Schools on the Frontier

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1 release dates: September (12) 2012 Universal Uclick Pioneer Children Schools on the Frontier Are you excited about using the computers at school, checking out books at the school library or playing sports? School was much different for pioneer kids in the late 1800s. Of course, there were no computers. Even paper and books were scarce on the frontier. There were no sports teams. Instead, school activities included chores such as chopping wood. The Mini Page talked with an expert at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island, Neb., to learn more about pioneer schools. One-room schools Few places had kindergarten. Kids started first grade when they were about 5 or 6 years old. Students usually stopped going to school after the eighth grade. On the frontier, children from ages 6 to 14 would all go to class together in the same room. By the time they graduated, they had probably heard every grade s lectures year after year. By graduation, they d know the subjects backward and forward. photo courtesy Library of Congress A teacher and students pose in front of a school in Hecla, Mont., in Flurry of activity A teacher might teach first-graders, then give them a project to work on. While the first-graders worked, the teacher would start instructing fourthgraders. At the same time, advanced pupils might be helping younger kids. There may not have been a desk for each student, so kids sat on benches. When they had writing or art lessons, they d move to desks. They might get up to help a younger student. They could move around at recess too. Before class Before school even started, students put in hours of work. They began each day by doing chores at home. Girls would help their mothers prepare breakfast and clean up. Boys might help feed the animals or chop wood. After breakfast, they d probably walk to school, which might be three to five miles away. In warm weather, they would usually walk barefoot. Although they had shoes, most kids wore them only in the winter. Going barefoot was more comfortable. Back then, there were no left and right shoes. The shoes would form to the feet after time, but breaking in new shoes was painful. Sometimes kids would get to ride a pony to school. Once at school, students had more chores. Kids as young as third-graders might help chop the wood for the stove, pump water for the washbasin or sweep the floor.

2 36-2 (12); release dates: September 8-14 Learning the Hard Way Lessons Paper was expensive, so kids did most of their lessons on chalkboards. Books cost a lot too. Schools did not provide textbooks. They might have a dictionary and a Bible. Kids had to buy their own books or use ones passed down from older kids. Students followed a strict formula for answering questions. For example, Suzie would be sitting straight in her desk with her hand up. When the teacher called on her, she The McGuffey Reader was the main reading textbook. There were different levels of the Reader, all with stories, poems, plays and spelling words. would move her legs to the aisle at the side of her seat. She d stand up, then she d turn to face the teacher. Only then would she answer. Most teachers seated the younger children closer to the stove, with the oldest kids sitting the farthest away. When the stove was in the front of the schoolroom, the youngest kids would sit up front. When the stove was in the center, the younger kids would sit close to the sides, front and back of the stove. This school was built in the 1870s in Nebraska. It is now at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. School years Girls were usually more educated than boys because boys would leave school in the spring to help with the planting and in the fall to help with the harvest. When the boys came back, the girls would have moved ahead. Girls might graduate at age 13 or 14. Boys might be 18 when they graduated. Many boys quit school early to earn money. Sometimes, older girls might have to quit school to help with younger siblings at home. Teachers After eighth grade, students could train to be a teacher. Training would take only six to 12 months. New teachers could be as young as 15. They might be teaching students who were older and bigger. They often boarded with students families, sometimes even sharing a room with a student. Ready Resources The Mini Page provides ideas for websites, books or other resources that will help you learn more about this week s topics. On the Web: nebraskastudies.org/0500/stories/0501_0207.html pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/frontierlife/essay10.html nps.gov/ozar/historyculture/one-room-schools-in-the-ozarks.htm At the library: Rachel s Journal: The Story of a Pioneer Girl by Marissa Moss The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood Pioneer Schools try n find Words that remind us of pioneer schools are hidden in the block below. Some words are hidden backward or diagonally. See if you can find: BENCH, BLACKBOARD, BOOKS, CHOP, CHORES, DESKS, DISCIPLINE, FRONTIER, HORSE, LUNCH, ONE, NOSE, PAIL, PAPER, PIONEER, READER, RECESS, ROOM, SCHOOL, STUDENT, TEACHER, WOOD. Do you walk or ride to school? Basset Brown The News Hound s P R E I T N O R F D N M O O R C A L O O H C S P B E O V P P R H I L S K O O B A E S S K I E C O L M E S R O H P N K E O C W H R R R E D A E R E C S N E O O O E T N E D U T S R H E S O N K P S V R E H C A E T E S D E M D R A O B K C A L B R H C N U L E N I L P I C S I D

