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provided the spelling and language lessons for higher grade children. The Wilson books, in content, follow the President from America to France, giving pictures showing the ovations he received in different cities, pictures of the Peace Conference, his return to America and his second trip to France. All this provided excellent material for language, reading and spelling lessons.
This book is still in use, but, just as the period following the armistice signing was fraught with so much that was too abstract for “our” minds to grasp, so the work of the period following the President's second trip abroad has been too abstruse for little children to follow. Again the necessity of another plan arises.
When these children were placed under my care (and I am writing now about the five low-grade children,-the others were able to read and had readers), I found them trying to read a chart and a book in combination, which I considered beyond my teaching ability and beyond their powers to grasp. Fortunately, those of us who teach in ungraded classes are allowed to use our judgment in the choice of books and the use of the Reader was discontinued.
It was that Reader, however, that helped me to evolve the idea of the War Reading Books,--that of learning words by comparison, so after a period of six months, during which time I used the three sets of books mentioned, and also, during which time I carefully studied the plan and method of the Reader, I decided to try it again.
After the first few lessons, while I did not become wildly enthusiastic over my results, I did decide that we had arrived.”
The lesson is a poem set to music. The poem appears on a chart. In the book, with the poem, is a picture illustrating it. We talk about the picture and the “teacher” sings the poem two or three times. Then the children hum it with the teacher and next they sing it from the chart, the teacher using the pointer to indicate the phrasing.
When the children can sing the song, the teacher asks, “Can you read the poem
from the chart?” The class reads in concert. With these children many readings are required and many devices to stimulate effort, before the poem is memorized, but they become enthusiastic about "reading,” even if they remember only a few words of it. Usually someone can read all of it and he is permitted to read it alone.
Then we find the book and we read from it, both in concert and individually, closely observing the phrasing.
Next, some child reads the first line, another the second, another the third and another the fourth. By this time the teacher asks, “Who can read the last line?” Alfred reads. “Who can read the third line?” Rosemary reads. “Who can read the first line?” Charles reads. Dan reads the name of the poem. Jacob cannot read the second line; he reads from the beginning and the thoughts suggests the second line.
The teacher then covers the first phrase of the first line and asks the
children to read the part not covered. She proceeds in the same manner with the first phrase of the second line, etc., covering parts of each line until all the phrases have been read.
The phrases are then designated on the chart and the children find them in their books and read them.
Each lesson has a page upon which the phrases are isolated. Those are read next.
Perception cards are then used. Each child is given a card with a word on it. The teacher taps and the child goes to the chart, places the card under the word and tells it, if he can.
The next step is to use the book, the teacher naming a word and asking the children to put their fingers on it. The perception cards are then used in combination with the book, each child having a card and finding the word in the book. If he is correct the teacher taps him on the shoulder. Later, the cards are used alone, the children naming the words, as the teacher holds up the cards, without looking at book or chart.
Each lesson is selected and designed to teach a consonant or a vowel sound. The teacher recites the poem, emphasizing the sound, which the children are asked to reproduce individually, in whisper, in the teacher's ear, then in concert. The words are found that contain the sound, the symbol is presented, the sound is studied from the book in supplementary material, a type word is taught, and other words built from the type.
Sentences, made of phrases from the lesson are printed on the board and read and finally the sentences in the Reader are read.
Many devices may be used in connection with method as incentives to effort,-seeing who can name the most words on the chart; graphs made of a week's record, seeing who can put the story together first (use cut-up story) or, who can name every word in a list printed on the board.
All this is not the work of one or two or three days. It may be two weeks' work,-it may be more or less, but so many different ways can be devised for its use that the story does not lose its interest.
We are reading the eighth lesson in twelve weeks,-not a speedy record, but what matters that if we do learn to read?
I do not suggest the name of the book used because it is not my purpose to advertise a book. The method surely works with these children and, in a measure, establishes the study habit which is essential, if possible, for defective as well as for normal children.
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SAMUEL J. KELLY
One of the best grounded of the many complaints registered against the public schools is that we have been accustomed to give pupils work to do without teaching them how to do it. Children have passed through the successive stages of our educational system emerging somewhere along the line with no power of concentration or skill in application, those qualities most essential for efficiency or success. On the other hand habits of mental slovenliness, time wasting and low ideals of achievement have developed.
The educational Call of the Day forces this upon our attention and we are at last beginning, largely through compulsion, to give it the consideration deserved. The prominence it receives in this conference tends to verify my statement. School men and women are everywhere recognizing it as a most pressing problem and are floundering around endeavoring to reach a satisfactory solution. We find ourselves in exactly the same position as that imposed upon our boys and girls. We are given something to do but no one has thus far shown us how it can best be done.
In general the answer seems to be found in a close and systematic supervision of the work done while it is being done. As study is the means principally used to perform the tasks of the school room then teaching how to study necessarily becomes the most vital function thereof. To organize and install a practicable scheme for supervision of study is one of our greatest administrative responsibilities.
