One-Room School Lunch Survey

Water Crock Drinking Fountain
Water Crock Drinking Fountain

One of my on-going projects has been a survey on what people  I’ve been collecting surveys for what people really took to lunch in one-room schools. So far I’ve got 424 responses with answers coming from everywhere between Canada to Louisiana. Answers on what they took ranged from hoe cakes to ketchup sandwiches to a hot dog kept warm in a Thermos with string tied around the natural casing knot to pull it out.  I’ve also collected teaching magazines, parent magazines, and government publications talking about what you should have for school lunch.

I was surprised about how school lunch, or at least providing a hot school lunch, turned out to be a pretty political topic as it was an excuse given as one of the reasons to close one-room schools (until the Thermos made it unnecessary). I also found out that where you ate lunch turned out to be a problem, if you ate on your desk how did you get it or keep it clean? Plus, were students made to wash their hands? I’ve found a lot of interesting things.

I’ve put together a presentation what I’ve got so far, but I’m still going to be collecting surveys.

So if you went or taught in a one-room school or know someone who did, please fill out the survey and spread the word.

Lunch_Survey You can copy the questions into e-mail or mail. People who mail them get a thank you postcard of a one-room school.
Here is my latest update of Handout 4 about what I’ve learned so far.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Giant Strides in One-Room School Playgrounds

After I read this article in the Wed., May 11, 2016 issue of The De Smet News, I knew I wanted to share it. Even within my generation playground equipment has disappeared, maybe for better, maybe for worse. Some things disappeared even before then. One was the Giant Strides. You hear references to a Giant Stride around one-room schools, but I self see first hand accounts, so I was very excited to find such an account.  Here is the Giant Strides part of the article where Donna Palmlund describes riding on one republished with permission from The De Smet News.

“The ‘Maypoloe of Death’ and Other Memorable Playground Moments” by Donna Palmlund

I was looking at an online photography group’s page recently and saw a photo of an abandoned country schoolhouse with a couple of pieces of playground equipment – one that the photographer could only identify. It was a large metal pole with a device on top that looked like it might have rotated at one time.

It brought back memories of the “giant strides” or what I called “the Maypole of death” on my own school playground in Carthage. This contraption consisted of a tall pole with several metal chain “ladders” attached to it. Children would grab on to a rung on one of the “ladders” and run around the pole so fast that they would lift off the ground and spin around in a circle as though they were flaying. It was not for the faint of heart.

There were usually half a dozen or more kids riding on the giant strides at any given recess. I normally tried to avoid ti, but my more adventurous playmates talked me into trying it a few times. Once should have been enough.

I have coordination and strength issues and I was not always able to keep my grasp on the ladder, or, for that matter, run around in a circle without tripping. So I was usually the kid sitting in the dirt getting hit in the head with a swinging ladder or someone else’s feet.

I was also a lightweight back then, and the heavier kids, who had more momentum, would slam into us. I suspect that wasn’t always an accident.

-SSU again, Also find photos on someone’s pet history project.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

One-Room School Links

 

Greenmead One-Room School
Greenmead One-Room School

Also find the CSAA listserv, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Find more one-room school resources on my pathfinder.

And I’m always looking for more people to fill out my one-room school lunch survey.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

May 2016 Presentations

Uthoff Storytelling Without Children
Uthoff Storytelling Without Children

Only two presentations this month so far, but a couple more are pending.

  • One-Room School Program for classes Monday, May 9 and Monday, May 16, 2016. (Not open to the public)

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Rosenwald Schools

Unless you study the history of one-room schools or the American south you may well never have heard of Julius Rosenwald. Rosenwald was the money man behind Sears and Roebuck and was the business mind behind them that made Sears a success. The son of Jewish immigrants from Germany, Rosenwald had great fellow feeling for African-Americans who also faced discrimination. He connected with Booker T. Washington and was a strong financial supporter of the Tuskegee Institute before broadening his goals. Working with Washington, Rosenwald financed a spree of building schools for African-American children all across the South. Learn more at the links below.

