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turn about and chide them for not liking good, wholesome bread, and for not developing better on their hard fare.
One great difficulty in the way of getting nature work into the schools is that it is not in the teachers. If the teacher is full of this subject you can't keep it out of her school. It will get in in spite of unfavoring boards of education or indifferent superintendents. Teachers not having been taught thus in their early school life do not know how to adapt the knowledge gained from books to the children's needs and comprehension. All honor to the teacher who confesses ignorance but is willing to learn, but only contempt for those who, because they do not know how, declare it is not being and cannot be done.
To those who believe in nature work in the primary grades, but do not know how to teach these subjects to little children, my advice would be begin; begin somewhere, anywhere, only begin. Watch the children. Notice in what they are interested, and begin with that. Take up the first natural object brought by the children into the school room, investigate, question, study; consult encyclopedias, scientific works, and send questions home to parents by the children, and I have no doubt the next magazine or educational paper you take up will have an article on the very subject before you. If it comes too late make a note of it for future use.
If the children do not bring you cocoons, oak-balls, leaves, stones, fruit and flowers, it is because they have never been encouraged to do So. Take the next pretty leaf that you find into the school room and in the first few restless moments, usually taken to crush out all of the play spirit, call their attention to the pretty leaf you found, and see how soon your table will be literally covered with pretty leaves brought by the children. Then, when brought, use them for language work, number lesson, or for seat work. Fasten a bit of golden rod to your waist and it will not be long before some one will bring you a nice large bunch. Then reward them with a beautiful gem or story about the golden rod, and your nature work has begun.
But do you fear there will be a lack of purpose or system in thus following the children's lead? Perhaps it will be so for a time, but you will soon find order coming out of chaos. Their gifts and finds will group themselves around a few main lines and you will soon be able to give subordinate place to that which is not to your purpose. For instance, you will find September the best time to study fruit, which will naturally lead you to the study of fruit trees, their branching and leaves. "Ripe apples and peaches and plums, I am glad when September comes", was our calendar motto. "October gave a party, The leaves by hundreds came." Of
course we must study forest trees, with their nuts and different ways of branching in October. Seeds and their distribution follow, taking up, first, seeds in general, their kinds, use, and relation to plant life. The children are always interested in hearing about the seed that must travel, even if they have to steal their rides. Then after making a study of a few types as corn or wheat among grains, and milkweed or thistle among winged seeds, you can go on to preparations for winter made by man, plants and animals. Frost, snow, crystallization, stones and domestic animals can be studied in winter, and the spring brings its own subjects in the growth of bud, leaf, flower, and the coming of the birds and their nest building. And so as the months. and seasons roll by, the children will be learning to interpret the tongues in trees, the books in running brooks, the sermons in stones, and to see the good in every thing.
One difficulty the teacher has to meet in the line of work is the desire for tangible results on the part of superintendents, parents, and the teacher herself. The best results in any school work are not those brought out by examinations. They can not be summed up in per cents, but never fear, "after many days thou shalt see of the travail of thy soul and be satisfied." I was so fortunate once as to be in a kindergarten when the children were receiving their first lesson in painting
with water colors; children four and five years old. The colors were placed on the table and the children shown how to use the brush and paint; that was all. Then a dandelion fast asleep, as the children described it, and one wide awake, were given to each child. The bud was taken first and they were told to look at it, paint the stem, then the other parts. The courage of beginners is marvelous. No one doubted for a moment his ability to do just as told, and no one hesitated for a moment when the opportunity was given. Some of the stems were as wide as your little finger, and parts that should point downward stood bravely up. No fault was found, but their attention was kindly called to the difference between theirs and the real dandelions in such a way as to make them eager to try again, seeing where they could do better. I am afraid you would have laughed at the result as shown on paper, but I have no doubt those litte folks went home with a better idea of a dandelion bud than many of us have at this minute, and while the children. got a vauable lesson in observation, I got one in methods, and I said, how much better to let them. observe the real thing, each for himself, than to have said, "Children, this is the stem, see me paint it; now you do as I do", resulting in a copy of the teacher's painting instead of copying nature. Do not let their bungling attempts and
crude results discourage you, but remember that teachers must often walk by faith, and not by sight. Then, too, children sometimes know better than they can tell, owing to limited vocabularies. One of our boys, in describing the blow fly, said: "It lays its eggs in meat, and they hatch out into — into I don't know whether it is caterpillars or butterflies." Now, that boy did really know more about flies than I did when I began teaching school. He knew the fly passed through the larva state, and he only said caterpillar when he meant maggot. Now, I can almost hear everyone of you saying, "How can I find time for all these things, with the reading, writing, number work and all the other things that must be done?" May I suggest a few things that it seems to me you might do, for I would be. glad to make this paper practically helpful Is it not possible to so mix the nature work with the other work as to take very little extra time after all? For instance while studying the apple let all the lessons of the day gather more or less closely about the apple. Sing some such pieces as "Shake, shake, the Branches," or "Our polished house is red and round," etc. The uses of the apple will furnish material for several language lessons, the making of cider will give you a chance for a temperance lesson, the seeds and their five croelles may be used for the lesson in numbers, the word
apple will make a good writing lesson, and a story, giving the history of the apple's growth, will make a delightful reading lesson, if written on the black board. I would like to emphasize the fact of getting all the reading out of this work that you can. It will impress the facts gained on the memory, and a child is just as truly learning to read when he holds a nice red apple in his hand and reads, "This is a red apple", as when he reads from his book, "I see a cat." Primary teachers will find a hectograph very helpful, as it enables you to make any number of copies of easy nature work reading, which the children love to take home and read over again and again. Twenty-five cents sent to H. R. Pattengill, Lansing, Mich., will procure you the ink and receipt, and they are easily made. While studying the apple the children can model the apple in clay, cut it from paper, draw it on slate with colored chalks or make it with shoe pegs for seat work, also, modeling, cutting, drawing the half apple, cut horizontally or in the usual manner.
This month we have been singing ourselves into the spirit of the season with such songs:
"There's a purple tint on the woodland leaves,
The winds are up all day." "Come little leaves, said the wind. one day,
Come over the meadow with me and play:
Put on your dresses of red and gold,
For summer is ended and the days grow cold."
"The brown birds are flying Like leaves through the sky." "I'm only a little red leaflet." "What do the leaves say, children?"
and others. Then come the dedescription and comparison of different kinds of leaves, talks on uses of the leaf, and why the trees in our clime shed their leaves. The children's own words give us our reading lessons, and the number of leaflets on a leaf, or the points on the maple leaves make good number work, while nature stories on leaf and tree will be used in various ways, and for seat work the leaf was modeled, cut and drawn.
The number of classes in some schools is often given as a reason for lack of time to do this work, but I have known something like this to be done. The whole school together may examine the object under consideration, the very youngest making some observations and getting the benefit of the remarks of the older ones, then, when the oral work is finished, the most advanced class can write out a connected statement of facts gained, either alone or in answer to questions, on a blackboard, while another class can copy only a few sentences, perhaps, and still another only a single statement or a few leading words, while another class
read from the blackboard their own sentences made under the direction or in answer to the questions of the teacher. Children who have grown apathetic trying to put themselves into a book will brighten and quicken when the work becomes interesting and you will soon be exulting over your bright boys and girls. Drudgery, without love or motive, fosters stupidity. Dull routine and lifeless repetition make lazy, ambitionless pupils.
I would have some nature work in my school if I had to put it in out of school hours. Go out with the children at noon or recess time, taking slates with you and draw the trees or leaves or hills or creeks, if there is no other time, but I believe there is always time for that which is best worth while. Enough time is wasted in many schools on nonessentials to give ample time for one lesson a day in nature work. I am glad to see that the tendency in the best schools is to hold the children back in numbers for a few years until their reason and judgment are better developed. Why not give some of this time to nature work? I have no patience with teachers or superintendents who are all the time boasting of how far they have got their beginning classes in numbers. I have no doubt that a child of six years may be taught the whole multiplication table in a year, but of what use is it to do so? He does not know its application, and it can be taught with so much less effort,
both on your part and his, when he is ready for it. He would much better be making mud balls. Better teach the children to see than to count, to express themselves than to say words. Let us strive rather to develop the children than to envelop them, as some one has said. Let us not only give them time to think, but something to think about,
teaching them to study subjects rather than to go through books, to enjoy the going as well as the getting there, to listen to bird and bee and babbling brook, and be able to hear "the heavens telling the glory of God" and to appreciate to some extent, at least, the wonders of His handiwork.
HELPS, HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS.
ONE HUNDRED EASY EXPERIMENTS IN NATURAL SCIENCE.
BY E. E. RICHARDS.
The closing years of the nineteenth century are aglow from the lamps of science; we talk, write and travel by electricity; we study the motion and condition of the stars rather than the moon's effect on the weather or the crops.
Modern society demands and rightly too, that the man or woman who pretends intelligence must know something of the elements of natural science. The teacher who would excel in her work, who would have her influence reach beyond her school-room must equip herself with information beyond the simple requirements of the text book and the teacher's examination.
In no way can this be done so successfully as in work in nature study and simple experiments.
In this and succeeding articles, directions will be given for performing 100 simple experiments, all having relation to work now taught in the graded and common schools of the state. These experiments have been carefully and repeatedly made as described and no previous study is necessary to perform them successfully. They will prove of especial value to your classes in geography and physiology. Your pupils will assist you most gladly in preparing apparatus. There is an ever growing demand for science knowledge in all departments of life. Parents and pupils alike become interested in experiments and until you try it you cannot estimate the value of such work
in your school. Indifferent pupils
often become interested in all their studies and the discipline of the school becomes relatively easy. It is urged that pupils prepare all ap