While it wasn't exactly the "Pioneer Days" back in 1914, the picture was a great way to start a discussion this morning about what we notice about the way stores have changed and the way they have stayed the same.
Since I'm asking the children to speak in full sentences that include a part of the question, the illustration provided us with a very rich discussion opportunity. Speaking in full sentences will also assist the boys and girls in their writing.
From here, we talked about how the children in the pioneer days were taught in a one-room schoolhouse and used slates and chalk instead of using paper and pencils.
One of my favourite and most effective learning tools (in addition to that whisper-phone I mentioned the other day) is a white-board.
I love that I am able to provide each child in the class with their own board, marker and eraser because the participation and learning just soars when we use them. It's a very effective, very low-tech learning tool that can be used across all subject areas for a variety of purposes.
The boys and girls understand that if they misuse their slates or are not following my instructions while using them (e.g. doodling on them instead of doing the work assigned), they'll loose them for a week.
We're going to pay homage to our pioneer friends by referring to our white-boards as "slates" for the year.
The kids also got a kick out of learning all the ways their teacher violates the pioneer "Teacher Contract": wears jewelry, paints her nails, shows her ankles, annnndddd she even eats ice-cream in public with her husband! Tsk. Tsk.