Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Piece of Local History

Remember the school house at the end of one of our recent hikes? After two years of good intentions, we actually got to see inside. We scheduled a hike there last Sunday--one of only a few afternoons a year that it's open. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put something on the calendar.

The one room school was built in 1893 and served the surrounding rural, farming area. Eventually, they started to bus kids to schools in town and closed it in 1935. BTW, the buses were horse drawn buggies. At the time of restoration, they were able to get several oral histories of what the school was like in the 1920's and the school was restored to that time period.

Two very knowledgeable volunteers led the informal tour. You could tell that they were passionate about history and made the tour interesting for both the young and old. They were especially good with the kids who were fascinated with the chalk board and the school bell. We enjoyed not only learning about the school, but the history of the surrounding area also.

Here are a few pictures of our visit.

The school was nicknamed the Froggy Hollow School because of all the frogs you could hear from the creek in front of the school. The school also served as a community center. 


The school had to have a minimum of 12 pupils for the county to support it. Attendance was usually somewhere between 20--30 students which would have made this room a lot more crowded than what you see here.


Typical school day. What I found interesting was this was the same exact recess schedule I had in first grade. 


If you can read through the reflections, you see that this pledge is different than the one we say today. You don't see the "under God" which is currently getting a lot of buzz, but there was another change that I hadn't realized.  In 1923 "my flag" changed to "the flag of United States of America" so it would not be confusing to the large influx of immigrants. Actually, the pledge has fairly complex history, that's worth a read if you're interested in that kind of thing.



Unlike today, learning cursive writing was an important lesson. When the students were working on that, the teaches blocked the windows on one side of the room so the hand with the pencil in it (always the right one) would not cast a shadow on the paper. That way you could see clearly to do your best. 

During this time period, there were separate schools for the blacks and whites. The kids eyes got big as the guide told them that when books became tattered in the white schools, they were sent to the black schools for their textbooks.


Does anyone else remember one of these? The teacher used it to draw lines on the blackboard for music and writing lessons.


We had a nice afternoon with a pleasant walk and an interesting visit to the school. However, it did feel a little strange to tour a school from almost a century ago and find some things there that I also had in school. I know I get older every year, but I'm not quite that old yet. :)




20 comments:

  1. I thought I was coming late to the party (just got back from camping) but you wrote this today. :) What a fun tour. Yes, I do remember the 5-piece chalk line guide (what is it called, anyway?). I don't remember my recess schedule from elementary school, but I suspect it was similar--I do recall having a short morning and afternoon recess, with a longer lunchtime one. During the winter, I have to think that the 15 minute break was a complete hassle--about the time you would get kids into their snow gear, it would be time for them to take it off again. I am in favor of more recesses, though--the people who make decisions to cut recess aren't doing kids any favors--play is important! The school looks to be beautifully maintained and a fascinating way to learn about history. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I can't seem to catch up with things enough to do more regular posting, so you haven't missed anything here. I did a brief look to see what the chalk line drawer is called and there are various variations on "wooden chalk line drawing tool." Not a very exotic name, is it?

      While I do remember the times of recess, I don't remember putting on my coat, etc. for it. Maybe little kids are just oblivious to those things, but I bet the teachers weren't.

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  2. Oh... the music staff chalk thing brings back memories! So, you said the kids were fascinated by the chalk board. Does that mean they don't have chalk boards in classrooms anymore?

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    1. I think some classrooms still have them, but a lot of them have dry erase boards. At this school, as well as the big board in the front, there were individual slates at the desks that the kids enjoyed.

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    2. Teachers are also using their computers/phones and having the images projected onto the screens or walls. It's a whole new world out there ...

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  3. This was a fun visit, thanks for sharing it with us!

    In some cases, they don't even have erase boards anymore, sometimes they have those interactive boards, I can't remember what they're called, but the teacher uses a tablet and it projects on the board. My youngest son's elementary school had those at one point.

    I'm turning 50 this year. We had chalk boards all the way through high school! Our school day, in elementary school, started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m. We had a 30 min recess at 10 a.m. and another one at about 2:00 or 2:30 as well! But we had 2 hours for lunch :) It also snowed and was cold, we didn't wear snow suits. We just had boots, pants and winter jackets (whatever our parents could afford and my mom was poor so our jackets and boots were never warm enough) and were expected to run around. I preferred reading and I would always get in trouble because I'd be sitting under the awning reading a book, when the teachers wanted us to be getting exercise. Well, it's not fun when they're MAKING you. At lunchtime, those of us who ate at the school were in the lunchroom for the 30 minutes it took to eat but otherwise we had to be outside for the remaining 90 minutes. I froze my tush and my feet off so much... which is why I will never leave Florida, now, ha. A lot of kids went home for lunch.

    I remember having chalk eraser duty after school, I had to go beat the erasers against the wall surrounding our school yard. Fun!

    In France we didn't (don't?) recite any pledge. There isn't one.

    It's sad to think that kids were segregated by race and that the kids in the black schools got the worst of everything. My books were sometimes tattered too as they were passed on for several years (you could tell because there was a sticker on the front with the names of the past students who had been issued the same book). We would cover them with brown paper at the beginning of the school year to try to protect them as much as possible.

    It feels like it was so long ago now that I see almost the same setting in museums, lol. Now my son can take his laptop to class and take notes on it or on his phone. Back then no one had computers at home yet and we surely didn't have the internet. I'm not sure if I regret that we didn't or not.

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    1. A 2 hour recess was a long time of unstructured play--especially when it was cold outside. Did you have any kind of PE class? By the time I got to 7th grade, the morning and afternoon recesses were gone, but we had PE.

