School Kids and Shanties

I’m afraid that I cannot bring a tall ship into your school but your students and I can re-create the feelings aboard ship as the sailors sang the shanties to lighten the load of the physical labor. The kids in the picture are hauling on a halyard, a rope to raise or lower a yard or sail. When they work together the work is light. When they work individually the work is much harder-a great lesson to teach teamwork!

One of the songs I use is “Strike the Bell” a ballad used as a pump or windlass shantey. “Strike the bell, second mate! Let us go below. Look ye well to windward and you’ll see it’s going to blow. Look at the glass and you see that it has fell and we wish that you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell!” – The crew has been working at the pumps for some time and as the weather turns bad they may have to stay on deck and shorten sail-climb aloft in the rain (or sleet) and take in the sails. If the second mate strikes the bell, the watch changes and the starboard watch comes on deck and takes over the work-so, Strike the Bell!

I’be written a parody for kids – “Strike the bell, dear principal and let us all go home! We’ve done our math and science and we’ve even read a poem. Though it’s only ten o’clock, none of us will tell, so we’re begging you, dear principal, please strike, strike the bell!”peking-halyard

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