carpenter, become a pirate?)

Why is he not capitalized even though there is a question mark right before it? (because it is still part of the sentence; it tells who said the quote. )


History/Social Studies

Look at the role of the boatswain and the captain from the crew notes in lesson 4. Notice that the captain was chosen by the crew.


Jake records on p. 40 that the pirates have 100 words for drunk and only one for sober. Why? What does this reveal about a pirate’s values and lifestyle?

Pirates have their own particular vocabulary or jargon.


Here are some pirate terms (some also used by sailors in general)


Ahoy!  Hello!

Arrgh!  An exclamation, frequently used for anything good or bad

Aye!  Yes

Belay stop

Grog  drink (a favorite was rum)

Grub  food

Landlubber a non-sailor

Loot stolen treasure

Mate friend

Scallywag mischievous scoundrel

Swab a mob or to mop


For more about pirate language:



On p. 39 Jake says the pirates outnumber us (Greyhound crew) 2 to 1.

What does that mean? Can you illustrate that with counters, toys, or with numbers? Two to one means twice as many. Practice your multiplication with this printable-- Math Worksheet (multiplication by 2's)

On p. 41 Jake says that there are now three times as many people on board. Based on the 2 to 1 comment on p. 39, how can you figure that the total people are three times more? (one part is the Greyhound crew; two parts are the pirates. Total is three parts. That is three times as many as the original one part.)



Why do goats stink?  Male goats emit an odor from their musk glands during breeding season. This odor is actually used to attract a female goat!


What are maggots? (Larvae of insects.)

How did they get into the wound? (The insect laid its eggs inside the wound.)

Why was the only option to amputate the leg?

In this era, there were no antibiotics to fight infection. Often an injury would result in a terrible infection called gangrene that would kill the person if they let the injured limb stay.  The ship's surgeon was usually the ship's cook too.  After the leg was amputated, most pirates just walked with crutches. But some may have had a fake leg called a peg leg made out of a scrap of lumber.


Pirate hooks were very probable replacements for amputated hands, but the image of a pirate with a hook was made popular by Peter Pan’s Captain Hook.

The same with peg legs – movies made of the novel Treasure Island usually portray Long John Silver with a peg leg. These images have remained as the stereotype of a pirate.


Pirates who lost a limb often were guaranteed a place in the crew, sometimes for life. This was something like a pirate pension.


Despite the stereotype – not all pirates had eye patches, peg legs, or hooks, -- the image does teach us something true about pirates. What? Pirates lived a very dangerous life in a time with poor medical care.


More about medicine during this time (amputation, surgical methods, illnesses, doctors on board pirate ships, etc.)


From Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates



How would you describe this painting to someone who could not see it?

Where is the burning ship? Hint – look where the light is coming from.

What objects seem close and what objects seem far away? How did the artist make it look that way?

What sounds would this painting make (if it could make noise)?



Read Prov. 20:1 and Eph. 5:18-21 to read about drunkenness.



To the Life of a Sailor book, add the idea that a sailor’s life was so hard, sailors often welcomed pirates onboard! The life of a pirate was more favorable to them.


Make a book about the physical/health risks of being a pirate. Include the poor medical treatment onboard, the great risk of infection, the use of amputation for treatment, and the frequent injuries in the very dangerous lives of pirates.

You can use the Peg leg Pull-tab Minit Book printable or create your own.


Make a flip flap book of pirate vocabulary.



Make an eye patch from a piece of black card or fun foam and a length of elastic.

Make a hook to cover an “amputated” hand. Cut a slit in the bottom of a paper or foam cup (large enough to cover the fist). Cut a hook shape out of cardboard, leaving a long piece to grab from inside the cup. The hook can be covered with foil or painted.


Lesson 7

Reading Selection

Pp. 43 (bottom) – 55 (top); Nov. Tues. 6th –Dec. Tues. 25th, Christmas

(Today’s reading is a bit longer than most.)


