Pioneer Sholes School Teacher's Manual
Revised Edition
Introduction by Janice Byrne
Sections of the manual--see bottom

The instructional materials and the pedagogy in The Pioneer Sholes School Teacherís Manual are those of a century ago.† Derived from original volumes in the Pioneer Sholes School antique textbook collection and from the facsimile texts located at the school, the lessons focus on reading and language arts as the backbone of an elementary education. Because today, in the twenty-first century, the majority of the classes visiting Pioneer Sholes School are third and fourth grade, the sample lessons included in this manual are aligned with Illinois Learning standards in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and Physical Development for early and middle elementary grades. The emphasis remains on reading and language arts, even though the field trip usually is part of a longer unit on state and local history.

The instructional materials in the Pioneer Sholes School Teacher's Manual are arranged in the order of the typical day in a rural school circa 1900. This order was determined in part through an interview granted by Mrs. Ruth Anderson, the last teacher at what was then known as the Schairer School, previously known as the Sholes School. Mrs. Anderson left the school when it closed in 1947 and spoke to the Pioneer Sholes School Society on September 17, 1980

The school day typically began with ringing the bell ten minutes before the children were to enter the building. This was to serve as a signal to enter the schoolyard in an orderly but prompt fashion. The teacher would ring the second or "tardy" bell while standing in the doorway, ten minutes later. The children would line up by gender-boys on one side and girls on the other. Which side remains a point of argument among one room school-house researchers, but all agree that the children would hang their coats or wraps in the cloak room on the side they entered. Lunches were placed either on the shelf above or on the floor below the child's outerwear.

Once inside the classroom, the youngest children sat in the small desks next to the windows, which at Pioneer Sholes School face south. Older children would occupy the desks on the northern side of the room. As soon as all were in the classroom, the teacher would again ring the hand bell signaling the children to sit silently, feet flat on the floor, back straight against the back of the seat, and hands folded on top of the desk. At the command of "Turn and Stand" all would arise for the morning Opening Exercise, and the academic day would begin. The day would progress as follows with the additions of morning and afternoon recesses as needed.

Organized games were the normal physical education curriculum. Some of these are included in the Games Section of the Pioneer Sholes School Teacher's Manual. According to Lou Schairer, who was a student for seven years at Sholes School, traditional athletic activities like baseball, basketball and wrestling took place during recess and lunch times for boys, girls, and teacher alike. Several times a month itinerant teachers for music and art, and a school nurse visited the school. Since their schedules varied, all other activity would stop when one of these special instructors arrived and large group activities would take place. Today's teachers have the option of inviting colleagues who would normally teach the class music, art, or physical education to continue the tradition by joining the group at Pioneer Sholes School for part of the day.

Other information pertaining to preparations for the field trip to Pioneer Sholes School and procedures while there appear at the beginning of this volume. Special thanks go to Hazel Clauter for compiling the first edition of this manual and to Dr. Barbara Moen and Mrs. Ann Werhane for editorial assistance with this revision.

The Pioneer Sholes School Teacher's Manual is made possible with the assistance of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois State Museum.

St. Charles, Illinois--Copyright 2001

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