Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fabulous Finds!

Happy Easter!!

I am so excited to be sharing with you some of the amazing things I found this weekend.

My family and I go every 6 months to an antique fair in Warrenton, Texas, a small town just past Round Top. People come from all over the country to sell their treasures from the past and present. I gear up with a giant bag of delicious freshly-popped kettle corn and a sweet tea snow cone, put on my most comfortable tennis shoes and hit the gravel for three days of junk huntin'! Imagine row after row of this:

... that basically sums up the experience!

I love this place so much because you never know quite what you will find. People sell furniture, food, clothes, these creepy baby doll heads... I know, I had no words either.

But no matter where I go, I am always drawn to the same thing- school books from the past- or anything to do with education for that matter. I am highly intrigued by the kinds of things kids from different periods in time learned, how they learned it, in what kind of setting it was learned, how it was practiced, tested, you get the picture. I love to study which educational trends have come and gone and why, and just how the nature of 'school' itself has evolved over the years. I collect old school books, teacher's guides, practice books, all of it. As you can tell, I'm kind of a nerd. :)

So, one morning as I was meandering through booths of random stuff, I found these amazing treasures to add to my collection-  and I wanted to share them with you!

First up, I found these super cool (and super old) math problem cards. The title on the box read "A Thousand Regents' Questions in Arithmetic."

 I was immediately curious and upon looking inside, I found that it contained 1,000 math problems, each color coded by topic. The box said they were made for the University of the State of New York in 1880- yes- 1880!!! I was so excited to find this! I have never seen anything even remotely similar to this. Gold!

The problems inside were very complex. Here is a sample of two of them:

I was amazed at the level of difficulty- and this stuff had to be done without a calculator! I would not even want to attempt to do some of the problems in this box.

I also found a grammar book called Fun with Words: Step by Step in English. The inside cover said it was used by the state of Texas in 1940- neat!

I love how the book is written directly to the student, just like a teacher would be talking. I found this page about asking questions and it cracked me up! It talked about how there is a difference between asking a good question and a bad question. A good question is one that is polite and a bad question is one that could potentially hurt someone's feelings. Check out this excerpt- love it!

My favorite book find, though, was this book called Rural School Management from 1924. I stood in the booth flipping through the pages debating whether or not to buy it, working up my courage to negotiate the price- which I never do too well- and I decided that I just had to have it- and I was willing to pay full price! No need to haggle for this gem!

The book is written with the intended audience to be the teacher- that ONE woman who would be running the one room school house and teaching children from rural areas ALL the subjects in ALL the grades 1-8 in the state of Iowa. I cannot wait to read it. The women who were able to do this were simply amazing.

Knowing that this book was in the hands of the real women who tackled this feat gives me chills.

While reading the first few pages, I came across this paragraph in a section that was describing the characteristics of a great teacher of rural children, but it so perfectly describes what every teacher does that I just had to share it.

Is that not the most eloquent description of teaching you have ever read? I am hooked. I will be snuggling up with my blanket and this book tonight and inhaling that wonderful musty smell that can only come from an aged book :) No Kindle for this girl!  I told you I was a nerd!

Besides old books, I also found another fabulous item and I cannot wait to share it with my kiddos!

Apart from being a book nerd, I am also a rock lover! I love rocks- geology in general. I love that our small little planet can produce such amazing formations and transform the landscape in such spectacular ways. For a day or so I actually thought about changing my degree from education to geology because I am so fascinated by it all. Anyway, I digress...

In the middle of two booths selling massive architectural pieces, I found... an intact geode!! I have been wanting one of these since I was a little girl. I have collected several small pieces of geodes over the years, but I have never owned an entire rock that has yet to be cracked open! I found a guy that was selling all kinds of interesting rocks. He had the already cracked open geodes, but I was only interested in this baby: my very own geode!!

He had a big crate full of them and I got to pick out my very own! He even gave me a discount when he found out I was a teacher and my mom gave him the "it's for the kids" speech. Love it! I'm tellin' ya, sometimes we just have to pull the teacher card!  I felt like a kid in a candy store! Inside this baby will be thousands of tiny sparking quartz crystals! Hopefully it will look something like this..

I'm wanting to crack it open with the kiddos, so I should have a good time figuring out how to make that happen without a kid getting an eye knocked out by pieces of rock.  I'm seeing a full science lab with little scientists decked out with their gear in the near future! If I'm able to pull it off, I'll post pictures for sure!!

I did manage to take my mind off of school for a while! I picked up some cute things for the house, ate some amazingly delicious food, and spent lots of quality time with the people I love. It was a great weekend!

Now on to something that YOU can actually use-

I was blog-browsing, catching up on all of my reading after three days with no internet, and found these two great resources that AMC at Looking From Third to Fourth shared in her post about writing workshop last Wednesday. The link above will take you to her post where you can read about how she organizes her writing workshop materials- great stuff!

First: A personal thesaurus for kids to use when they write. This booklet contains synonyms for those all-too-commonly-used words like 'said,' 'walk,' 'talk,' you get the idea. You can print it free from
this website. The teacher who originally posted this - Mrs. Saunders- also shares some other great resources on her website.

Second: My Quick Word Dictionary- a booklet with pages for each letter of the alphabet (some pages have more than one letter) with frequently misspelled words and blanks to add words of your own. You can print it here from Lee's Summit School District Resources Website. This site also has some other good stuff for reading and writing that's worth looking through.

I'll be putting these two resources to use this week! Thanks again for sharing, AMC!

Well, it's nice and dark and the rain is pouring. I'm headed to my chair with my book and blanket. If I come across anything else in Rural School Management that's interesting, I'll be sure to share!!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!


  1. Thanks for the shout out. I love hearing that some one found something on my blog helpful.

    1. You are very welcome!!! Thanks for being so awesome and sharing your resources!!!


  2. What awesome prizes you found! I love that exerpt from the book. Very, very cool! I would love to go to a place like that!


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