Map of Jake’s Travels

#3 Captain is marooned (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound


Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Methinks 43 I think
Oppose 44 to resist or go against
Maroon 45 to put a person ashore in a desolate place and abandon him there
Scoundrel 46 a mean, wicked, or immoral person; a villain
Moor 47 to hold a ship in place by cables or chains as to a pier or buoy; a place where a ship is moored
Poultice 50 a hot, soft, moist mass, as of flour, mustard, etc. applied to a sore part of the body
Oath 51 a promise
Loyalty 51 being faithful to one’s friends, country, ideals, etc.
League 54 about three miles
Deserter 52 one who abandons his post of duty
Petty 52 trivial, unimportant; narrow-minded; low ranking


Language Arts Writing

Choose one or two of the sailors’ rules and discuss whether or not they are good and fair ones.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

From middle of p. 44

Bart read a short prayer, and when all had said “Amen” they tipped poor Ahab into the ocean.

Why is Amen inside quotation marks?

Identify all the nouns in this sentence – person, place, or thing. (Bart, prayer, Ahab, ocean.  All and they are pronouns.)

This sentence is actually two independent clauses (sentences) joined together. How are they joined? (comma and) What are the two parts?


History/Social Studies

To the Dutch sailors, what is January 5?

(When they celebrate Christmas. Actually January 6 is the feast of the Epiphany, when the visit of the Wise Men is celebrated.)


Captains were chosen in a fairly democratic way – the crew could choose who captain would be. See the notes about the captain on lesson 4.

Review the rules of behavior which the crew agreed upon. Why do they not thing these rules are too harsh? Looking at the rules, what are some of the values that the rules reflect? (loyalty, hard work, honesty, safety)  Looking at rule #4, you can see the dangers of being a pirate and how injured pirates were cared for.



Fractions study – The rules outlined the share of each member of the crew. The captain got 1 1/2, the carpenter, boatswain, and gunner all got 1 1/4 each.

All others got one share.  Do some math problems figuring what the captain and other high ranking crewmembers would receive with one share being various values.



On p. 47, the sailors got sick with “el vomito.” Why did they get sick? (The water they drew was not pure; it had organisms in it.)

Why did they recover so quickly? (Generally, stomach problems pass quickly because the body will do everything it can to get rid of the parasites or organisms in the digestive tract!) Study the digestive system in whatever resource book you have available.



From Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates


Looking at the art, what is another way that the captain was chosen? (by a competition/fight)

What objects are closest and which are farthest away? How did the artist achieve this?

Describe the main colors used in this painting.

What emotions does this art have?

If you were going to paint this scene, how would you change Pyle’s art?



Bart comforts Ahab saying “Even a pirate who is full of sin may be saved.” (p. 43-4) Is this true or false? How? Why? Read Acts 2:37-41



Copy the laws into your ship’s log mini-book. Illustrate some of them if you like.



Make pirate hats


Lesson 8

Reading Selection

Pp. 55 – 61 (bottom); Jan. Wed. 9th – Jan. Mon. 28th


Map of Jake’s Travels

#4 Stop at island (not mentioned by name) to careen the ship (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound



Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Careen 57 to scrape barnacles off a ship
Stockade 57 a barrier of stakes driven into the ground side by side, for defense against attack
Brimstone 58 sulfur
Carousing 59 engaging in a noisy drinking party
Fleet 59 a number of warships under command; any group of ships, trucks, airplanes under one’s control
Intent 59 purpose or meaning


Language Arts Writing

Explain the process of firing a cannon, including the various roles the crew play. Put your writing into the cannon tri-fold mini-book.

Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 57 top One sailor called to me, “Fear not, lad, ‘tis only a whale. I’ve hunted many of these beasts in the icy waters up north.”

What does ‘tis mean? (It is)

Why does lad have commas around it? (Direct address; the sailor is calling Jake a lad, so lad is set apart from the rest of the sentence.)

What do we call a word like I’ve? (Contraction) What does it mean? (I have)

What word and phrase describe the waters? (icy; up north)


History/Social Studies
History of cannons.  Cannons were instrumental in the decline of castle building of the middle ages and the ushering in of the modern ages. Castle walls were no match for cannon shot.  Cannons were also used in naval battles.


"By the end of the 17th century, cast-iron had replaced bronze for making cannons. This material was cheaper and easier to use. Firing a cannon required three or four men to fire and reload. Even a trained crew took a couple of minutes to repeat the firing process. It took a lot of practice and training for a gun crew to be effective. In later guns, a flintlock firing mechanism replaced lighting the touch hole. This was safer and more reliable.


