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Our Towns: Canterbury elementary students spend a school day in 1864

  • Second graders from Canterbury Elementary School, from left, Anastasia Lando, 8, William Maxfield, 8 and Matthew Krasnecki, 8, work on a class assignment together at the one-room school house in Canterbury. <br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Second graders from Canterbury Elementary School, from left, Anastasia Lando, 8, William Maxfield, 8 and Matthew Krasnecki, 8, work on a class assignment together at the one-room school house in Canterbury.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Andrea Cameron, a fifth grade teacher at Canterbury Elementary School, taught some of the lessons inside the one-room school house in the Canterbury town center. As part of a program in cooperation with the Canterbury Historical Society, students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Andrea Cameron, a fifth grade teacher at Canterbury Elementary School, taught some of the lessons inside the one-room school house in the Canterbury town center. As part of a program in cooperation with the Canterbury Historical Society, students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Karen Gingrich, enrichment teacher at Canterbury Elementary School,  helped students with their assignments at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Karen Gingrich, enrichment teacher at Canterbury Elementary School, helped students with their assignments at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • First grader, Brianna Chamberlin, 6, receives help with her bonnet during class at the one-room school house in the Canterbury town center.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    First grader, Brianna Chamberlin, 6, receives help with her bonnet during class at the one-room school house in the Canterbury town center.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Girls and boys have separate entrances at the Canterbury school house built in 1844. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one-room school house was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Girls and boys have separate entrances at the Canterbury school house built in 1844. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one-room school house was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Chad Eley, 6, a first grader at Canterbury Elementary School reads during a class assignment at the one-room school house in the town center.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Chad Eley, 6, a first grader at Canterbury Elementary School reads during a class assignment at the one-room school house in the town center.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Third grade students from Canterbury Elementary School, from left, Madeline Johnson, Madison Raymond, Mitchell Berry, and Ryan Plaza present a class assignment to fellow classmates inside the one-room school house in Canterbury. Students from first to fifth grade spent the day in the one-room school house.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Third grade students from Canterbury Elementary School, from left, Madeline Johnson, Madison Raymond, Mitchell Berry, and Ryan Plaza present a class assignment to fellow classmates inside the one-room school house in Canterbury. Students from first to fifth grade spent the day in the one-room school house.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • First through fifth grade students from Canterbury Elementary School dance in a circle while singing songs during the music lesson of the day on Wednesday afternoon. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    First through fifth grade students from Canterbury Elementary School dance in a circle while singing songs during the music lesson of the day on Wednesday afternoon. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • First through fifth graders at Canterbury Elementary School play at recess on Wednesday afternoon, April 3, 2013. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society for the sixth year, Canterbury Elementary School students get to spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used as a school in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    First through fifth graders at Canterbury Elementary School play at recess on Wednesday afternoon, April 3, 2013. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society for the sixth year, Canterbury Elementary School students get to spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used as a school in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Second graders from Canterbury Elementary School, from left, Anastasia Lando, 8, William Maxfield, 8 and Matthew Krasnecki, 8, work on a class assignment together at the one-room school house in Canterbury. <br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Andrea Cameron, a fifth grade teacher at Canterbury Elementary School, taught some of the lessons inside the one-room school house in the Canterbury town center. As part of a program in cooperation with the Canterbury Historical Society, students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Karen Gingrich, enrichment teacher at Canterbury Elementary School,  helped students with their assignments at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • First grader, Brianna Chamberlin, 6, receives help with her bonnet during class at the one-room school house in the Canterbury town center.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Girls and boys have separate entrances at the Canterbury school house built in 1844. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one-room school house was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Chad Eley, 6, a first grader at Canterbury Elementary School reads during a class assignment at the one-room school house in the town center.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Third grade students from Canterbury Elementary School, from left, Madeline Johnson, Madison Raymond, Mitchell Berry, and Ryan Plaza present a class assignment to fellow classmates inside the one-room school house in Canterbury. Students from first to fifth grade spent the day in the one-room school house.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • First through fifth grade students from Canterbury Elementary School dance in a circle while singing songs during the music lesson of the day on Wednesday afternoon. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • First through fifth graders at Canterbury Elementary School play at recess on Wednesday afternoon, April 3, 2013. In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society for the sixth year, Canterbury Elementary School students get to spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used as a school in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • In partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Elementary School students spend a day at the one-room school house in the town center. Students were encouraged to dress similar to the time period and during recess, they played games from 1800's. The one room school house in Canterbury was originally built in 1844 and was last used in 1955.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Canterbury Elementary School students lined up patiently outside the town’s one-room schoolhouse early yesterday morning, with the girls in floral dresses and bonnets and some of the boys in caps, suspenders and button-down jackets. When teacher Karen Gingrich rang the bell and let the students enter the building, they were transported back in time 149 years, to April 3, 1864 – or so the kids said as they answered Gingrich’s questions:

Who is the president? “Abraham Lincoln.”

