Page images

The last book of the series--the Third Reader-is a bulky volume of 512 pages, and contains matter found in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Readers of other series. The great criticism that will doubtless be urged against this book is that the compiler did not go out of the field of school-book literature for inspiration.

The large number of selections taken from school-books will undoubtedly be criticised. A cursory inspection does not reveal a new selection. The preparatory exercises show painstaking and intelligent work.

The work of the State Board of Education, so far as completed, shows satisfactory results, compared to the means at their disposal for the accomplishment of their work.

The books already completed will soon be in use throughout the State, and we bespeak for the new series a cordial reception on the part of educators and pupils. All orders for books, by the provisions of the law, must come through the County Superintendent of Schools, and must be made on the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and be accompanied by cash in payment for the books ordered, at the prices named above.

The preparation of these books must have entailed an immense amount of extra labor on ex-State Superintendent Welcker and Professor Allen, who had the entire direction and supervision of the work. It was not merely in the time consumed-time which ordinarily and naturally would have been devoted to rest—but the additional responsibility entailed, the constant thought and study and investigation required, that demand at the hands of the people and their representatives in the Legislature a substantial and fair recognition.

We see that a bill has been introduced into both houses to remunerate exSuperintendent Welcker and Professor Allen, for their works on the Readers and Speller. In our judgment such a renumeration has been well-earned and is but scanty ustice.

Five thousand dollars each does not represent one-half the value of the services rendered --no professional worker would consent to perform the work for the same money. The great State of California can not afford to apps in the guise of a beggar before the brain workers of the country, and asl nem to bestow the choicest products of human skill and pre-eminence for little or nothing.

We hope the Legislature will unanimously pass the bill. It will prove that here on this Western Slope, literary effort, i. e. good literary effort, is appreciated, and that our commonwealth never expect something for nothing.

EDITORIAL NOTES. In an open letter to young teachers an “Old One" offers some excellent suggestions to those who are entering the honored career of the pedagogue. “ In the first place,” says the educational patriarch, "let me insist upon your taking a paper--some good educational periodical. You may never have



taught, perhaps are only preparing to do so. All the more reason why you should lay hold of every means to inform yourself, that you may make up for your lack of experience. If you have taught, even for years, you cannot afford to do without reading. There are new methods constantly being introduced, new ideas promulgated, and if you would be a live teacher, you must read what is going on in other schools. You can make use of other's ideas and plans, and in addition to this, by the incentive thus given, you may be enabled to evolve now and better methods of your own." For instance, take the present number of this JOURNAL, and, our word for it, there is not a new-beginner in the profession who would fail to drop upon something in its numerous pages which would not be of advantage to him or her in connection with the glorious science of school-teaching.

The systematic arrangement of a thorough plan of school inspection by the San Francisco Board of Education, and the election of ex-Superintendent James G. Kennedy, of San Jose, as Head Inspector, mark the beginning of an era of good school work for this city. The Board has done more than a creditable thing; it has set in motion a system that will redeem the schools; it will prove the means of making effective the entire sum now spent in teaching, and it will make the people feel that for every dollar of outlay in salaries they get back one hundred cents. Miss Fowler's services as Inspector, for the past four years, in this department, have been worth five times her salary. With Mr. Kennedy to join in the ork, with the Superintendent and the Deputy, H. W. Philbrook, this department will have the best force of inspectors and the most thorough supervision of any city on this continent.

The schools of San Francisco are having what may best be expressed as "a streak of good luck." For two years the Classification Committee of the Board of Education was led by Dr. C. T. Deane, a man whose signal ability and plentiful backbone have resulted in vast progress for the department. Dr. Deane's successor, Mr. C. B. Stone, much resembles him. A successful business man, he has the elements of business thoroughly developed; of keen insight into human character and motives, quick to perceive merit, and equally quick in detecting imperfections and shams; firm in the determination to administer the powers entrusted him in the interests of the people and of the fifty thousand children in the schools, his selection for the responsible position of Chairman of the Classification Committee is a public blessing.

SEVERAL of our most prominent educational contemporaries have already commenced booming the National Educational Association Exbibit, to take place in Chicago, July 12th an 15th. We are told that one of the distinguishing features will be the exhibit of the "tangible, instructive, helpful and hopeful” signs of progress gathered from the daily work of the pupils, especially from the five great States formed within the limits of the now famous Northwestern Territory. It seems to be the general opinion that, unless all signs fail, there will be the grandest Western exhibit of school work, especially in art, that has ever appeared. The special things to be exhibited are examination papers, drawings, paintings, designs, maps, kindergarten work and material, plastic, fabric and other products of art schools and benevolent institutions for the blind, deaf, etc.

The new Superintendent of San Francisco, Professor J. W. Anderson, enters on his duties with a vigor, intelligence and broad elasticity of spirit that foreshadow an administration both brilliant and of inestimable worth to the schools. He has already visited class after class in the department; has spoken words of cheer and encouragement to teachers, stimulated the pupils and familiarized himself with the merits and needs of every school. Let this continue, and we feel encouraged so to believe, and San Francisco will soon regain its former position, as the foremost city, educationally, in the Union.

