#NIStlap Day 2015 – The Power of #TLAP

So a year or two ago I read the book “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess.  It is an absolutely incredible book that really talks about teaching passionately and engaging all students.

Then a little while after, I heard about a principal in Ohio, Ryan McLane, took that concept and put on a “Teach Like a Pirate” day at his school.  It was all based under the premise, “If students had to pay $1 to attend your class, would they?”


Guys Time (learning about famous men who have dealt with a lot and persevered)

So I knew with my new campus I was dying to do something like this.  I had mentioned it at the beginning of the year, but things got away from me.  Then a few weeks ago 3 of my AMAZING teachers came to my office and brought it back up and wanted us to still do it!  So we ran with it.

Wiffle Ball

Yesterday we did our very first #NIStlap Day!

Theatre Make-Up (Scars and Bruises)
Making Puppets

What is it?  What does it look like?

Well, for the last two weeks, every staff member has been filling in a google spreadsheet with what they wanted to teach. Only rule?  Choose something you love and are passionate about that you wanna share with kids.  And we couldn’t have anything double up.

History of Dance (yes they danced after this photo haha)

After all the staff (IAs and Specials Teachers included) selected their session topics, I created a schedule of sessions and where they would be.


Since this was our first year doing this, we all decided to only do half a day of TLAP so we could work out all the kinks and be ready next year for a full day.

Horse Halters and Paracord Bracelets

We built up anticipation in the kids, but didn’t tell them any sessions until the day before.


The day before each student got a Spreadsheet that had every staff member, their session title, and location.  We also made poster sized copies of the session tiles and locations and placed it around school.

Fortune Telling

On the morning of, teachers stepped out into the hall, and students were released to go to whatever session they wanted.  You would think it would be mayhem releasing 350 kids into the hall at one time.


But you know what?  It wasn’t!

No Sew Blankets

Each session had a limit of 20 students (while some more complicated sessions had smaller limits).  So once a session had its limit, a “Session Full” sign was placed on the door.

Jewelry Making
Cookie Mining

Each session lasted 30 min and then I would come on the announcements and release students to their next session.

Skateboarding 101
Girls Day! Nails, Hair, Makeup

Each student was able to attend 4 total sessions that morning.

No Bake Treats
Nursing, What’s in Your Heart!

I can’t even describe what it was like there.  The energy was palpable.  It was incredibly invigorating and exciting to watch all the teachers having fun and the students were really having a blast.

Making Bouncy Balls

Were there some teachers who didn’t have kids show up some sessions. Yes!  And those teachers just jumped into another teachers session and participated like a kid.  And actually one of the biggest asks for next year was that teachers were given one session off to go see others!

Making Ice Cream

I can’t wait to do this again next year, but have it be a full day event.  And what better way to end our school year as well!  Since this day was also our last full day of school!


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