Take Your Class to a Day in a One-Room School

19th century teacher sitting at desk
Sarah at Teacher Desk in Stone Academy – Solon, Iowa

Every spring and fall I work with the Johnson County (IA) Historical Society to put together an opportunity for schools in the area to step back in time. Classes come on a field trip to take their students back to 1876.

One-Room School in Coralville, Iowa

Coralville’s one-room school is actually a two story brick structure. Coralville thought they were going to boom and so built a bigger two story building thinking they’d soon need more than one class. Unfortunately for them, instead Coralville faced several setbacks. It was decades before they needed to use the second floor as a classroom. By the time they built a graded elementary school – Coralville Central – in 1950, they were running one class on each floor plus one in the town hall (recently moved across the street from the school) and one in the old fire department.

Experience for Students

The elementary classes study the time period before they come and each is assigned a character. Most of these characters are based on actual students who attended the school that year, but some have been added to support current large class sizes.

Students dress up and act out their role as I lead them through a taste of what life was like in a late 19th century one-room school. I serve as a historical interpreter helping the students understand the what and the why as we go through some of the classes they’d have in a one-room school.

Learn more about the program, including the lesson plans and preparation handouts.

Whether You Live Close or Farther Away

Do you live locally? Suggest to your school they come.

Do you live some place else? Look for a one-room museum near you. Most have a school program of some kind.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Winterfest 2010

The Johnson County Historical is part of Coralville’s Winterfest again this year and once again I’m going to be a part of it. I’m going to be doing a special Laura Ingalls Wilder Craft I invented, frost pictures without the frost. This is a photo of me working on it last year. Not the most flattering photo of me, but shows the kids enjoying making the frost pictures. Come by and join us.

Frost Pictures Craft
Frost Pictures Craft

3rd Annual Coralville WinterFest, Sunday, January 31, 1-4 PM at the Coralville River Landing: