Going back to the days of one-room school houses | ParkRecord.com

Going back to the days of one-room school houses

Third graders at McPolin, Quinn Graves (left) and Maddie Reed (right) participate in a three-legged race at McPolin Elementary School. As part of the Apple Valley School Days program students learn what life was like in a one-room school house, and play old-fashioned games like hopscotch.

Churning butter and competing in a three-legged race is all in a day’s work during Apple Valley School Days.

Over the past weeks, students at local elementary schools including McPolin, Jeremy Ranch and Trailside have learned what it was like to go to school in a one-room school house. From practicing math on a slate to learning about the dunce cap, students stepped back in time to the mid to early 1900s.

Students at McPolin Elementary had to accumulate 150 points to graduate from the program, taking place in 1906. At the beginning of the program each student was given a new identity.

"They might live on a farm or they might live in town and their ma and pa might run the general store," said third-grade teacher Linda Ferguson.

As these new characters, the children complete assignments such as writing diary entries about their chores or pets.

For Ferguson’s class, the emphasis was placed on math and neat handwriting. Each project they completed well, the students earned points. To graduate they needed to accumulate 150 points. All of Ferguson’s students earned the required amount to graduate last Thursday.

At Jeremy Ranch Elementary School students needed 250 points to graduate from their program taking place in 1872. They made quill pens, used charcoal for homework and read old books.

At McPolin the Apple Valley School Days culminated with a picnic, and old-fashioned games like a three-legged race and hopscotch.

On the menu that day was fresh butter the students made earlier in the day.

"Put some whipping cream and pinch of salt in a jar and then you shake it," said third-grader Annie Luse.

They also indulged in cake, pretzels and lemonade.

Second-grader Charlie Barth observed that a one-room classroom is very different from the one he attends at McPolin Elementary School.

"There are only 20 people in the entire school," he said.

Luse thought of some other differences.

"It’s very strict. If you get something wrong, you’d have to wear a dunce cap and get your hands smacked with a ruler," she said.

Ferguson said the Apple Valley School Days program was ideal for wrapping up the school year because it keeps the students engaged until the very last day of school.

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