The solution of the problem involves two elements. The first is time. It is necessary to arrange a satisfactory program or schedule and then secure sufficient time to carry it out. The former presents but little difficulty. The best answer seems to lie in the double period with the various subjects coming in proper sequence and with proper allotment. In attempting, however, to secure the amount of time needed we encounter many obstacles.
It has long been my opinion that all of the work of the school room should be done between the opening and closing of school so that when the pupils leave at the end of the last session the work for the day is completed. There are several reasons for this. Boys and girls are entitled to the satisfaction which comes from definite achievement. To know positively that a certain piece of work is finished is, doubtless, the greatest source of encouragement. The opposite is equally discouraging. We know this to be true in mature years. Why should it not be equally so with the young?
Secondly, the home is no place for study for conditions are not right and parents are not competent instructors. The immature mind readily becomes a victim of such distracting influences as the piano, the phonograph or the family chatter while parents as a rule have not the ability or the
honesty to properly direct lessons. Furthermore, if it could be done such an arrangement would not be fair to the teacher. If she is to be held responsible for training the child to work then the work should be done directly under her supervision.
Let us then extend our school day just as much as we can without overtaxing the children, overburdening the teachers or causing unreasonable inconvenience to the patrons. The widely different home conditions in the various sections of the city creates the main difficulty. In districts where one or both parents leave home early for their employment the children are usually up at a corresponding hour and can readily be induced to come to school accordingly. In fact they are much better off thereby. The same pertains to the close of the session. But in those homes where the theory of the early bird is regarded as fallacious it is extremely difficult to introduce, at least without vigorous protest, anything that savors of the contrary. A protest also comes if an attempt is made to prolong the afternoon for music lessons, dancing classes and social engagements must be reckoned with,
It is obvious that two different time schedules could not be used in the same system. To say the least the one responsible would not be able to maintain his popularity in the schools with the longer hours even though it be for the benefit of those concerned. A satisfactory adjustment offers us an excellent opportunity to exercise our administrative skill.
In summarizing I would suggest making the school day as long as it can consistently be made, eliminating all subject matter that is not absolutely required, reducing the recitation so far as it is a pumping process to the irreducible minimum and giving a definite time for the preparation of the lesson either directly following or immediately preceding the so-called reciting. The following is the time schedule used in the elementary schools of Binghamton. It shows how we are meeting the time problem satisfactorily in our grades. With the high school program we have had more trouble thus far not being able to plan for all work to be done in school or for supervision of study conducted by the teacher of each subject.
The second great administrative problem is the teacher element.
I. How are we to secure teachers who have a vision so they can see clearly the meaning of supervised study and its possibilities?
II. How can these teachers be made to acquire the necessary ability to meet intelligently and with skill the varying conditions resulting from differences in grades, subjects and pupils?
III. How can we eliminate the teacher who will not play fair and forego her pleasure in being a pedagogical pump instead of an inspirational director of work?
The editors of UNGRADED are glad to present to their readers information concerning one of the most recent of the many organizations interested in education. This organization is known as Association for the Advancement of Progressive Education. The executive headquarters are at 1818 N Street, Northwest, Washington, D. C. The program which the association has set as its own is given below:
DEFINITION OF PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION The aim of Progressive Education is the freest and fullest development of the individual, based upon the scientific study of his physical, mental, spiritual, and social characteristics and needs. Progressive Education as thus defined implies the following conditions:
1. Freedom to Develop Naturally The conduct of the pupil should be self-governed according to the social needs of his community, 'rather than by arbitrary laws. This does not mean that liberty should be allowed to become license, or that the teacher should not exercise authority when it proves necessary. Full opportunity for initiative and self-expression should be provided, together with an environment rich in interesting material that is available for the free use of every pupil.
2. Interest the Motive of All Work Interest should be satisfied and developed through: (1) Direct and indirect contact with the world and its activities, and use of the experience thus gained. (2) Application of knowledge gained, and correlation between different subjects. (3) The consciousness of achievement.
3. The Teacher a Guide, Not a Task-Master It is essential that teachers believe in the aims and general principles of Progressive Education. They should be thoroughly prepared for the profession of teaching, and should have latitude for the development of initiative and originality. They should be possessed of personality and character; and should be as much at home in all the activities of the school, such as the pupils' play, their dramatic productions, and their social gatherings, as they are in the class room. Ideal teaching conditions demand that classes be small, especially in the elementary school years.
Progressive teachers will encourage the use of all the senses, training the pupils in both observation and judgment; and instead of hearing recitations only, will spend most of the time teaching how to use various sources of information, including life activities as well as books; how to reason about the information thus acquired; and how to express forcefully and logically the conclusions reached. Teachers will inspire a desire