For the past two days I have been teaching my second graders about schools in the late 1800’s. We have been learning about one-room schoolhouses in preparation for a field trip to a local one-room schoolhouse later in the year. My students were surprised about a number of things we have learned about schools during this time in history.
To say they were shocked about the discipline practices and seeing a student sitting in the corner wearing a Dunce Cap, would be an understatement. They declared,”That’s not fair!” when they learned a teacher in the 1800’s couldn’t be married. “You couldn’t be our teacher, could you?”
“No,” I replied, “I couldn’t.”
We continued exploring schools in the 1800’s today and read about school supplies. We learned about slates, inkwells and Mcguffey Readers. While I don’t own a Mcguffey Reader, I do have some other school supplies from the late 1800’s that came from my husband’s family farm. I shared some readers, an arithmetic book, an English book and two penmanship books. The penmanship books are my favorite part of this collection because they belong to actual family members whose names are on the front. They also include the teachers’ names along with the dates of 1895 and 1897. The penmanship books are falling apart but the handwriting of these family members preserved in the yellowed pages are family treasures.
My students oohed and ahed has I shared these precious items that I received from my husband’s grandmother. As I was returning the materials to my desk before recess, one of my students came over to me and asked, “Do you have more books?” This one simple question communicated so much from this student. He has only been in this country since August and, while he has learned a great deal of English in a short period of time, he very rarely speaks in a complete sentences. I knew our time exploring these gifts from the past was more than just a fun activity today.
My Three Positives in Memory of Tim
1. I didn’t need to wear my coat to go to my car this afternoon.
2. I received a nice note today.
3. I got a workout in this afternoon.