September 12, 2019

Get Ready for International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Here's a Pirate-Themed Sign Language Sing-Along Lesson Plan

Hi friends! I’ve been busy, busy, busy developing resources to celebrate the upcoming release of my two latest picture books: Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? and Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty? Since International Talk Like a Pirate Day is just around the corner, (it's September 19th, every year), I wanted to be sure you have some fun (and educational) lesson plans in hand!

Although these new books don’t incorporate sign language like my Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series, in my experience, most books can be enriched with sign language with just a little bit of advanced planning. You can find several examples and resources here, including a detailed sign language story time lesson plan for folks who are interested in some comic relief while toilet training, and a more general potty-themed sign language story time lesson plan.

Given the titles of my books, I fully anticipate they will appeal to folks in the potty-training age and stage, but they're more accurately categorized as potty-humor books, vs. potty-training books. They are geared for young readers ages 3-8, though I suspect they will bring out the inner-comedian in potty humorists of all ages. Case in point: here is one of the funny photos I received from author, Stephanie Shaw, soon after she received her books via pre-order:

Image Source: Author Stephanie Shaw

The caption Stephanie sent along with this photo: "It's not a strain to love these new books." Bah-ha-ha!!! That cracks me up!

Leaning into the humorous aspects of these books, over the past couple of months, I had the unique opportunity to work with two different musicians to create a catchy children’s song for each book. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the songs turned out!

Kids of all ages love to sing and sign AND they love to laugh. Singing and signing along with these silly songs creates a perfect opportunity to incorporate all three of these fun activities.

I shared resources for singing and signing along with the Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty? song and some of the backstory about my experience working with singer, songwriter, and performing musician, Marshall Mitchell, on a recent guest post on Kathy MacMillan’s Stories By Hand blog.

For the Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? song, I worked with Annie Lynn, AnnieBirdd Music, LLC. Here is a fun photo of Annie Lynn's studio, with performer, Alexander Wilczewski, when our Pirate song was being recorded:

Image Source: AnnieBirdd Music, LLC

You can read the story of how Annie and I met and developed a friendship on Tara Lazar's blog.

Annie licenses her curriculum-based songs for schools, homeschoolers, choirs, radio, TV, etc. More recently, she has started working with members of the kidlit community to bring children’s literature to life through music. She creates theme songs and karaoke-style sing-along songs that authors can use for school visits, and she creates custom songs for book trailers, like the song she created for the Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? book trailer, which was delightfully animated by illustrator, Jacob Souva:

I’ve provided the song lyrics for Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? below, noting in bold some of the words you might consider signing along with. TIP: Don’t feel pressured to sign more words than you are comfortable with. It’s perfectly okay to start by signing only one or two key words, (for example, where or potty) that repeat throughout the song. As your sign language vocabulary (and your confidence) develops and grows, you can add more signs each time you sing. Rest assured, kids are likely to ask you to repeat the song again and again!

Here are the lyrics:

Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?
Lyrics by Dawn Prochovnic
Music written and performed by AnnieBirdd Music, LLC, with Annie Lynn, Walt Wilczewski, and Chris Arms, and starring Red Beard The Pirate, a.k.a. Alexander Wilczewski

(These waves are makin’ me a wee bit uncomfortable!)   

Where does a pirate go potty?

Explorin’ from shoreline to sea.

Where does a pirate go potty?

The pirate who’s wonderin’ is me!

In the sand?


In a cave?


In a tidepool?

That’s NOT a good spot!

Off a pier?


Bottoms up!


Past the lighthouse?

Definitely not!

Where does a pirate go potty?

Blimey, I’m ready to burst!

Where does a pirate go potty?

Waitin’ too long is the worst!

Where does a pirate go potty?

Explorin’ from shoreline to sea.

Where does a pirate go potty?

The pirate who’s wonderin’ is me!

Avast, me hearties!

The pirate whose wonderin’ is me

Here are links to some reputable video-based resources for the selected ASL vocabulary words, along with some brief reminder notes to help jog your memory as you are learning the signs:

Burst: (Hands make exploding motion)
Explore: (Palm-down “V” handshapes looks/explores)
Me: (Point to self)
No! (Quickly press first two fingers to thumb)
Not: (Thumb brushes chin)
Oh! (Fist brushes/punches other palm)
Pirate: (Boat + Eye Patch)
Potty/Toilet: (The “T” handshape wiggles)
Uncomfortable: (Not + Comfortable,  hands brush across each other)
Wait: (Palms up, fingers wiggle)
Where: (Pointer finger looks/searches)

Note: The sign for potty/toilet (the noun) and the sign for "to use" the potty/toilet (the verb) are the same.

As I mentioned above, I worked with Annie Lynn of AnnieBirdd Music, LLC for the Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? song. Annie Lynn has many award-winning songs about more serious topics such as anti-bullying and STEM-related topics such as the climate crisis. You can learn more about Annie and her work here. If you’re interested in hearing more of Annie Lynn’s music, purchasing and/or licensing her music for personal and/or professional use, or collaborating with Annie to create music for your own creative/educational projects, find out more here.

And, if you loved the book trailer for Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?  check out the book trailer for  Where Does A Cowgirl Go Potty? , too!

Want an early release copy of Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? Comment below, and/or share this post on social media, and tag me @DawnProchovnicAuthor (FB) / @DawnProchovnic (Twitter) for chances to win. I have two early release copies along with classroom sets of bookmarks to share. I’ll give them away sometime after International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Pssst....if you live in the Portland, Oregon area, I'll be doing a special Pirate Party story time at Green Bean Books at 3:30 pm on Thursday, September 19, 2019 to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'd love to see you there!

Last but not least, if you're looking for other pirate-themed (and cowgirl and potty-themed) lesson plans and resources, click here, and if you'd like me to visit your bookstore, library, school, or learning community, get in touch via the contact form at the left, or by leaving a comment below or on social media.


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