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by Sheri Sohm. Schools reflect the culture of the time.
Deseret News article, 'Education in the Territory' from 'Schools, They Went With the Territory' by Twila Van Leer, July 3,1994 (article and statistics page)
Early settlers felt that education was extremely important and quickly set up public and private schools to provide for the needs of their children. Using an authentic graph showing statistics from an earlier time, students can compare and contrast schools from the present and the past. Teachers may use 'the school' to examine differing dress styles, educational issues, school architectural styles, and cultural attitudes.
There are many options for teachers who wish to study the 'Utah School.' Students may wish to research the history of their school or the school that they would have attended 100 years ago. Students might collect historical information about their school in the form of pictures, school records or oral histories.
In the spirit of Utah's centennial, students may wish to create a history of their school to be submitted to the Utah State Office of Education or the Utah Heritage Foundation.
See preface material for the Utah Centennial Lesson Plans book.
Distribute the article 'Education in the Territory' for students.
Ask students to read the Report on School Enrollment, Growth of Public Schools, 1880 Census, List of Equipment at the University of Deseret, and the Admonition to Teachers. They will answer the following questions:
Examine school records, library and historic collections. As a class or student council project, compile historic information about the school for a centennial project. What resources are available to help with this collection? The list could include the school library, older neighbors, the local library, the county recorders office, historical pictures, diaries, etc.
Ask students to write about a favorite school day. Encourage details to help future students visualize the school and its daily activities.
Create a photo display picturing teachers, clothing styles, the school building etc.
Identify a Utah school that has celebrated its own centennial. Encourage students to contact the school to discover how they researched the information that was collected about their school.
Invite speakers to share stories about the 'olden school days.'
Create a time capsule. Design a capsule that will last 100 years. Brainstorm the types of objects to be considered for the capsule. Ask students to prioritize and justify their choices.
Write a letter to a student 100 years from today. What would make interesting reading for the student of the future? Relate details that describe a normal day at school.
Note to teachers:
For further lessons on a 'Utah School,' refer to the Unit from Expanding the Curriculum. (Unit obtainable from the Utah State Office of Education.)