Our Own Private Pirate Island

I wanted to add my reflection to the lesson, as a follow up to my post” Map skills and the SmartBoard” with 2nd graders from a few days ago.

As one of the activities for their maps and globe unit, 2nd graders worked collaboratively by creating an imaginary island according to specific directions.

Directions were:

  1. Draw a Compass Rose
  2. Draw an island
  3. Draw an Ocean around the island
  4. There is a mountain range on the East side of the island
  5. A river running from the mountains West towards the Ocean
  6. Draw a small lake in the South of the island
  7. There is a pirate ship anchored off the Northwest shores of the island
  8. A pod of dolphins is swimming from the North towards the pirate ship
  9. 5 palm trees are found in the North of the island
  10. A princess is hiding to the East of the palm trees
  11. A treasure is hidden in the Southern part of the mountain range
  12. 6 pirates have split into two groups and are searching across the island for the treasure
  13. The queen’s ship is approaching the island from the North to rescue her daughter

Here is the screenshot of the completed island.


After the map was created, I re-told the story, taking care to include as many times as possible the cardinal directions in relationship to the symbols. I paused in my story to make sure that students were following me on the map and asked them to supply the direction a character in the story was going next.

Ex. “…So, the princess was running (North) towards the beach, where her mother’s ship was approaching….”

Many skills were addressed in this activity, such as :

  • following directions,
  • cardinal directions
  • symbols and visual representation,
  • collaboration
  • retelling of a story from a map

Although some children were getting antsy, while waiting for their turn to come up to draw or drag and drop the next step, everyone seemed to be engaged when I retold the story. The classroom teacher con further extend the story by asking students  to write the story about the pirate island and the princess’ rescue down on paper as homework.

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