As part of the fourth grade’s focus on American History, students are researching colonial craftsmen. To get a sense of what life was like before the Industrial Revolution dramatically changed everyday life, students spent time in a version of their current vocation (student) at Seneca Schoolhouse near the C&O Canal in Poolesville, Maryland.
Students learned that attending class came with responsibilities. Children had to bring wood into the classroom or sit outside. Students practiced recitations, took turns reading out loud, and practiced handwriting on slates. Afterwards, they were allowed to draw on the slates, which was the extent of art in the one-room schoolhouse. Students also participated in a Spelling Bee.
Throughout the day’s lessons, students also got a lesson about 19th century classroom discipline. The teacher showed them a switch that would have been used on students who misbehaved by laughing or talking out of turn. While nobody on the field trip was subjected to the switch, they did wear “dunce” caps, stood with their noses to the blackboard, and sat in a corner with their arms raised above their head. Having survived a variety of these simulated humiliating punishments, students were treated to an outdoor picnic where they sang songs and played games like hot potato and tag.
Fourth Grade Teacher Ms. Harabatch (known as Ms. Z) shared that one student summed it up saying, “It was fun, but I like school better in 2019!”Photos are on Facebook.