Bangor students take trip back in time to 19th century schoolhouse

Posted June 13, 2014, at 5:43 a.m.
Robbie Giles raises his hand to answer a question from Miss Patty, who was portraying a 19th century schoolteacher.  Third-graders from Bangor Christian School took a field trip to the one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Robbie Giles raises his hand to answer a question from Miss Patty, who was portraying a 19th century schoolteacher. Third-graders from Bangor Christian School took a field trip to the one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
Third-graders Ava O'Kresik (left), Lyndsee Reed, Mary Ruth Dakin (back left) and Hope St. John use pen and ink to write an essay about summer. The kids were on a field trip to the one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Third-graders Ava O'Kresik (left), Lyndsee Reed, Mary Ruth Dakin (back left) and Hope St. John use pen and ink to write an essay about summer. The kids were on a field trip to the one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
Old schoolbooks sit on the wood stove in the former Holden South District Schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Old schoolbooks sit on the wood stove in the former Holden South District Schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
Students enter the one-room schoolhouse at the start of their field trip to the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Students enter the one-room schoolhouse at the start of their field trip to the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
Gavin Stanwood, a third-grader at Bangor Christian School, begins a writing assignment with pen and ink at  the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Gavin Stanwood, a third-grader at Bangor Christian School, begins a writing assignment with pen and ink at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
Ava O'Kresik, a third-grader at Bangor Christian School, pays close attention to Miss Patty, who was portraying a teacher from 1867.  Patty Henner, director of the Page Farm & Home Museum at the University of Maine, takes children back in time to see what it was like to be students in 1867.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Ava O'Kresik, a third-grader at Bangor Christian School, pays close attention to Miss Patty, who was portraying a teacher from 1867. Patty Henner, director of the Page Farm & Home Museum at the University of Maine, takes children back in time to see what it was like to be students in 1867. Buy Photo
Rhowen Campbell writes an essay about summer with pen and ink on parchment paper at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. She and her third-grade class were on a field trip to learn about being a student in 1867.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Rhowen Campbell writes an essay about summer with pen and ink on parchment paper at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. She and her third-grade class were on a field trip to learn about being a student in 1867. Buy Photo
Third-grade students use chalk and slate boards to write poems for recitation on a field trip to the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Third-grade students use chalk and slate boards to write poems for recitation on a field trip to the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
A quill pen sits on a desk in the front of the one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
A quill pen sits on a desk in the front of the one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo
Third-graders Ryan Libby (from left), Brady Campbell and Micah Robert use pen and ink to write an essay about summer at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Third-graders Ryan Libby (from left), Brady Campbell and Micah Robert use pen and ink to write an essay about summer at the Page Farm & Home Museum on Tuesday. Buy Photo

“Make your manners,” a woman’s voice says as children come into the one-room schoolhouse through two doors — boys on the left side, girls on the right.

Make your manners?

Miss Patty Henner, portraying a 19th century teacher, explains that children are expected to bow and curtsy to their teacher and then take their seats. Again, separated. Boys on one side of the room and girls on the other.

That was the start of a field trip I chaperoned with my daughter’s third-grade class from Bangor Christian School on Tuesday.

The restored one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum, on the campus of the University of Maine, is a window to the past. Students were educated in the Holden South District schoolhouse between 1855 and 1955. Since it was trucked to the museum grounds in 1994, scholars have gone there to learn what it was like to be a student in 1867.

The kids started their morning with “slate work” and recitations.

“Toe the line,” Miss Patty says.

What exactly does that mean?

As the class of 8- and 9-year-olds learned, students put their toes to a line and recite while facing the teacher, not the students.

Patty Henner, director of the Page Farm & Home Museum, enjoys portraying a 19th century teacher.

“It’s fun to take the kids back in time and see what school was like in 1867,” Henner said.

As the kids wrote on slate boards, some broke their chalk in half. And when they wrote with pen and ink, some wound up with torn paper and splotches of ink. Both methods of writing — while actually old-fashioned — were new and exciting.

“My favorite part was when we used the slate boards,” said Hope St. John. “We use dry erase boards every day so slate was fun.”

When it came to pen and ink, “It’s hard when you get blobs and try to erase it because it smudges,” said Robbie Giles of his trials with the new tool.

But for some, the best part of the day had nothing to do with learning.

Veronica Mercier enjoyed the separation of boys and girls.

“I wish that could still happen. The boys on one side and the girls on the other,” she said. “Buh-bye (boys)!”

 

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