Plan Your Visit

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Role Playing

Teachers: Your students will surely anticipate your visit to Pittsboro's One Room school as a "fun" day and probably not even think about the educational implications.  Students will actually be a part of a history lesson.  Hopefully, it will be an experience they will never forget, so please try to make your day at Pittsboro as authentic as possible.  The students will portray pupils from a century ago while you take the part of the oldest student in the classroom.

You will need to prepare your students in advance for this step back into history.  They need time to think about what it means to "role play", and may even need some opportunities to practice doing this.  The schoolmaster or schoolmarm you have on the day of your visit may refer to "getting into character" or "stepping out of character", so you will probably want to think about the following areas:

  1. You and your students will be going back in time to a specific date, 1892.  Review the period from 1870 to 1920.  Discuss everyday life during the Victorian era.  Talk about life without electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, cars or television.
  2. Plan to dress the part.  Discuss appropriate clothing and share photographs and drawings of Victorian dress. 
  3. Lunches will be something students will enjoy preparing before their visit also.  Discuss the possible menu items and how their lunch should be packed.  Students may want to bring small blankets or rugs for eating lunches outdoors if weather permits.  The drink for the day will be water from the water bucket.  Be sure to talk about this with students and explain why they can't bring sodas or bottled drinks.  Students will make their own paper drinking cup.
  4. Talk to your students about reading groups.  Explain how there were lots of different ages of children in a one-room school and therefore it was absolutely necessary for a teacher to work with small groups while other students worked at their seats.  Students will be divided into reading groups according to the level of the book at their desk.  Students in the one-room school would have been in grades one through eight, aged five to twenty years old.  Often it took several years to complete a "level".  Students worked at their own pace.  Older students might have tutored younger students in reading and math.
  5. Students are given names of actual students who attended the one-room school in 1911.  The wooden name tags are on the desks.  Boys are seated on the left.  Girls are seated on the right.

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