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A Step Back in Time

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As part of their social studies curriculum, Miller Avenue second graders have been learning about life in the 1800s, looking closely at how children lived during that time period and studying what school was like in a one-room schoolhouse. They learned about daily life and read stories about early pioneers, including the “Little House on the Prairie” picture books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

To culminate the studies, they brought history to life when they celebrated a School Long Ago Day last week. Girls wore long dresses, aprons, shawls, boots and bonnets. Boys pulled their socks up over their pants to look like breeches and wore caps and suspenders. All the students wrote on slate boards, sang songs of long ago and took on the names of pioneers such as George Beach, Olive Darling, Bessie Freeman, Ralph Hawkins or Sarah Rowland, with Spencerian-font nameplates on their desks. They each received a copy of “McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader,” books that are among the best-known schoolbooks in the history of American education, since they were first published in 1836.

Every second grade teacher creatively designed activities to take place within their own classrooms. Students played 19th-century games including the simple wood toy Jacob’s ladder and paddleball. The festive day also included a covered wagon and authentic-looking wood stoves in each classroom.

The successful event was a school and community collaboration. The Miller Avenue School thanks all the families, the Miller Avenue PTO and all the teachers and students for creating a memorable educational experience.