Popular belief is that pirates sailed large warships with dozens of cannons. While some pirates did this, most preferred a small fast ship with less of these big guns. Large cannon with ammunition weighed thousands of pounds each. And it would take several crew members to effectively operate a single gun. Since most of the pirates’ victims were lightly armed or unarmed merchant ships, it was not as necessary to carry a lot of cannon firepower. Also, ships with many cannons were larger and slower, making them vulnerable to attack from naval warships. Most pirates would rely instead on the speed of their ships and their well armed fighting men to capture their booty."  Source


Usborne Book of Knowledge How Things Began “Boats and Ships 2” has a good view of cannons being used during a naval battle.



Make a graph comparing the lengths or weights of various types of whales.



In whatever animal reference book is available, read about whales, especially their singing. Why could Jake hear it so clearly below deck and those on deck could not hear the whales? (Water is good transmitter of sound waves – better than air actually!) This link has midi files of whale sounds.


Whale behaviors – lob tailing: Some whales stick their tail out of the water into the air, swing it around, and then slap it on the water's surface; this is called lob tailing. It makes a very loud sound. The meaning or purpose of lob tailing is unknown.

Breaching: Many whales are very acrobatic, even breaching (jumping) high out of the water and then slapping the water as they come back down. Sometimes they twirl around while breaching. Breaching may be purely for play or may be used to loosen skin parasites.


Barnacles: What are they and why must they be removed?

(Barnacles are crustaceans that have jointed legs and shells of connected overlapping plates. They glue themselves to rocks, ships, pilings, even whales and filter food that washes by.  Barnacles encrusted on ships can cause enough drag to increase fuel consumption by 40 percent.)



Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates



This work of art is drawn from whose perspective? (use your imagination)

How is the work of art different from your daily life?

Would you like to be in this scene?

Describe the things that are going to be buried.

What is the HP in the bottom right corner?



Read about the leviathan in Psalms 104:24-30 and Job 41.



Use the Cannon Trifold Template to make a mini-book about how to use a cannon and any other facts you learned about cannons this lesson.



Make props and act out firing a cannon. Can you do it in less than one minute?

Lesson 9

Reading Selection

Pp. 61-69; Jan. Tues. 29th – Mar. Tues. 12th


Map of Jake’s Travels

#5 Treasure! Henry Jennings and the Flying Gang raid the Spanish Camp (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound



Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Espy 63 see
Venture 63 a risky undertaking
Protest 63 complain
Awkward 64 uncomfortable, ungraceful
Engulf 65 surround
Unearthly 68 unnatural, supernatural, strange


Language Arts Writing

Retell the raid from the perspective of Noah or some other sailor. Begin when the crew of the Greyhound sees the Spanish ships anchored above the wrecks (p. 62). End with the sailor getting his share of the silver pieces of eight.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 64 He pulled the trigger; the flint snapped, the powder flashed, but alas, the gun did not fire.

What is a semi-colon?  Why would an author choose to use it instead of a period? 0

The semi-colon is a strong, muscular punctuation mark; it holds two grammatically complete parts of a sentence together.
This sentence could be rewritten as two separate, shorter sentences:
He pulled the trigger.  The flint snapped, the powder flashed, but alas, the gun did not fire.

When you are using a semi-colon to hold two sentences together, it acts as slightly less powerful version of a period. That is, the semi-colon makes the reader pause in her reading of the sentence, but does not bring her to a full stop the way a period does. 

History/Social Studies

New Providence is a historical place. See the notes on pp. 108.


Pieces of Eight  During the Golden Age of Piracy and well into the 19th century a piece of eight was a Spanish or Spanish American coin roughly equivalent to today's dollar coin. However unlike today's American dollar which is worth 100 pennies, the piece of eight was worth eight of Spain's smaller currency, the reale/real.

Although it may seem strange to divide money into eight parts, at one time the U.S. Dollar also was divided into eight pieces or bits. Remember the nursery rhyme "two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar"? Mexico continued to use a monetary system similar to the old Spanish piece of eight well into the 19th century.

