WYMORE, Neb. (AP) - In calico dresses and bib overalls, St. Paul fourth graders recited the spelling of words in the 1890s comfort of a one-room schoolhouse.
With the exception of the gas station outside the window, the students had little to remind them of the present as schoolmarm Janey Rudder took them back to the pioneer days in the prairie Tuesday morning.
“I like that it gives kids a chance to see what it was like, what clothes they wore and things that they did,” St. Paul Lutheran School fourth grade teacher Shelley Eisele told the Beatrice Daily Sun (http://bit.ly/1vae4q6).
Eisele has been bringing her students to one-room schoolhouses for several years as part of their Nebraska history curriculum.
This year, she chose to take them to the District 81 Schoolhouse in Wymore owned by the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project.
President of the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project Berwyn Jones said these schools typically held grades 1-8 and students spent their days working independently and would come up to the teacher one by one to recite.
“It would be hard to teach all your grades,” fourth grader Lyndee Padgett said. “Being a teacher you would have to know a lot of stuff.’
Eisele worked to give her students an authentic experience by giving them a dress code prohibiting tennis shoes and T-shirts. She also encouraged students to stay away from products that weren’t available in 1890s, like plastic to wrap their lunches in.
“We talk about how the expectations of teachers and students were different,” Eisele said. “It gives them a chance to compare their lives now to what it was like then.”
After spending their morning and lunch at the schoolhouse, the students returned to Beatrice to have a class museum showcasing their family artifacts.
“It gives them a chance to explore their own family history that they haven’t talked about yet with their families,” Eisele said.
By the middle of the morning Padgett said she would prefer a one-room schoolhouse to her school.
“It would be fun,” Padgett said. “It just feels different.”
Information from: Beatrice Sun, http://www.beatricedailysun.com