10 minute interview about effect of Rosenwald Schools
http://news.wabe.org/post/learning-design-rosenwalds-rural-southern-schools

The Journal of the American Institute of Architects about effect of design of Rosenwald Schools
http://www.architectmagazine.com/design/culture/remembering-the-rosenwald-schools_o (see note below)

Rosenwald documentary
http://rosenwaldfilm.org/rosenwald

Note: This is nothing to do with Rosenwald really, but one innovation cited in the architecture article above is moveable partitions to create separate classrooms. As someone who went to a graded elementary with moveable partitions for the 4-5-6 grade, I feel compelled to speak up. I’m here to tell you that was NOT an innovation it was a TERRIBLE idea. You constantly hear the classes next to you, there is no sound dampening because it’s really a huge box of a room, and despite the fact that the rolling cabinets that made up our walls had multiple purposes (for example some of them were cabinets on one side and a white board on the back) there were just so many things you couldn’t do with them. The entire community sighed a great sigh of relief when the school finally found the money to wall them in and then replace the other wonderful design feature the flat roof – in Iowa – where it snows.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Country School Conference 2015 Registration Open

26872059Republished from a message from the keyboard of Richard Lewis:

Hello Country School Enthusiasts!

Registration is now open for the 2015 Country School Association of America Conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The Washington County Fair Farm Museum with its Perkins Hollow one room schoolhouse is hosting the Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America June 14-17, 2015.  We are pleased to bring this national event to the Washington and Saratoga County region of New York State.

The Skidmore College campus and the Washington County Fair Farm Museum will be the locations for two days of presentations and workshops on early schooling, curriculum and preservation of historic country schools.  There will also be local displays and presentations featuring area schoolhouses, the slate industry, the Ticonderoga pencil, and other related topics.  The third day bus tour will take you through the slate region of New York and Vermont while you visit seven restored/preserved country schools.

The conference is only 3 months away…. 

Make your reservations soon as Saratoga is the summer place to be! 

You have a choice of online registration or a paper registration with 2 payment options:

1)  Online registration with payment by credit card or check

2)  Paper form with payment by check

Please see the attached paper registration form for more details and register online or by mail.

Please note that when you use online registration at www.CountrySchoolAssociation.org you will have to make your selection for payment by check or credit card as indicated below.  If paying by check, you will mail it to the address provided online.

Pay by Check

We look forward to welcoming you to Skidmore College, in upstate New York in June.

Should further information be required, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Joan & Dale Prouty

CSAA 2015 Conference Co-chairs

dprouty@captal.net

(518) 747-3635

Iowa Government and One-Room Schools

Cover of Iowa and the Nation
Cover of Iowa and the Nation

At What Cheer Flea Market, I found a very interesting book. It’s a text book about Iowa government and has quite a bit on one-room schools. The author is George Chandler then the Superintendent of city schools in Osage, Iowa.  Below are some selections from this 1898 book (which is in the Public Domain).

The selections below (which I’ve marked with the page they came from) explain how the governance of one-room schools in Iowa operated. Your state probably had a similar set of guidelines. How similar depended on your state and their attitude towards education. Within the text below in several places I’ve added an Editor’s Note in square brackets [Ed. Note: xxx] to help clarify some point or to offer commentary or ask a question. All such notes are my own and not found in the original text.

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Chandler, George. Iowa and the Nation. Chicago: Flanagan, 1898.

From Chapter 2 “The Township – Continued”

Page 12

School Township – The school township is a division for school purposes, and its boundaries must always

Page 13

be the same as those of some civil township. The public schools are free to all residents of the state between the ages of 5 and 21 years. Each school township is a school district, and the business connected with the management of its schools is done by a board of directors.

Sub-districts – Each school township is separated into as many sub-districts as may be necessary, and a member of the board of directors, called a sub-director, is chosen from each sub-district by its qualified voters. The sub-directors of a township are chosen on the first Monday in March of each year for a term of one year, and all the sub-directors of the township constitute the board of directors.

Township Meeting – On the second Monday in March, the qualified voters of the school township meet to transact business of a general nature connected with the management of the schools in the township. If it is necessary to build a new school-house in the township, the money must be raised by a tax voted at this meeting. If any school property is to be disposed of, the sale must be ordered at this meeting. [Ed. note: this doesn’t give an indication of what happens if an emergency arises if, for instance, a school burns down midyear and must be replaced.]

Board of Directors – On the third Monday in March, the sub-directors meet and organize as a board of directors by choosing one of their number president. They then proceed to the transaction of such business as may come before them. They allow all just claims against the district [Ed. note: meaning debts or bills], hire teachers, estimate the amount of money to be raised for the support of schools and provide for building and repairing of schoolhouses. They make such regulations for the good of the schools of the district as authorized by law.