On a related note, most experts on piracy agree that buried treasure maps are a work of fiction. Pirates would not have buried treasure on deserted islands. First of all, there has never been a legitimate treasure map found. And pirates tended to spend all their money quickly and would return to pirating in order to raise more money.


Thus there is no treasure map activity in this unit. Valuables could have been stored in wooden chests or wooden barrels however. So the “treasure” chest or trunk is legitimate.



Jake got 564 pieces of eight. That was one share. So how much would the captain receive for his 1 1/2 share? What about the boatswain’s 1 1/4 share?


564 x 1.5 = 846

564 x 1.25 = 705



St. Elmo’s fire phenomenon

Before or after stormy weather, sailors on ocean ships sometimes see strange, glowing balls of light on the masts of their ships. This is called St. Elmo’s fire. It is actually an electrical discharge similar to lightning.

Why the strange name? St. Elmo may have become the patron saint of sailors because he is said to have continued to preach even after a thunderbolt struck the ground beside him. This prompted sailors, who were in danger from sudden storms and lightning to claim his prayers. The electrical discharges at the mastheads of ships were read as a sign of his protection and came to be called "Saint Elmo's Fire."


Look at the illustration on pp. 66-67.

If you had to title this illustration, what would you call it?

Look at the picture for one minute. Then close the book and try to recall as many details as you can.

Would you like to be in the midst of this scene? Why or why not?

Look at the faces. How has the artist shown the characters’ emotions?

Can you identify the capitano? How has the artist made him a focal point, that is, how is the eye drawn to him?



On p. 63 Jake “did not protest but secretly resolved to follow them to the camp.” Jake inwardly planned to disobey. Read Matt. 21:28-32. What is true obedience?



Make a treasure chest shape book by drawing your own or by using the templates below.  Draw in pieces of eight and explain what they were.

How to draw treasure chest

treasure chest shape book with lines

treasure chest shape book cover

Suggestion – make a pop-up book with pieces of eight inside your treasure chest.



Make a quadrant, a navigational instrument.

Lesson 10

Reading Selection

Pp. 70-76 (top); Mar. Fri. 15th – April, Wed. 3rd


Map of Jake’s Travels

#6 New Providence (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound



Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Lass 70 young woman
Halt 71 stop
'twas 71 it was
Suspicion 72 doubt, belief that someone is guilty without firm evidence
Mishap 72 an unlucky or unfortunate accident
Scoff 73 to mock or jeer
Industry 73 work or effort
Collide 74 to strike violently together
Contraband (review) 74 smuggled goods, forbidden by law to be imported and exported;
Contrabandist   one who smuggles forbidden goods
Pardon 75 forgiveness, release from punishment
Misadventure 71 a mishap, bad luck


Language Arts Writing

In a paragraph, explain like a detective or prosecuting attorney why and how Ben tried to hurt Noah. Present evidence and explain motive.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 73, First sentence of 2nd new paragraph Bart scoffs at all this recreation, calling it “a waste of time.”

Experiment with the phrase calling it “a waste of time.” Can it be moved to the beginning of the sentence? (Yes)

Why is a waste of time in quotations? (It is exactly what Bart said.)

Be Bart, and scoff at the pirates’ behavior. What would you say (be sure to include the quote) and do? Consider your tone of voice and facial expressions.


History/Social Studies

Look up Bahamas and Bermuda on a map.



On p. 71 Jake says that the ship’s railing was cut 3/4ths through. How much left of the thickness was still attached?  (1/4th) Draw the saw marks on various widths of papers – always 3/4ths through. Use a ruler to measure.


On p. 73 Jake mentions 4 score ships. How many is that? (a score is 20; 4 score is 4x20 or 80) Make your own math worksheet and solve the answers.

2 score is how many? 6 score is how many? 12 score is how many?



Hello Reader (level 4) Dancing With Manatees by Faith McNulty is a good resource.

Manatees are endangered mammals that live in the water. They live in the Caribbean and off the coast of Florida as well as in the Amazon River and off the coast of India. They are huge animals – on average weighing 1,500 to 1,800 pounds!


For printable materials (PDF)

For online fun – sounds, maze, video

For an article about manatees mistaken for mermaids


How could sailors mistake a manatee for a mermaid? How are they similar? How are they different? Write down your thoughts on the Manatees and Mermaids Venn diagram.



The Fish of the Sea, originally a fisherman’s song.


Come all you young sailormen, listen to me
I'll sing you a song of the fish in the sea,
and it's...

Windy weather boys, stormy weather, boys
When the wind blows we're all together, boys
Blow ye winds westerly, blow ye winds, blow
Jolly sou'wester, boys, steady she goes.

Up jumps the eel with his slippery tail,
Climbs up aloft and reefs the topsail,
and it's...


Then up jumps the shark with his nine rows of teeth
Saying, 'You eat the dough boys, and I'll eat the beef!'
and it's...


Up jumps the lobster with his heavy claws,
Bites the main boom right off by the jaws!
and it's...


Up jumps the halibut, lies flat on the deck
He says, 'Mister Captain, don't step on my neck!'
and it's...


Up jumps the herring, the king of the sea,
Saying, 'All other fishes, now you follow me!'
and it's...


Up jumps the codfish with his chuckle-head,
He runs out up forward and throws out the lead!
and it's...


Up jumps the whale... the largest of all,
'If you want any wind, well, I'll blow ye a squall!'
and it's...

Chorus (twice)



When Ben’s guilt is sure (p. 75), Noah doesn’t chase him and punish him. Why? Is this a godly attitude? Heb. 10:30, 34-39.



Make a sea monster mask:

Lesson 11

Reading Selection

Pp. 76-85; April Fri. 5th – May Sat. 11th


Map of Jake’s Travels

#7 Run into the storm (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound

Pumps p. 84 /37


Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Desert 77 abandon
Remainder 77-78 what is left or remaining
Forfeits 78 give up
Cherish 79 honor, value highly
Stench 79 bad odor
Abruptly 79 immediately, suddenly
Treacherous (review) 81 disloyal
Lash 81 tie
Reserve 84 hold back for special use
Dire 84 serious
Perish 84 die
Catastrophe 84 disaster


Language Arts Writing

Write a paragraph about the Act of Grace – its conditions and its provisions. Then list reasons why some pirates would accept the pardon and why others would not.  For a simpler assignment, use the lapbook shutterfold template, Act of Grace Shutterfold, and make a mini-book.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

From p.80 first sentence of first new paragraph

“Get the anchor ready! Cook, douse the fire!” cried Noah.

How many ways can you rearrange the parts of this sentence to make new sentences and maintain all the same ideas? (For example, “Get the anchor ready!” cried Noah. “Cook, douse the fire!”)

What do the !’s tell you about Noah’s attitude?

What does cried mean? Was he shedding tears as he said this? (no; cry here means to shout)

Why is there a comma after cook? (Noah is talking to the cook.)



The sailors who chose to accept the Act of Grace had to forfeit 1/4 of their silver. How much would be left of their silver? (3/4) Cut out some shapes, and take away the 1/4th  that Jake had to forfeit. Use a ruler to measure if necessary. Jake had 564 coins (p. 68). How much did he have to give up?


According to the story, 10 men wanted to remain pirates and 34 wanted to get the pardon. How many men were on ship total? (10 + 34 = 44)



Study storms at sea.  A good resource is the Hello Reader Wild Weather Hurricanes by Lorraine Jean Hopping.


A hurricane, according to the US Weather Bureau is a wind blowing 74 MPH or faster.  A hurricane spins very fast when it moves across warm water, but it slows and dies away as it reaches land. Many hurricanes begin in the Caribbean, south of the USA and blow toward the north. Some of them turn toward the Gulf of Mexico while others travel up the eastern coast.


The Usborne Book of Science Activities vol. 3 (yellow book) p. 60-61 has experiments with wind that would be applicable to this lesson.



Look at the illustrator’s picture on pages 82-3. Point to and describe three different emotions you see. How did the illustrator show motion? Why do you think that the illustrator made almost half of the picture white, foamy water?



Read Romans 3:23-24 and 1 Timothy 1:12-14. How does God offer us an Act of Grace?



