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her ample storehouse. She feasts him on her luscious fruits, regales his ear with her rich music, fascinates his eye with her gorgeous coloring, and ravishes his smell with her exquisite odors.
In others, again, in the colder portions, where little grows or can grow, the inhabitants are few, and they become inured to hardship, and do but little else than perform the natural functions which carry them through a brief and precarious existence. The few brute animals and vegetable productions thereof, partake of the same low grade of properties and qualities, and exhibit a rigid adaptation to what may be termed the law of the climate.
Hence, the pupil may be led to know what to expect from man, beast, fruit, and flower, by ascertaining the part of the globe — mainly the latitude -in which they are found. Taking a list of the districts of a country, cities, and large towns, and comparing them, the known with the unknown, a pretty correct idea may be formed of the temperature and natural productions of each; the probable vigor, effeminacy, and habits of the people. This rule is not to be taken without limitation, for modifications, more or less considerable, are produced by circumstances, which should be pointed out by the teacher.
An agreeable mode of giving a practical character to this part of our subject, and one that is adopted in some schools, is, for the teacher to read from a mercantile newspaper some of the various advertise, ments of the merchants, making them texts to be commented upon, and to form the basis of a catechetical exercise. Here we read of tea, gunny bags, saltpetre, mace, sumac, spelter, coffee, indigo, cassia, opium, sugar, hemp. Now the question is, first, Whence came they? or, in more familiar language, Where did they come from? This question may be followed by others, in variety, to any extent that the time of the teacher will permit; as, Where is the place? is it a city? an island? what is the article advertised? what are other productions of the same place or country? the habits of the people? their history? their government? the population of their chief cities? their religion? &c.; bringing out more thought and imparting more information than the same amount of time could do in almost any other course. I am aware that the lack of time would not allow every teacher to indulge himself and his school, to any great extent, in this interesting and useful exercise; but still, in my judgment, if but fifteen minutes daily were to be thus appropriated, the advantage to the school would be great, and the good effects on the families represented therein would be strikingly observable. How many persons there are, on all sides of us, that have not the slightest idea, even, of the countries which produce the most common articles of daily domestic consump
tion or use, and even the meaning of the names of many articles constantly advertised in commercial papers! What is learned at school is usually talked about at home; and especially any new idea about things, that comes to the learner in a pleasant way, without the formality of an assigned task, and, consequently, without study.
In connection with this exercise, the routes usually pursued by navigators to and from the several ports, from which the articles of commerce, that become the subject of conversation, are imported, would be found a matter of curiosity and interest; and I believe none of our school-books in present use refer to the subject at all. I do not complain of this, but would recommend to the teacher to introduce it along with this miscellaneous exercise, as sure to give much satisfaction to the inquiring minds among his pupils. Caleb Bingham, the best teacher that Boston had in his time, had some questions and answers of this kind, in his little work, called The Geographical Catechism, which in my childhood was a great favorite with me, and whose impression, although many a long year has passed since I studied it as a class-book, is still vivid and pleasant in my memory.
Among other facilities for illustrating the subject of geography, are the raised maps, or maps in relief, representing the inequalities of the surface of the earth. These maps are found highly useful with the advanced classes of a school, whose members are capable of comprehending the scale of comparison introduced, and always fix and reward their attention. They are confined principally to mountainous countries, but are not without interest when typifying those that are comparatively flat. Several have been imported, representing. Italy, Switzerland, Europe, Germany and the Netherlands, France and Belgium, Mont Blanc and environs, and others,-whose most prominent mountains can be easily recognized by those who have travelled in the several countries, and have felt a sufficient interest in the subject to ascend their grand elevations, and institute comparisons between them. Those of the greatest altitudes loom up, even in these miniature models, with a degree of grandeur not readily anticipated, when the scale on which they are necessarily projected for school uses is considered; and they challenge the admiration of the young student, as, assisted by them and his own imagination, he climbs their snowy tops, and looks, almost giddy, into the vales below.
In some portions of a country denominated "hilly," the surface of the map is little more irregular than the outside of an orange; while that of others, like Mont Blanc, presents very striking elevations.
Thus, from the ordinary hill to the lofty peaks of the Alps, a careful, and, apparently, correctly-graduated scale, is adopted and followed throughout. Every teacher, therefore, who can command a set of these maps, would find great utility in their use.
They might be used to advantage in connection with the engraved classification of mountains, found in many school atlases.
The mere learning by rote of the names and heights of mountains, of the elevations and depressions from the surface of the sea of various territories, can make no impression on the mind to compare in permanency with what is acquired through the medium of the eye, assisted by the judgment; and hence these maps have claims superior to the other means of instruction and illustration, which have usually been found in the schools.
I have purposely avoided making the discriminations of Physical, Mathematical, and Political geography, because I wished to range freely and at large over the wide field embraced in the general subject; and because I believe that, in traversing the surface of the globe, unfettered by technicalities or rigid rules, I could appropriately touch upon any topic having near relations to the soil, and what it is producing, or has produced, worthy of being known to the young. Method is well, and there are studies which require a rigorous adherence to it, and particularly as the student advances in years and mental capacity; but, as I wander with my pupil, for a peripatetic lesson, and call his attention to the flower by the wayside, the rock of the crag, or the lofty tree of the forest, so, in the survey of the crust of the planet we inhabit, I cannot willingly pass specimens of the striking, the noble, or the instructive, without endeavoring to turn it to a profitable account.
We cannot make the school-boy's task too agreeable. There is no danger that he will not have labor enough, and vexation enough, and confinement to his books and the school-room sufficient to exercise all his patience and temper, his memory, his reasoning powers, and his physical endurance,-give him what auxiliaries we may. And this should always be borne in mind. The work that he is capable of doing I would require of him; but whatever of sunlight can be thrown in upon his path of intellectual toil should not be withheld. He will then not only acquire more, and comprehend what might otherwise be obscure in his mind, but will enjoy as he labors, and thus be encouraged to press on to higher and nobler attainments, urged by his own wishes and feelings, rather than by the requisitions of those who direct him. This is not only desirable for the pupil's sake, but changes the teacher's task to a delightful recreation.
PLANS OF UNION SCHOOL-HOUSE IN ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN.
THE grounds of the Public High School or Union School in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, occupy an entire square-in the center of which (Figure 2) the building stands. That portion which is in front is planted with trees and shrubbery, so dispersed with intervals of green sward and parterres of flowers, by an experienced gardener, as to produce the finest effect. The portion in the rear is divided into two yards, appropriately fitted up for the recreations of either sex.
Fig. 2. GROUNDS.
The building is three stories high, as is shown in Figure 1, besides a basement 9 feet high. The first and second stories are each 12 feet, and the third story, which is finished in one hall, used for chapel and other general exercises of the school, is 16 feet in the clear.
The two wings on the first and second floors are occupied by class-rooms, (A.) each 36 by 37 feet-those on one side for girls and those on the other for boyseach class-room having a large recitation room (B) On the lower floor one of these rooms is occupied by the library, and the other by apparatus. There are appropriate rooms (D. E. C.) for depositing outer garments. The furniture is of the latest and best style for strength and convenience. Ventilation is secured by separate flues, (V.) and the entire building is heated by air, warmed by furnaces in the basement, and introduced at different points (h.)
The grounds, the school-house, and the school constitute one of the attractions of Ann Arbor.