Watching the school buses on Monroe Street one day started me thinking about how different the school supplies are today the kids use. When I was in grade school and high school (50’s and 60’s) no one used a back pack. Those were for people out hiking in the mountains.
1st grade; all we needed was the big pencil a Big Chief Tablet, the tablet to learn to print the alphabet and of course the largest box of crayons we could get our parents to buy and blunt nosed scissors. The writing tablet had alternating solid and dotted lines. The dotted lines showed us where the lower case letters were to end and the capitals were between the solid lines. Writing cursive started second grade I think.
2nd grade: we still didn’t use hard back books. We had little work books. They were just paper and a little bigger than a piece of typing paper folded in half. We learned cursive writing and reading in those little paper work books.
If we got a 100 score on anything the teachers would put a stamp on the page. These were very special and we worked hard to get the stamp. Some of the teachers had seasonal stamps; pumpkins for Halloween, Christmas trees or Santa for Christmas, hearts for Valentines Day, and of course bunnies or decorated eggs for Easter. We proudly showed these stamps off to everyone.
In the second grade we had spelling tablets, which were long and narrow like the note pads or grocery list pads we use today. They were perforated so they could be handed in to be graded. Some of the teachers after we had the spelling test would have us hand it the person behind or in front of us and we would check them as she spelled the word to us. Then they were handed to her so she could enter the score in her book.
3rd grade; we added, to the other supplies, a black box of 8 primary water color paints and the paint brush. We also had a bottle of white glue for crafts and we were allowed to have large pink erasers. This year we graduated to hard bound school books. Our teachers started to teach by lecturing and working on the blackboard. Our easy time was over in class and the serious learning had begun.
4th grade; our mom’s bought the books from the drug store. We graduated to note book paper and thought we were really big to get to use that. We also needed rulers. In the 4th grade everyone had what they called a flutophone. It was plastic and looked like a miniature clarinet. It made an awful squawking sound and I wonder how the teacher could stand that. Why did we need to learn to play them?? I would like know the answer to that question.
5th -8th grade; we carried the leather notebooks that zipped up to take home books for the work we hadn’t finished. Supplies didn’t change much the last 4 years in grade school. All we needed were pencils and notebook paper.
In high school we needed a new pair of white sneakers for Gym class each year. We were not allowed to walk on the Gym floor in street shoes. The finishes on the hard wood floors were not as strong as they are now. There was a line painted around the edge of the floor that you didn’t cross in street shoes.
Today a lot of what we used is still used 1-5 but they have to have glue sticks, and markers and ruled index cards we never used. They each have to take tissues and antibacterial hand sanitizer. Since they don’t learn cursive writing (which I think is a mistake) they probably go right to using computers about now.
6-8 grades today have to have a stapler, weekly planners and combination locks, 3 ring notebook and tabbed dividers and a one subject spiral notebook.
I wish kids today were taught, in high school or their jobs during high school, how to count back change from the amount of the bill up to the amount of money you hand them. They rely on the computer to tell them how much to give back and they just hand it to you (no counting). Smiths Market in Hutchinson is the only place I know of that makes them learn how to count it back right. It can catch mistakes easier than the other way.
School supplies and what they learn has sure changed over the years and computers and calculators don’t always make it a better education. Some things are better if you learn them by using your brain to work it out. To contact Sandy: [email protected]