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A MORNING AT QUINCY.
Then a curved line was drawn: “What am I going to make ?" It was only the first part of a T in script, but it was made by suggestion into an A, an F and S, and so on, the children copying. Picking up a slate and holding it up, "Johnny always has such a nice slate, clean and such straight lines.". From another slate, writing a crooked letter on the blackboard — "What's the matter with this A?" Then a small I was rapidly changed on the board into many letters, a child pointing out that “You can see the I in almost every letter. “ All except the o," said another. “What's the matter with this r?" writing a very tall one on the board. “Too high a hat, more than its half above the line." Teacher, "Clean slates, I am thinking of a nice holiday - spelling it out on the board - one of the nicest we have. What is it?” Some voices went up for the Fourth of July, but the majority held it to be Christmas. “It's somebody's birthday.” Then it was Christmas — decidedly, by acclamation.
Christ's birthday mass," writing it out — do we write it that way? No! Why not? Ever so many holidays together make a —?” “Vacation." “My next is among those berries on the table," pointing to a vase of bitter-sweet berries, orange and red. “Nice,"
Nice," "elegant," "delicious." "Well — that is to taste. I don't mean to taste," writing on the board, however, all the suggested words. "Splendid,"
pretty." “Yes, that's it. Give me another word for pretty." “Handsome," " beautiful.” “You don't sound the d in handsome,' remarked a youth holding up his hand as that word was written down. "You don't sound the t in vacation, either," remarked another critic, looking at the blackboard and reminded of silent letters. Here a pencil fell.
6. What was that word ?" Dropped.” “Here's the next word," breaking the piece of chalk in half. "Break." "Here's the next,” stepping out. Stepped." All hands, meanwhile, writ-, , ing very fast, to keep up with the class suggestions and the teacher's action. "If a child came to school after nine o'clock we should say he was --?" "Tardy" in a chorus.
THE ROYAL ROAD TO GEOGRAPHY.
This was an upper primary class, and leaving that division about to go to arithmetic, I followed my appointed schedule into the lowest grammar class. There across the black-board was written: “To swear is neither brave, polite, nor wise." It was the beginning of the geog-. raphy lesson, subject North America. On a blue board, about a yard square, which had a ledge around it, and was set on table feet, about
a dozen children were gathered. In the centre of the board, and heaped up into a rude outline of the continent, was a quantity of earth-iron moulder's earth - which was brought out with strong relief by the light blue back-ground. “Come, Bertie, put in the Rocky Mountains," and a girl began energetically to pinch up a mountain range into peaks like so many small cocoanut cakes. “Jerry, where's Alaska?” Boy points to it.
Boy points to it. “Now go on from there and name me all the land projections around to Florida, noting all the land indentations."
But after Prince of Wales Point and Point Barrow, Jerry did not know his points very well and another boy was called up, who traced them all out with small earthly fingers and great enjoyment. It was a new kind of circumnavigation, with the advantage that the navigator, if the class thought a certain point not quite bold enough, was directed to make it more so, and in the course of the voyage, naming all the points on the Atlantic coast to Florida, there was considerable pulling and pushing up the outline to suit the exacting critics. The “mountain range girl ” was all the time building up the several back-bones of the Western Continent, and another at work on the table land of Mexico. Arriving at the Isthmus the sailor was stopped.
How do you get across here we don't want to go any further south - can we go by water?" "No." "Not just yet," interposed the visitor, but we were spared the tunnels and traveled the isthmus safely enough by rail at Panama and got round to the west coast. Here the coasting finger pointed out the capes and located San Francisco for me. “What's the matter with the eastern part of the continent?" said the teacher after the bays and gulfs had been successfully visited by another little finger, with the name given at each blue water (black-board) stopping place. “What is the matter here?" "No mountains," was the chorus, and Jerry - another Jerry - gets to work on the Alleghanies. The table laid complete. “How high is this?” “8,000 feet." "How high are the Rocky Mountains? Are they very high towards the north?" "In the west?" What little range ought to be here?" " Wasatch CoastRange." "Where is the lowest land along here?” Girl points to Mississippi river. "Why doesn't it wash out over here?" "Levees keep it out." “Why don't all the rivers run out into the Gulf of Mexico?" "Here are some going over to the Atlantic. What's the trouble up here? pointing up to the St. Lawrence. “Why doesn't this run down like the Mississippi?” “It couldn't run up a mountain; it has to go
east." Why?' "Because of the height of the land." What's that?" Child points out and pats up a height of land, making the Mississippi basin still more hollow by contrast. Indeed the little hands took great engineering delight out of the Mississippi valley. Their heads were clear enough on that point. Why is the St. Lawrence called so ?” " It is named after the day the first people sailed upon it, on St. Lawrence Day." Pointing to Hudson Bay,"Is that named after a day too?" "No;"in chorus, "after a man, Hendriek Hudson, the man that sailed into it.” “How do you know, if you didn't see it, if you only saw a flat map, that there must be a height of land here?” teacher going back by a quick diversion to the former base of operations. " There must be." “Why?" "Because the rivers run north, and if you travelled up there you would notice that." " But here's the Mississippi; that goes south.” “Well, it flows that way because it must slope south; rivers don't run up hill." "I don't see any rivers going east along here," still in the valley of the Ohio. Oh, they've got to go west; they can't get out to the sea on account of the Alleghanies.”
