The Suburbanite
  • Green students explore history in unique classroom

  • Third-graders at Green Primary School recently had the opportunity to go back in time to see what education was like back in Green in 1885.And they came away with a whole new way to view how they learn today at their school.

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  • Third-graders at Green Primary School recently had the opportunity to go back in time to see what education was like back in Green in 1885.And they came away with a whole new way to view how they learn today at their school.
    Located at Boettler Park of Massillon Road is the restored one room Lichtenwalter School House, painstaking restored to look like it would have back in 1885. Working with the school system is the Green Historical Preservation Commission. The two work together to create curriculum to be used by elementary teachers with their classes.
    When the classes come to the school they are taught by longtime Green residents and “School Marms” Carol Baltrinic and Pat Stiles, both retired Green teachers.
    Dressed in period costumes the teachers have the children behave and perform as students back in 1885 would have been expected. They sit at old wooden desks, have chalk boards and see the how the classroom was heated by an old wood burning stove.
    “This is a great opportunity for the students to see what education was like back in the 1880’s,’ third-grade teacher Judy Ellis said. “All our third Grade classrooms come over here and get to see what Green was like back then. The students get to see how the land and population have changed over time.”
    This learning experience also has found support from Principal Kevin Finefrock. He heartedly endorses the program.
    “Part of the third-grade curriculum is learning about local history,” Finefrock said. “The third-grade schoolhouse fieldtrip offers our students a real life experience as they learn the history of education in Green.”
    When the program first started ten years ago there were five volunteers but now the number has dwindled to just Baltrinic and Stiles.
    “I start out by talking about class etiquette,” said Baltrinic. “We go over procedures, how the students are to act, the routines of the day, all the things that students back in those times experienced.
    As an example, the students were lined up outside the school by girls and boys. Then the girls filed in, followed by the boys, to stand by their seats until the teacher tells them to sit down. Like today, the students started off the day with the “Pledge of Alligence”. After that, the students get a brief overview of what the students had done before coming to school.
    “For the girls, it would have involved preparing food,” Baltrinic explained. “The boys would have been out planting or taking care of the barn and animals. These were all chores that were expected of them.”
    Baltrinic then examined the girls hands, commenting on those that had on nail polish in the way a “School Marm” would had done back in 1885. Back then nail polish would have been frowned on.
    Page 2 of 2 - The students then read two selections out of the McGuffey Reader and broke down into groups to read with Baltrinic and answer questions.
    The curriculum stresses what the education, economy and occupations of the community were like back in 1885 compared to the present. The history of Green is examined as well as students explore how the community has changed throughout 118 years.
    For the students, the experience provides them a look back at a forgotten time and they came away with lots of impressions. There were somethings they really liked and some things that they were not so fond of.
    “I liked the slate chalk boards,” said Iliana Hopp, “they are sort of like our (SMART) boards but different. I also liked the old toys, but I didn’t like the bathrooms, there wasn’t even one in the school! And there was no air conditioning or heating at all around the room. It was very, very different. I really liked the quill pens though!”
    “It was kind of cool, the one room school house” said Aiden St. Clair. “It is definitely very different then what we have; It is worse then what we have today.”
    St. Clair appreciated the fun and games of the 19th century.
    “I liked the toys like the pick-up sticks, checkers and tic-tac-toe,” St. Clair said.
    Like Hopp, St. Clair was not fond of the stuffy classroom space.
    “There was no ventilation or air conditioning” St. Clair said. “And I didn’t like the punishments like the dunce cap, hickory sticks or the circles on the board that you had to put your nose in if you were bad!”
    For Maggie Ditter, the punishments were definitely a deterrent.
    “I didn’t like the punishments,” said Ditter, “and I couldn’t see the teacher. I also didn’t like standing up to ask a question. But I did like the games from back then and how the questions were easier.”
    Andrea Johnson understood the kind of unique learning experience she was part of and chose to embrace it.
    “It was fun to see how things were back in the 1880s,” said Andrea Johnson. “I liked it because it was one room. And I liked the desks because they got bigger and bigger. But I didn’t using the chalk board or the punishments.”

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