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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Ol' Rural School Days - Resources

May is Michigan Month, so many classes go on field trips to old-time 1 and 2 room schools.  One of my historical reenactments is a school teacher from that era.  I want to share some of the interesting resources and things I've learned about these rural schools.  I've so much information that this will be a multi-part series.

This post lists a variety of resources letting me show how Michigan schools developed from pioneer days into the early 20th century.

  • Mary Keithan's book, Michigan One-Room Schoolhouses provides an assortment of pictures showing the variety of architecture in nearly 100 schools still in Michigan.  Interviews also add some history, but the book's strong point is its photography.  My only regret is she didn't include two room schools as they were quite common, too.  As schools grew it provided an easy way to divide the students.
  • School Days is an excellent overview from the Michigan Historical Museum combining quotes with facts to show the transitions and variety that formed rural schools.
  • One-Room School Lessons is a lesson plan showing those transitions from pioneer schools to the schools of the late 19th and early 20th century.  Since my own rural teacher comes from approximately 100 years ago, I'm delighted to have this site.  Another bit of "our tax dollars at work" we are fortunate to find still available on the internet even after the Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries was juggled about in governmental restructuring. 
Whether in Michigan Month or not, I enjoy reenacting the old-time School Teacher.  There's always something new to discover.  It's truly an education!
For more on schools of the past, the next post here is on The Buildings.

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