Were easy, because of the actual ridges of land and the blue board oceans under their hands, and, of course, they were correct. To the minute observation of a child the small ridges and scallops of earth each had its own character, unlike its fellows, and to be named by its proper title. “Now make some really good sentences, to give me the boundaries of the great central plain.” “It extends from the Rocky Mountains on the west to the Apalachians on the east."
"George, why do you say 'It' instead of the great central plain?'” "Don't want to say the same thing twice, and they know you are talking about the same thing until you stop." Mem. - Miss Morse had said laughingly in answer to my question, “Grammar? there is no grammar taught in town except what comes in with the other lessons," and here was a specimen of the Quincy way of getting at the pronouns. George goes on with his central plain ---"It's pretty abrupt at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, but here it gradually slopes.” " What do you mean by gradually?" "A little at a time." Teacher, pointing at a northern river: “ What's this? " " Mackenzie." "Going north?" "Yes; it must, don't you see, because of the height of the land."
A little restlessness at one corner of the board. "Here, boys, make
an isthmus, and you John, the best range of mountains you can over there." This was outside of the map and was regarded as a telling reproof, the culprits doing their moulding very energetically indeed from a small heap of earth that lay in a corner of the board. Coming south to Florida, "What's this?" "A peninsula." "What makes this?” “Coral insects. An insect spits out and makes rocks." "No -it is a skeleton of an insect, like our bones." "It isn't colored by the sailors," one and another of the class remarks. “Now take your slates and write me out the boundaries of North America."
“Have they any other maps?" I asked. “Some of them have an atlas at home.” “But do 'they learn all these names of capes and bays and mountains 'by ear' around the board?" "Yes, but then they write them out, you know, and that impresses them, too. They use their home atlases to draw maps by sometimes. But, "smiling, "I have hard work to keep my class from copying these drawings on the board," pointing to some landscapes in chalk on a row of blackboards left by the teachers' drawing class. “They copy what they see. Our teachers' class meets here of an evening for drawing lessons and practice," [All the Massachusetts teachers learn to draw,] " and the drawings are left until the next lessons to decorate the rooms.' At the end of the geography lesson the two teachers perfected the map, and that was left on the blue board - a sort of billiard geography until the following day.
We begin our map work by taking them to the window and telling them to make something like that hill out there," where Milton Hills lay in the distance. "That does very well for an easy lesson in mountains.”
At the tap of the bell the classes marched out for recess - half past ten - Miss Dearborn, the head master, inspecting the entire 270 as they passed down the stairs. The marching was almost as good as that of the youngest boys at the Girard College, also under feminine drill.
"Do you spend any time in musical notation, Miss Dearborn?" “No; they all learn to sing, but we don't give any particular care to the mere notes."
SOME GENERAL REFLECTIONS. A conversation with Mr. Parker which brought out fully the method of the school, you shall have at another time. But a word just here which cannot be too often insisted on. The children in New York and Philadelphia public schools are encouraged to much criticism on
each other criticism on intonations and inflections and the machinery of reading. At Quincy I noticed very little of that. The criticism was of ideas - opinions chiefly. This took off what has always struck me as an unpleasant feature of our system, the sharp, snapping attitude of these little folks towards each other, all on the qui vive for another's mistake, and perhaps somewhat disappointed when the paragraph is read through quite smoothly. The questions of the teacher, the comments of the class in every performance in the reading, and history, and the language recitation (quite another matter from the conversation exercise) were directed to substance rather than form, to ideas rather than reflections. The point all through was the meaning, the opinion, the lively remarks of the class. That in itself is a difference strongly marked between this New England school Mecca and any other public school on the continent that it has been my fortune to see. - Phil. Ledger.
BEGINNING SCHOOL.— There are many things to be settled before the real work of the school-room begins. Take all the time you need to arrange the machinery of your school-room on a firm basis. You may think that the pupils must read or spell the first day, but it is not a necessity. You save time by arranging your work methodically.
Predeterinine your signals, and let them be as simple as possible. A tap upon the table is much better than the sound of a bell, and having gained the eyes of your pupils the rest is easy. For instance, the first time you call the attention of the school, give them the sign by which they may know that all work is suspended. The first time a class is interrupted, explain why this should not be done, and then do not permit it.
Be particular how your pupils enter and leave the room. Continue your instruction until they can lay aside their work and leave the school-room in a proper manner.
At the close of the first recess teach them how to dispose of their hats and in what manner they are to go to their seats.
You will have trouble with hats and wraps, therefore assign the hooks by numbers, numbering the scholars to correspond. Take time to see each one in its own place; after two or three days, you will find you have saved time for the whole year through.
If you are required to make a report to your superintendent, learn