      Also, I was in a very poor school district and we didn't get issued any books. Our parents had to buy them all and that was a big financial burden for many including my parents with four kids. We also covered them with brown paper bag covers.

      I'm going to have to ask around and see how much they use interactive boards around here.

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    2. We only had recess in elementary school. I don't recall having P.E. in elementary school but we did have swimming (they'd bus us to the municipal pool) part of the year so we must have had some other activity such as soccer or something the rest of the year but I can't remember. Once we started middle school there was no more recess (but we had 2-hour lunches through high school during which we had to remain outside once the eating was done) and we had P.E. in a gym (climbing rope, balancing beam, all that jazz, I HATED it!) and things like handball and basketball since we played that indoors in the gym. I don't recall having P.E. outdoors but my middle school was urban (in the center of town, located in very old buildings) and didn't have a P.E. field. It was only once a week.

      In high school we had P.E. (track, handball, gymnastics, basketball) as a period but only once a week as well. My high school did have a track and some outdoor basketball courts and I think a soccer field.

      In middle school, my last math teacher used to throw the chalks at us when we got our answers wrong. LOL. I hate math, I wonder why...

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  4. This is a great post! I love that I got to travel and learn with you. Thank you for sharing this!
    Side note: I was at the Galleria one day not too long ago when a girl (12 ish) asked me if I could read cursive. Her mom had written a list of things for her to look at (Her mom was in another store buying something) and she couldn't read one word. Whoever thought cursive would be a another language?

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    1. That's an almost unbelievable story. I know they don't formally teach cursive, but not being able to read it! That just doesn't seem right. I have read studies about how important the act of learning cursive is important for brain development even if the kids don't use it regularly. Somehow, I don't think all of the thumb action is doing the same thing, but I'm no expert. I'm just someone remembering the good ole days. :)

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    2. I absolutely believe it. Schools don't teach cursive anymore for the most part and if you don't learn how to write it, you cannot read it. It's like reading hieroglyphs, apparently. When I was homeschooling Youngest Son (through 2nd grade) I insisted on teaching him cursive. But he went to a public school in 3rd grade where they didn't teach it and he forgot it. He couldn't read anything in cursive at all! I sent him to a different school for 4-5th grade where they did teach cursive, and so he was able to learn again. This thread is making me think that I need to test him to see if he still can read it! The saddest part is that so many of our historical documents were written in cursive. Those people who don't know how to read this are missing out on so much. It's really sad.

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    3. My husband and I were talking about all the historical documents also. Change is never simple.

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  5. Argh! I just lost a comment I made! I'll try to give a condensed version.

    There is a lot of science behind using cursive and brain development. The more body systems you use when learning a new task (visual, sensory, motor, etc.), the better you will learn it and the more likely you are to remember it. It's important to keep up with the times (computers and so on are definitely an integral part of our world), but I'm not sure the people in charge of education always make the wisest choices for helping kids learn. My kids (the youngest will be in sixth grade this fall) did learn cursive in 3rd grade, which I was pleased about. Unfortunately, in Michigan at least, grammar is not officially taught.

    One of the things I have noticed when I have volunteered is that when the kids use chromebooks for their writing skills, they become reliant on spellcheck and grammar check (I especially noticed it with the kids who struggled to learn). I am concerned that we are raising a generation of kids who won't learn to problem-solve for themselves but will instead rely on Google or spellcheck or whatever to do their thinking for them. And that's the end of my soapbox!

    Nathalie, you would probably find that recess time has improved over the years--at least it has in our district. We have a "buddy bench" and if a child needs someone to play with, he or she sits on it and the other kids have been taught to observe this and include them in their play. My daughter was a student leader this past year, and part of her duties involved observing the playground for loners and to approach them and play with them. It was good for her to learn to be more sensitive--a win-win on both sides!

    I hated gym when I was a kid--again, I think it's gotten better. There is more variety in the activities and I haven't heard about the horrible system where kids are allowed to pick out their teams--since I was a klutz, I was always one of the last ones chosen. In high school, I took 4 years of marching band to get out of my PE credit. :)

    There is my not-so-condensed comment! I'll try to avoid losing this one!

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    1. What's great about the blog community is the variety of people who bring their experiences and expertise to the conversation. You are better qualified than most of us to understand writing and brain development. Thank's for confirming that it's important with your educated background.

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    2. Grammar isn't taught here either. When my son started French back in May, I was telling him about articles and adjectives, etc. and he had a blank look on his face. I know that they learned the parts of speech in elementary school, but they just mention it and then move on and never get back to it, I guess, like so many things these days. Kids nowadays are required to study more and more subjects but they seem to know less and less, IMO. Anyhoo, I just asked him whether he can still read cursive, expecting him to say "of course!" and he said "nope". Mind blown, I guess I just assumed that since they did work on it in elementary school, that he would now have that in his memory banks, but it's like everything, if you don't use it, you lose it!

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    3. My kids weren't taught grammar either although some teachers did sneak in some here and there when they could. I'm pleased to say that they have at least a decent grasp of it.

      What's scary about it all is that the younger teachers teaching now did not study it in school either.

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  6. My mother used that thing to make lines on the board for writing, and taught grammar, and a host of other things that appear to be sadly neglected today...Nice photos.

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    1. Oh, the good old days. There were definitely some good things about them like the things your mother taught.

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  7. I remember those! Very cool traipse through the past :o)

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    1. I see that the line drawer is still being sold today, so I guess a lot of us of various ages remember those.

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What do you think?