Page 14

Officers of the School Board – The president presides at all meetings of the board and of the school township, signs all orders for the payment of money from the district treasury, and all contracts made by the board. At the regular meeting of the board held on the third Monday in September of each year, a secretary and a treasurer are chosen for one year. The duties of these officers are such as their titles indicate.

Independent Districts – Cities, incorporated towns, and villages having not less than 100 inhabitants may be organized as independent school districts In districts composed of cities of the first class and cities under special charter, the boards of directors consist of 7 members, and in all other city and town districts, of 5 members, 1/3 of the number as nearly as possible, being chosen every year. In all city and town districts, a treasurer is chosen annually by the qualified electors, at the time of the election of directors. The secretary is chosen by the board of directors at the September meeting, and he cannot be a member or employee of the board. In such districts, the directors are chosen on the second Monday and their term begins on the third Monday in March.

Rural Districts – By the provisions of a former law rural independent districts were formed in district townships, each district having a board of 3 directors, one being chosen on the second Monday in March for a term of 3 years. [Ed. note: This would remain the law all through the age of one-room schools and one-room school district decisions, including tax, curriculum, etc. were decided by these very local, three person boards. My great-grandfather served on his local one. It was nearly 50 years after this book that the so far unstoppable serge of school consolidation began by requiring all schools to be part of a K-12 district. One-room school districts were forced to become part of an independent school district with a high school, mostly in some nearby town. This took decisions (and money) out of immediately local hands. While it didn’t necessarily mean one-room schools had to close (a handful of public one-room schools in Iowa are open yet), when these larger school districts were given the choice to continue to use the money to keep one-room schools open or to take the money and spend it on something they wanted, guess which option won and schools were closed.]

Active Amish School
Active Amish School

School funds – The money for the support of schools

Page 15

is kept in 3 separate funds in each district. These are known as:

  • the teachers’ fund (which is used for the payment of teachers)
  • the schoolhouse fund (used in building and repairing schoolhouses and purchasing school grounds);
  • and the contingent fund (which is used in the purchase of supplies and the payment of incidental expenses of the school).

Nearly all of the money needed for the support of any school is raised by a tax levied on the taxable property of the district in which the school is located.  [Ed. note: I replaced pairs of commas with parenthesis and bullets in the second sentence because it was visually confusing. I hope this is easier to read. ]

Teachers’ Fund – The teachers’ fund is derived from the semi-annual apportionment which includes the interest on the permanent school fund of the state, fines and forfeitures of various kinds, and a country school tax of not less than 1 mill, nor more the 3 mills [Ed. Note: A mill is  1/1000th of a dollar and is often used as a rate of taxes on accessed value of taxable property], on a dollar which is levied by the board of supervisors on the taxable property of the county. The money paid by nonresident pupils as tuition for the privilege of attending school in which they do not reside also forms a part of this fund. In addition to these sums, the directors of each district on the third Monday in March, or between that time and the third Monday in May of each year, vote to raise a tax for teachers’ fund upon the property of their district, not to exceed 15 dollars for each person of school age, except as provided for in the next paragraph.

Contingent Fund – The contingent fund is raised by taxation on the property of each school district, and is estimated by the board of directors at the time of estimating the teachers’ fund. The amount raised for contingent expenses cannot exceed 5 dollars per pupil, except in thinly settle districts where that amount and 15 dollars per pupil for teachers’ fund is not sufficient to maintain the

Page 16

schools for six months of 20 days each as required by law. Seventy-five dollars contingent fund and 270 dollars teachers’ fund, including the semi-annual apportionment, may be raised for the support of each school in the state every year.

Schoolhouse Fund – The Schoolhouse fund is derived from the tax upon the property of any district in which a school house is to be built or repaired. This tax is voted by the electors of the sub-district or school township, and property of the entire township. At the sub-district meeting held on the first Monday in March, the electors may vote to raise a certain sum of money for the erection of a schoolhouse. If the electors at the school township meeting, the following Monday, refuse to grant any or all of this amount, the tax is levied on the property of the sub-district, not to exceed 15 mills on a dollar of valuation. As a rule, the tax for schoolhouse purposed is levied upon the property of the whole district and expended in the different sub-districts as occasion may require.