THERE was complaint in this city, not long since, that certain principals and teachers had promoted pupils who were undeserving of such promotion. This is a very serious piece of business, and should not be tolerated. A conscientious educator will tell you that if pupils who are incapable or unwilling to do satisfactory work are continually weeded out by judicious and frequent tests, and kept in those grades suited to their ability, not only will the general character of our schools be very much elevated, but the teachers will be able to adapt their instruction to a higher plane of work.

We are told that the first and finest building in every Colorado village is the schoolhouse. The first schoolhouse opened in San Francisco was a little frame shanty in the southwest corner of Portsmouth square, costing, perhaps, not more than two or three hundred dollars—the average attendance being not over fifteen pupils. This was in the Fall of '49. There are seventy schoolhouses now-some of them quite creditable buildings, but the great majority of them would scarcely meet the approbation of the School Board of Timbuctoo.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Hoitt has made an admirable choice in the appointment of his Deputy, Mrs. Julia Hoitt, as will be seen in Superintendent Campbell's article, in this number, on the Oakland schools, was formerly a leading teacher in that department, and she has occupied similar leading positions in the San Francisco schools. In addition, she is a fine writer, and some of her poetic compositions are instinct with a true poetic fervor. We hope to hear from her in the JOURNAL.



GROUPING WORDS. A good exercise in language study is to write classified lists of words in response to such suggestions as these: Write all the words you can think of that are used to describe color, form, material, appearance, quality. Write five sentences which may be used to show size, and then five sentences containing these words. Write twenty verbs which express motion. Write the names of all the ees you have seen.

ADJECTIVES. One way to carry on this exercise is for the teacher to select a piece containing many adjectives, and read it aloud to her class, pausing before each adjective and letting the pupil in turn supply the modifying words. When the selection has been gone over in this way, she may read it as it is written. Again, write sentences on the board, leaving blanks to be filled with appropriate adjectives. Have the completed sentences road aloud, and it will impress the use and force of modifying elements in a sentence. At another time, assign a certain portion of a reading lesson, and ask the children to substitute new words for all the adjectives they find. You may require them to paraphrase the selection by substituting synonymous words, or they may use any words which can properly limit the nouns of the sentence.

PERSONAL DESCRIPTION. If this suggestion could be carried out in the spirit of the Golden Rule, it might be useful as a composition exercise. Teachers will require each papil to write about some other member of the class. Then let each description be read, omitting the name, and allow the class to guess the name from the description.

OUTLINE.-1. General. Age, hight-till, short or medium; body--stout, slender, thin, spare, corpulent.

5. Complexion. Dark, brunette, blonde, light, fair; color of eyes, hair, cheeks, etc.

3. Features. Forehead-high or low, etc.; nose-large, small, Roman, Grecian; eyes —large, small, dull, expressive; mouth, lips, teeth, ears, etc. 4. Dress. Material, color, style, etc.

SCHOOL POSTOFFICES. There is too much careless letter-writing. Pupils need especial drill in this branch of composition, but writing letters to imaginary persons for composition proctice is a spiritless exercise. A carefully supervised system of correspondence between the pupils of a school would be more useful because more real and more enjoyable. Different plans msy be tried. For instance, assign cities in different parts of the world to pupils, and let their letters to

each other be descriptive of the people, scenery, objects of interest, etc., of the places from which they are supposed to write. A school postoffice may be carried on under rules similar to the following:

1. Mail distributed each morning.

2. Each letter written by one scholar to another must coptain a question pertaining to some subject presented in some text-book used in the school.

3. The scholar receiving the letter must answer within one week from the time when received, and also state in his letter the number of mistakes found in the letter received.

5. Letters must contain no matter not pertaining to the school.

4. If scholars receive letters which they cannot answer, they may write and ask the teacher to assist them.

6. All written exercises given out in the classes must be directed to " The Teacher," and put in the office.

7. The postmaster will inform the school secretary of the number of letters distributed each morning, who will make a record of it in the school journal.

8. The teacher will claim the privilege of inspecting the letters at any time before distributing.

9. Each morning the postmaster will collect the letters distributed the day before and pass them to the teacher, who will correct and return them the next day.

10, The school secretary will make a record of the letters free from errors, and also state by whom written.

11. Letters must be neatly written and properly directed.

12. The teacher would be pleased to correspond with any scholars upon any subject pertaining to their lessons or to the school.

COOKERY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Miss Juliet Corson contributes an exhaustive and ably-written article to an Eastern paper on the policy of teaching cookery in public schools. In Boston and some progressive Western cities manual training for boys and sewing for girls is admitted to the public school system of instruction. The writer thinks that the time has passed when the majority of public school pupils come from a clase whose social aspirations and desires for culture exceed the limit of their finances. A quarter of a century ago parents may have desired that their daughters should acquire at public expense a degree of educational polish that they could not afford to secure privately. It is possible now that such aspirations may prevail to a limited extent so far as some grammar school pupils are concerned. Bat the number is small who attain any proficiency in such accomplishments, or who prolong scholastic life far enough to enter the normal school with the purpose of becoming teachers. A smattering of superficial educational graces may be called for by a small percentage of public school attendants who continue their studies beyond the

« PreviousContinue »