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'One Room' Filled with School Memories, Lessons

A one-room school student prepares lunch for her classmates

Return to one-room school days in the new Wisconsin Historical Society Press book for young readers, 'One Room Schools: Stories from the Days of 1 Room, 1 Teacher, 8 Grades' by Susan Apps-Bodilly. The book chronicles life in Wisconsin's early country schools and details the experiences of the students and the role of the teacher. It also provides examples of the curriculum, including the Wisconsin School of the Air radio programs. Special chapters recall school lunches featuring soup warmed on wood stoves, as shown above, and programs like the annual Christmas pageant that were highlights of a community's social calendar.

Drawing on the Experiences of Others

The cover of "One Room Schools"
The author drew from one-room school experiences of her father, and fellow Wisconsin Historical Society Press author, Jerry Apps and others to bring the stories of the small country schools to a new generation of students. She details the duties children had at school in addition to their schoolwork, from cleaning the erasers and sweeping cobwebs out of the outhouse to carrying in wood for the stove. She also shares the directions for favorite one-room school recess games like Fox and Geese and Anti-I-Over.

The book is designed to transport young readers back in time and encourage the sharing of school-days stories between generations. "One Room Schools" also contains directions to 10 one-room schools in Wisconsin that are open for tours, including the Wisconsin Historical Society's Reed School site in Neillsville, the interior of which is featured on the cover. An e-book edition of "One Room Schools" is available.

About the Author

Susan Apps-Bodilly has been an elementary and middle-school teacher for more than 20 years. She teaches second- and third-grade students. She holds a reading teacher license and has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She also loves biking or hiking in the woods with her family.

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:: Posted December 12, 2013

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