3 Mini Spy... Mini Spy and Basset Brown are ready for a day at their pioneer school. See if you can find: word MINI elephant strawberry chicken number 7 ladder kite letter D dragon letter A tooth snake cooking pot car frog key number 2 pencil banana carrot ruler photo by Sharon Harris 36-3 (12); release dates: September 8-14 Rookie Cookie s Recipe Spicy Peanutty Dip You ll need: 1/2 cup organic peanut butter (no sugar) 1/2 cup very hot water 2 tablespoons light soy sauce 1 tablespoon cider vinegar 3 small garlic cloves What to do: 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped 11/2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 1. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add hot water and stir constantly until well-blended. 2. Add soy sauce and vinegar and continue to stir until mixed well. 3. Add all other ingredients and stir to blend. 4. Cover and refrigerate. 5. Serve at room temperature as a dip with fresh vegetables. You will need an adult s help with this recipe. Meet Melissa Green Melissa Green is a singer and songwriter. Her latest album is Sing Loud! Actress and singer Brooke Shields joins Melissa for duets on this album. Melissa was teaching at a preschool in New York City when she began singing with the kids. She worked on her guitar skills and began writing and recording songs. She became the school s music teacher. Melissa grew up in Stratford, Conn., where she loved to play kickball and ride bikes. She and her older sister made movies with their family s video camera, and she took dance classes. When she was in sixth grade, she got the role of Wendy in a local production of the musical play Peter Pan. She later earned other singing roles in plays. After college, Melissa took acting classes in New York City. She now teaches music classes in Los Angeles. Besides singing and dancing, she loves to cook and bake. The Mini Page Guide to the Constitution The popular nine-part series on the Constitution, written in collaboration with the National Archives, is now packaged as a colorful 32-page softcover book. The series covers: the preamble, the seven articles and 27 amendments the big ideas of the document the history of its making and the signers Perfect for classroom use! To order, send $9.95 plus $3.50 postage and handling for each copy. Send check or money order (U.S. funds only) payable to: Andrews McMeel Universal, P.O. Box 6814, Leawood, KS or call toll-free Please send copies of The Mini Page Guide to the Constitution (Item # ) at $13.45 each, total cost. (Bulk discount information available upon request.) Name: Address: City: State: Zip: All the following jokes have something in common. Can you guess the common theme or category? Stanley: How does a scarecrow drink milk? Seamus: Through straws! Sol: What do scarecrows say to greet each other? Suni: Hay, friend! Steve: Why don t scarecrows enjoy parties? Samantha: Because they are all stuffed shirts!

