Billeder på siden

included the problems of food, clothing, and shelter in a local environment. Definite topics resulted, such as the kind of home, its equipment, the occupations of the men and women, and the play and work of the Indian boys and girls. The children delighted in the comparison with their own home-life and were quick to seize upon their own advantages. They lived in the Indian world for the time being. Tepees were decorated and set up, canoes built and launched upon the water, clay kettles swung upon sticks, and corn planted. The village needed to be inhabited, and a touch of reality was added by making clay figures of men and women in their various occupations. The men were represented smoking the peace pipe, hunting the wild animals, or fishing along the streams; while the Indian women were set up in front of their wigwams grinding corn in a mortar, or out on the hills gathering firewood, with the little Indian babies strapped upon their backs. The Indian costumes excited great interest, too, and the children worked out some original designs, repeating simple units and putting in the vivid Indian coloring with good effect.

The children's sympathies were aroused, and their minds were full of vivid images; consequently the symbols of the words which were needed to express them were quickly and easily acquired. The reading lessons were spontaneous and full of interest, and the children attacked their problems with enthusiasm and determination. With the youngest group, the lessons were presented entirely from the blackboard, and a limited amount of the material was used. A definite vocabulary was kept in mind, and sufficient amount of repetition was provided to impress the symbols presented. With the older group, who had already a fair vocabulary, the possibilities were much larger. The children retold in short, clear sentences what they had learned in the history hour, or described in simple language what they had made during the manual-training period. These short sentences, childlike in form, but full of meaning to the class, were written on the blackboard and used as reading lessons for the day.

The following are some of the reading lessons which were

[graphic][merged small]

presented orally by the children and then read from the black


Hiawatha was an Indian boy.

Hiawatha lived with his grandmother.
Hiawatha lived in a wigwam.

Hiawatha slept in a cradle.
The bird sings to Hiawatha.
The squirrel talks to Hiawatha.
The rabbit plays with Hiawatha.
The big water sings to Hiawatha.
The tree bows to Hiawatha.

Hiawatha has a bow and arrow.
He will not shoot his chickens.

He will not shoot his brothers.
He will shoot a deer.

Hiawatha shot the deer.

Hiawatha will carry the deer home.

He will skin the deer.

He will make a coat out of the skin.

It was night.

Hiawatha was asleep.

It was dark.

It was very still.

Hiawatha heard an owl.

The owl was crying.

Hiawatha was afraid.

Hiawatha's grandmother told him not to be afraid.

Hiawatha heard his grandmother singing.

Hiawatha went to sleep again.

This experiment indicates that the time to teach the symbol of a word is when the image it describes is clear and vivid, and while there is an emotional response in the mind of the child. The topic has been full of poetic suggestion and childlike conceptions, but has been most valuable because it has kept a problem constantly before the children which required all their ingenuity to solve.





The necessity for bird-protection is shown in the results of an exhaustive inquiry made by Mr. William T. Hornaday, of the New York Zoological Garden.1 He found that the decrease in bird-life in thirty states for the fifteen years previous to 1898 averaged 46 per cent.. Nebraska showed the least decrease, with only ten per cent.; Florida the greatest, with 77 per cent. When we grasp the significance of these figures, we are appalled and at once seek the causes of this destruction. As soon as we learn the birds' enemies, we can begin to eliminate many of the causes of decrease and procure means for the reinstatement of our former feathered neighbors.

The best way to provide for the future is to teach the children the beauty of birds, and that they are not only harmless, but even of important economic value. Their worth as insect- and weeddestroyers will stimulate interest, especially if there is a garden where these pests are at work.

The lawmakers of the country have been made to realize the importance of protecting birds, and many laws have been passed imposing fines for killing birds and destroying nests and eggs. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to enforce these laws with enough rigidity to produce the desired effect. That further effort is necessary is obvious, and means that each and every one of us must be careful to live up to the letter of the law and use his influence on those with whom he comes in contact.

The subject of bird-protection brings forward the following questions: Why this absence of birds? How can we attract birds? How can we protect those already here? How can we best exert an influence on others?

1 W. T. Hornaday, "The Destruction of Our Birds and Mammals," Second Annual Report of the New York Zoological Society, pp. 77-126.

« ForrigeFortsæt »