Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Websites For Learning About Modern & Historical Pirates


With all the recent pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, I thought it might be useful to compile a “The Best…” list that would share resources about these modern-day pirates and their historical ancestors.

I’ve divided the list into those two sections — first, on today’s pirates and, second, on those in the past. The section on those in the past begin with activities that are not necessarily historically accurate, but provide good introductory concepts and vocabulary to ELL’s.

Here are my picks for The Best Websites For Learning About Modern & Historical Pirates:


The Pirates Of Somalia is a slideshow from The New York Times.

The Brazen Pirates of Somalia is a slideshow from TIME Magazine.

The Boston Globe’s Big Picture has a series of photos of recent acts of piracy.

Breaking News English has a lesson that provides audio support for the text titled Indian navy sinks Somali pirate ship.

The Wall Street Journal has an interactive graphic detailing recent pirate attacks.

Here’s a video from the Wall Street Journal about the recent pirate attack on a U.S. ship, and an interactive timeline from the Guardian newspaper about how it happened.

Dramatic Pirate Hostage Rescues is a slideshow from TIME Magazine highlighting U.S. and French rescues of people captured by Somali pirates.

Crew Reunites With Families is a slideshow from the Wall Street Journal.

Rescued Captain Returns Home is a series of photos from The Sacramento Bee.

A Rare Look at the Pirates is an ABC News video.

CNN has a number of videos related to modern pirates.

“Anti-Piracy Weapons” is an infographic showing how ships are preparing to prevent pirate attacks.

“Maritime Piracy” is an interactive from The Associated Press.


Here’s a talking story from the British Council about a Treasure Map that doesn’t really talk about pirates in the historical sense, but might be a good introduction to ELL’s about pirates.

The British Council has a Pirate Song that would do the same thing.

Here’s an introductory exercise about words that would be good to know when learning about pirates.

The British Council also has a quiz about pirates.

Here’s another pirate quiz — this time from the CBBC Newsround.

Do the Pirate Song activity by Renee Maufroid.

The History Channel has a video on Pirate Fighting Tools.

A video from ABC News shows modern treasure hunters diving for gold on an old pirate shipwreck.

Here’s another video about the ship. This one is from National Geographic.

And go to the Field Museum to learn more about pirates and that same pirate ship where treasure hunters are diving. It includes an interactive.

National Geographic has a site where it tells about members of the crew on that same ship.

Learn about Blackbeard the Pirate at this National Geographic site.

‘Blackbeard’s Ship’ Found off U.S. Coast is a video from ABC News.

Here’s a Pirate Interactive Scavenger Hunt from Mr. Nussbaum’s site.

At the great site Awesome Stories you can read about the real-life Pirates of the Caribbean.  If you register for the site (free), I believe it will provide audio support for the text.

Learn about the Barbary Wars in the early 1800’s when the U.S. fought pirates. Here’s a video from How Stuff Works about the conflict.

Even though piracy is a serious matter — especially today — there are some lighthearted online learning activities that use a pirate atmosphere.

Pirate Challenge, from the University of Cambridge, is a game designed to teach geography.

A Pirate’s Life is an infographic from The Sun-Sentinel.

“Mapping History’s Pirates” is an interactive from the Wall Street Journal on the…history of piracy.

Design a pirate, write a message, and have him deliver it in pirate talk at this site.

As always, feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at all the previous over 200 “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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