4 36-4 (12); release dates: September 8-14 School lunches Students brought their own lunches to school. Usually, they d bring whatever was left over from breakfast or supper the night before. A favorite meal was a bacon grease sandwich. Students would take a thick slice of homemade bread and soak it in bacon grease. Or they might slather bread with homemade butter or jelly. Sometimes, they would bring a can of milk or leftover soup. If they were lucky, they might have boiled eggs or cold fried chicken. One common lunch was leftover oatmeal. Kids would let oatmeal from the day before thicken, slice it and fry it in butter. It would taste something like a cracker. In warm months, students would leave their lunches in the cloakroom. In the winter, they might store their lunches near the wood stove in the classroom. A Day in School photo courtesy Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer Most kids brought their lunches in tin cans that had held something else, such as crackers or tobacco. The Mini Page thanks Renae Hunt, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Neb., for help with this issue. Look through your newspaper for ads, photos and stories that show how different schools are today than they were in pioneer times. Kids who could afford it ordered fancy lunch boxes from catalogs. Goody Two-Shoes Kids whose families had more money may have had special lunch pails. The bottom of these pails would hold sandwiches, with an upper part for lemonade or milk, and a cap they could use for a cup. The kids who carried these lunch pails were called goody two-shoes * because they were the only students who could afford to buy the pails and two new, comfortable shoes each year. *Goody Two-Shoes is the character in a book written in the 1700s. The school-day schedule might be put on the blackboard at the beginning of the year. In the health inspection, teachers would check kids hands and fingernails for cleanliness, to see if they d washed behind their ears, and for an overall clean appearance and a good smell. Discipline Parents backed up the teachers when a student misbehaved. A student might face punishment at school and then at home too. When kids got into trouble, they usually had to stay after school to clean the blackboards or chop more wood. They might have to write a passage 100 times. Girls and boys usually sat in different sections. One punishment might be to send a boy to sit with the girls or a girl to sit with the boys. This was very embarrassing to kids of that time. Sometimes students were made to sit on a stool and wear a pointed hat called a dunce cap. In one punishment, the child had to face the blackboard. The teacher drew a circle about four inches above the kid s nose. The child had to stand on tiptoes with his or her nose in the circle, without moving. They might have to stand that way for 10 minutes for a first offense and 20 minutes for a second offense. Most teachers did not give physical punishments. When they did, they could spank the child, sometimes with a paddle or a switch. Teachers might rap kids knuckles with a ruler or stick. The Mini Page Staff Betty Debnam - Founding Editor and Editor at Large Lisa Tarry - Managing Editor Lucy Lien - Associate Editor Wendy Daley - Artist Next week, The Mini Page is about the introduction of the Emancipation Proclamation.

5 Read about pioneer schools in photo courtesy Library of Congress Distributed by Universal Uclick Appearing in your newspaper on. from The Mini Page 2012 Universal Uclick (Note to Editor: Above is cameraready, one column-by-3 1 /2-inch ad promoting Issue 36.) release dates: September (12) Standards Spotlight: Schools on the Frontier Mini Page activities meet many state and national educational standards. Each week we identify standards that relate to The Mini Page s content and offer activities that will help your students reach them. This week s standard: Students understand that studying the past makes it possible to understand the human story across time. (Social Studies: Time, Continuity and Change) Activities: 1. Draw a large backpack. On your drawing, paste newspaper pictures of items you take to school in your backpack. 2. Draw five things pioneer students used in their schools. Next to each item, paste a newspaper picture of something you use in school for the same purpose. 3. Find five non-electronic items in your newspaper that would have made school easier for pioneer children. 4. How did pioneer students demonstrate these values: (a) resourcefulness, (b) dedication, (c) cooperation and (d) caring? 5. Write about the strengths of pioneer schools and of modern schools. (standards by Dr. Sherrye D. Garrett, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) Supersport: Montee Ball Height: 5-11 Weight: 212 Hometown: Wentzville, Mo. Give the football to Ball. That s what the Wisconsin Badgers do a lot, and they get remarkable results. Going into this season, the senior running back has scored 51 touchdowns and needs 18 more to set the Division I college record for career TDs. That s well within the Badger star s reach. Last fall, Ball tied the NCAA single-season record with 39 touchdowns and led the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards. His performance helped Wisconsin win the Big Ten title and earn its second straight Rose Bowl berth. This is nothing new. At Timberland (Mo.) High, Ball scored 107 touchdowns and earned academic recognition as well. A sociology major at Wisconsin, his outside interests include basketball and reading. As for traveling, trips to the end zone are what Ball seems to enjoy the most. (Note to Editor: Above is the Standards for Issue 36.) (Note to Editor: Above is copy block for Page 3, Issue 36, to be used in place of ad if desired.)

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