Act of Grace Shutterfold

Lesson 12

Reading Selection

Pp. 85-92; May Sun. 12th – May Wed. 22nd


Map of Jake’s Travels

#8 return to SC and home (see p. 96)


Diagram of the Greyhound



Language Arts Vocabulary

Word Found on Page Definition
Splice 85  to join together by weaving, overlapping or twisting
Founder 86 to fill with water and sink
Grim 87 frightful
Crude 87 roughly made
Mirth 89 joy
Lodgings 89 place to stay, especially temporarily
Yarn (review) 91 tale
Discounted 91  to disregard
Ponder 91 consider, think about
Salvage 91 rescue or save property from waste or destruction
Forthwith 92 without delay
Foresworn 89 given up; renounced

When you read the firstt new paragraph on p. 88, discus what Noah did.  What do we call what Noah did? a bribe.

Language Arts Writing

Option #1: Assume when Jake returns home, although his father is happy to see him, he does not at all approve of his becoming a pirate! In fact his father is humiliated and angry at his son’s decision. Write an explanation to Jake’s father (as if you were Jake), explaining why you did what you did.


Option #2: What if Jake and Uncle Will decide to go salvage the cargo? Write their adventure.


Language Arts Dictation or Copy Work with Grammar Study

p. 88 mid-page Gathering the silver, they cut short their visit.

Who was gathering silver? (Customs searchers are they)

If you move the verbal phrase Gathering the silver to the end of the sentence, is it okay? (No; it’s best to keep modifiers close to what they are describing.)

Read these funny examples

Misplaced: Many dogs are killed by automobiles and trucks roaming unleashed.  (What is roaming unleashed? Cars and trucks or dogs?)

Corrected: Many dogs roaming unleashed are killed by automobiles and trucks.

Misplaced: I found a dollar walking home. (Is the dollar walking home?!)

Corrected: Walking home, I found a dollar.

After fifteen years of being a pirate, the king pardoned Captain Bones.

(Who has been a pirate for 15 years? The king or Captain Bones?)

How should this be fixed?


History/Social Studies

Find Newfoundland on a map.

Study the punishments pirates faced when caught – generally hanging.

See p. 109-111 in the back of the book for examples of specific pirates. What was their end? Where they punished or did they escape?


Choose two of the pirates featured in the back of the book to write a short biographical sketch. Do additional research if necessary.



Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

KIDD ON THE DECK OF THE Adventure Galley  84


This is a portrait of a person – Kidd, a famous pirate. Describe his clothing, posture, and what he is doing.

Now describe the background. Why did the artist chose this background?

What colors stand out the most? Why did the artist choose to make the sash red?

What is the Adventure Galley?

The way Pyle has drawn the pirate, would you want to meet Kidd?

What would you do with this work of art if you owned it?



On p. 88, the crew bribe the customs officials. Read Psalm 26:9-12 and Exodus 23:8.



Make matchbooks for your two pirate biographies.


Complete your mini-book on ships. Use a boat/ship shape book and/or use your child’s drawing of a pirate ship for the cover.  Inside is the Greyhound diagram as well as optional pages of the diagram of the Hispaniola Schooner (from introduction notes).
other graphics you may also want to use
especially nice is the cross-section of a galleon.


Complete Life of a Sailor mini-book. 


Put the completed map of Jake’s travels into the Ship Log mini-book.



For the Lapbooking Component

Examples of Pirate lapbooks

This is from Yahoo Lapbooking Photos Group #3; you must be a member to view this page.

This is from Yahoo Lapbooking Photos Group #4; you must be a member to view this page.

For pirate related graphics

Pirate Graphics in public domain: famous pirates, ships, flags, battle, etc.

“cute” pirate clipart like pirate teddy bears, cartoon ships, etc.

amazing selection of images and art at NY Public Library (search “pirates” for a wealth of old fashioned images and art)

For directions how to make the basic mini-books (PDF)


For Enrichment

As readers, younger children can read Magic Tree House #4 Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne

Older students can read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Unit study on Treasure Island

More about Treasure Island

Free Audio MP3 of Treasure Island


More Websites
Reading passages with comprehension questions – like a worksheet; appropriate for middle school to high school.

Sites with general information about pirates