Lessons from the Schoolmarm

Schoolmarm at Churchville Schoolhouse


The Churchville Schoolmarm has missed our visitors to the historic One-Room Schoolhouse with field trips being cancelled. She’d like to bring the Schoolhouse to you through the online lessons and storytimes posted below.

Storytime with the Schoolmarm from the Churchville Schoolhouse 

Gather your little ones around the screen as Miss Jessie reads some classic fairy tales from Mary Engelbriet's Nursery Tales. Click on the link/title below to view each video.

The Three Little Pigs 

Little Red Riding Hood

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

The Gingerbread Boy

Jack and the Beanstalk

The Little Red Hen

Lessons from the Schoolmarm

PioneerLesson from the Schoolmarm #1: Pack Your Bag Like a Pioneer--Parents, talk to your children about the pioneers traveling west in a covered wagon to the American frontier. When they traveled, each family could only pack that they NEEDED. Discuss the difference between needs and wants and challenge the children to go through the house with their backpacks and select only things they would need to travel west. Discuss what each child packed and why.

Lesson from the Schoolmarm #2: Make a Thaumatrope--thaumatrope A thaumatrope is a popular toy from the 19th century that relies on “persistence of vision,” the concept that your eyes can remember what they’ve seen for a very short period of time after the image is gone. Make your own and watch your creation come to life! Materials: A stick or dowel rod, two circles of paper about 5 inches in diameter, pencil, crayons or markers, glue or tape. Instructions:
1. Draw a bird on one circle.
2. Draw a birdcage on the other circle. Pro tip: Try and make sure your drawings are centered on each circle.
3. Place them back to back with the stick in between and tape or glue them together.
4. Roll the stick quickly between the palms of your hands. Your thaumatrope will move quickly and look like the bird is in the cage.
5. What other images can you put together? Your schoolmarms love fish in a fish bowl, butterflies on flowers and anything else you can dream up!

FischerLetter_M2008_1_3_25Lesson from the Schoolmarm #3: Write a Letter to A Child in the Future--Throughout history, people have written letters and kept journals, like the letter (at left) from our collection of letters from the Fischer family. Modern day historians can use letters and journals to tell us what life was like during different periods in history. These documents are called primary sources, which means a piece of information that was created by someone who witnessed or was part of a historic event. Have you ever had a grown up start a story with, "When I was a kid..."? Now it is your turn to write a story to a child in the future. It can be to anyone, a child from your town or maybe even your future child or grandchild!  What is your life like during this unique time in history? How has everyday life changed? What are your thoughts and feelings? Write about whatever you’d like and imagine a child reading your words in the future. YOU are writing history! Parents: Journal along with your child and compare notes with each other.

Lesson from the Schoolmarm #4: Make a Paper Quilt--Did you know that quilts can tell a story? Paper QuiltFamilies can work together to create individual quilt squares that can be sewn together into one large work of art that tells whatever story they like!Using paper squares, create your own quilt by drawing the story of your time at home. What is learning from home like for you? Working from home? Are your pets loving having you around? How are people helping each other during this time? Everyone in your family can participate and you can make more than one square for a bigger "quilt"! Put them all together to create your family story quilt of 2020. Parents: The Schoolmarms also recommend The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston or The Quiltmakers Journey by Jeff Brumbeau for wonderful, beautifully illustrated stories related to quilts. Post a photo of your finished quilt on our Facebook page!  Materials: Paper squares (keeping them consistent makes it easier to put them together), Markers or crayons or colored pencils, Something to hold your squares together (this can be as simple as tape or use a hole punch in the corners and tie your squares together using yarn).

Rays ArithmeticLesson from the Schoolmarm #5: 1877 Arithmetic--The 3 R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) were the cornerstones of a one-room schoolhouse education. Word problems, often pertaining to farming, sewing, games and pastimes of the era were common. Today’s lesson is to try your skills at answering these arithmetic lessons from “Ray’s New Primary Arithmetic,” a schoolbook published in 1877. How are these similar or different to the word problems children receive in modern day math classes?

  • Addition: Mary paid 5 cents for ribbon, 4 cents for thread, and 3 cents for tape: How much did she pay for all?
  • Subtraction: A man had 17 horses, and sold 8 of them: how many had he then?
  • Multiplication: A blacksmith shod 7 horses in one day, putting a shoe on each foot: how many horseshoes did he use?
  • Division: There are 20 scholars sitting on 4 benches: how many scholars on each bench?

Part 2: Kids, challenge your grown-ups to the following problems without using pencil and paper!How many are 4 and 7, less 6, multiplied by 5?

  • How many are 4 and 9, less 8, multiplied by 6?
  • How many are 9 and 9, less 10, multiplied by 3, divided by 6?
  • How many are 10 and 7, less 8, multiplied by 6, divided by 9?
  • If 10 cents make 1 dime, 10 dimes make 1 dollar, and 10 dollars make 1 eagle--how many dimes are in 1 eagle? In 8 dollars?

Lesson from the Schoolmarm #6: Parlor Games--Parlor Games were played by family and friends in the days before television and video games.  The schoolmarm may have played parlor games with her class if the weather was too unpleasant to play outside during recess. Can you solve the riddles below (excerpted from Parlor Games, edited by Roy Finamore, published by Clarkson Potter, 2002)?

  1. Name me, and you destroy me. (Answer: Silence)
  2. What grows in winter with its root upward, and dies in summer? (Answer: Icicle)
  3. When is a door not a door? (Answer: When it is ajar--A jar.)
  4. What is the best land for little kittens? (Answer: Lapland)
  5. What does a stone become in the water? (Answer: Wet)

Lesson from the Schoolmarm #7: Elocution--Elocution is tTongue twisters9he skill of clear and proper public speaking and was very important in 19th century America. Challenge yourself and your family to say the following sentences crisply and correctly, without making any mistakes. Can you say these “tongue twisters” multiple times and more quickly?

  1. Round and round the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran.
  2. She sells seashells on the seashore. The shells she sells are seashore shells I’m sure. 
  3. The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep is sick.
  4. Three gray goose sat on the green grass grazing.
  5. Betty Botter bought some butter; "But," said she, "this butter’s bitter! If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit o’ better butter will but make my batter better." Then she bought a bit o’ butter better than the bitter butter and made her bitter batter better. So ’twas better Betty Botter bought a bit o’ better butter.

Lesson from the Schoolmarm #8: Make a Patriotic Wreath--Today we’re learning about the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. Watch this video from the Schoolhouse,  and then kids can work on a flag-related activity. If you don’t have red, white and blue paper or ribbon, use what you have a make a colorful wreath all your own! Supplies: Paper Plate, Scissors, Glue or Tape, Red and Blue Construction Paper, Red, White and Blue Ribbon

Instructions: 1. Cut the middle out of your paper plate so you have an "O." 2. Cut out medium sized stars from your red and blue (or whatever color you have) paper. 3. Glue or tape your stars to your paper plate "wreath." 4. Make a bow from the ribbon and attach it to the top of your wreath. 5. Attach a ribbon on the back of the plate for hanging.