What’s happening today in our country? “The Civil War.”

The students were there for the school’s annual one-room schoolhouse program, organized jointly with the Canterbury Historical Society. Over the course of five days this week and next, different groups of students will take field trips to the schoolhouse for an 1864-style school day. Each day’s group includes students from every grade, to more closely replicate what a one-room schoolhouse was like. This is the sixth year of the program, and a different time period is selected each year.

No detail is overlooked in making the day as authentic as possible – the students write with quill pens, play old-fashioned games during recess and talk about the time period’s current events. They’re even encouraged to dress the part and bring authentic lunches. Yesterday, wooden baskets and lunch pails filled with sandwiches, fruit and mason jars for water and milk topped most desks (although several Fruit Roll-Ups and bags of potato chips were also spotted.)

Before the field trip each year, Gingrich, who is the enrichment teacher, prepares the kids with history lessons. A kickoff event last week even featured a live debate between Lincoln and General Robert E. Lee. It’s all part of the historical society’s mission to bring history to life for children.

“That’s why I think it’s most important, but also I think it’s a unique experience,” said Bob Scarponi, historical society president. “I can’t imagine any kid not remembering being at the one-room schoolhouse.”

The school was built in 1844 and was one of several one-room schoolhouses used by Canterbury students up until 1955. It now functions as a town museum.

The first order of the day yesterday was hanging the

American flag outside (students were asked to imagine it had only 35 stars) and singing “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”

Then it was on to major current events: the Civil War and the Gettysburg Address. Gingrich tasked each student with memorizing the first sentence of the Gettysburg Address by the end of the day. Fourth-graders, who had already learned the address, were eager to show off their talents, and several of them sat on a bench in front of the group reciting as much as they could.

Gingrich told her students the speech was so important she predicted Americans would still be talking about it in 150 years.

“You mean (in) 2013?” fourth-grader Nick Sherburne asked knowingly.

Penmanship came next, with each student using real quills and ink to write their names and copy down the beginning of the address (the first- and second-graders practiced with the ink in advance, and luckily spills were avoided.) Back in 1864, blotchy and smudged work would mean staying in from recess to rewrite it, Gingrich said. Several panicked students were relieved to know that wasn’t the case yesterday, as the teachers wanted each student to experience a recess full of games from 1864.

Next, the students learned about geography and drew their own maps of the United States. The rest of the morning included practicing elocution and pronunciation of sentences and words, a musical lesson and a presentation from a local historian about Canterbury residents who were in the Civil War.

Fourth-grader Eamon Kelley came dressed in suspenders and a cap and took the day’s events seriously. During the geography lesson, he stood up and talked about the country’s mountain ranges and different climates, and he recited the first third of the Gettysburg Address at the end of the day. Finding an outfit to wear and re-enacting the time period makes the schoolhouse day more fun than a regular day of fourth grade, he said.

“I think it’s better because we get to experience what it was, well in this case 1864, and dress up for it,” he said. “I think it’s fun that we get to behave how (they) were supposed to back then, and like play games that were back then and things that maybe we don’t have nowadays.”

The time travel didn’t stop for recess, during which the students jumped rope or played games. Third-grader Madeline Johnson played a game called Graces with a friend, in which the players tossed and caught a ring on a pair of wooden sticks. Johnson donned a long white floral dress and a straw hat with a colorful ribbon around it. Dressing the part is her favorite part of attending the schoolhouse each year.

“I think it’s fun because you can like find something to wear,” she said. “The clothes that you wear today aren’t really the clothes that you wore in 1864.”

Spending the day at the one-room schoolhouse will hopefully allow the students to connect with history on a deeper level, Gingrich said. When they revisit this time period in middle and high school history classes, she hopes they’ll take a little piece of the schoolhouse lessons with them.

“They’re living history,” she said. “They actually get to live a piece of history and feel it and be a part of it.”

More simply, says fourth-grader Jacob Crees, the one-room schoolhouse day is fun “(be)cause we get to learn old-fashioned stuff.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @kronayne.)

Legacy Comments1

Could You Have Passed The 8th Grade in 1895?........ Probably Not...Take a Look: This is the 1895 eighth-grade final exam from Salina, Kansas. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, Kansas and reprinted by the Salina Journal......... http://www.barefootsworld.net/1895finalexam.html

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