Christmas on Old Blackboards

5e343b4d9445c514cfb0c9accad654aa

Dear Reader:

In June of 2015 a high school in the Oklahoma City School District (Emerson High School) was undergoing renovations for the new school year when an amazing discovery was made.

As the construction crew began to take down some chalkboards to be replaced by “white boards” in four classroom they came across hundred-year-old blackboards with writings and drawings dating to November-December of 1917…the year the United States entered World War I.

What they found was enlightening to modern day educators…the penmanship was beautiful, lessons were aligned across the curriculums and problem solving for math used different (but successful) techniques to arrive at correct answers.

imrs

Obviously, the students were transitioning from Thanksgiving into Christmas and had started their December count-down calendar to Christmas.

Civics (good citizenship) was practiced every morning with this altered Pledge of Allegiance. (Definitely can see the influence of  WWI on families whose fathers, uncles, and sons had gone off to war.)

imrs-1

And check out the penmanship displayed by students….don’t we wish we could see this quality of writing again.

cgwo6a9uiaaljpw

The students were definitely using their own personal hand-drawn visuals to help them with arithmetic/math concepts.

imrs-2

The principal and staff were astounded how bright the colors from the colored chalk still were after all that time. The mystery is why everything stopped sometime around December 1. No one knows why…here is one thought on the puzzle.

“It’s like I walked into a time capsule,” said Sherry Kishore, the principal of Emerson High School in Oklahoma City. The school is being remodeled, and contractors taking down chalkboards in four classrooms discovered another set of blackboards hiding underneath.

The bottom sets seemingly haven’t had eyes on them since 1917, and while some of the teaching methods are dated, many of the pictures, words and numbers are in near-perfect condition.

I was shocked, first of all, that the colored chalk was so vibrant and still very colorful,” Kishore said. The pictures, probably drawn during November/pre-Thanksgiving lessons, show pilgrims, turkeys and children. A calendar is in the process of transitioning into December.

And a note from a custodian leads many who work at the school to believe that the preservation of the boards was intentional:

“We this day give this room slate blackboards,” says the note, signed R.J. Scott, custodian.

“We don’t know if anybody knew about the plan, but now we get to reap the rewards of his plan and get to see this beautiful work of art. That’s all I can call it, a work of art. It should be in a museum somewhere,” said Emerson teacher, Cinthea Comer.

Wherever the chalkboards end up, Robert Neu, the superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, said they will definitely be preserved, no matter what it takes. “It may mean we have to delay the start of school in these classrooms, but we’ve got to preserve these,” he said.

In addition to figuring out how to keep the boards in their pristine condition, school employees are also looking forward to the next phase of restoration on other floors, in which they hope to unearth more of the historic boards.

“We are all just like holding our breath because we don’t know if there’s going to be anything behind those boards,” said Comer. “We’re so excited to see and have all this wonderful history come to life for us…hopefully by Christmas we will have found a place to house our school’s history.”

………………………………….

*Thanks Joan for sharing this story with me…I loved it…the mystery of the chalkboards ending in December…a great Christmas gift for the newly renovated school.

fullsizerender*Anne texted me a picture she found on Facebook from a friend…obviously we were on the same thought line Wednesday. God Wink!

*Isn’t it amazing how light can bring magic to anything…even a wreath? The other evening I had turned on the porch lights and Christmas lights while I was adding baby breath to the green pine cone wreaths on each front door.

The wreath was serene in its simplistic state…but when the decorative lights hit the glass storm door with the lights reflecting off the glass…the image of the wreath completely changed…magic at Christmas.

img_4647-1img_4645

thumbnail_fullsizerender

img_4669-1

14883567_1072288669536072_5070234668776579008_oHappy Birthday to my eldest son….my Walshie- He arrived on December 23 and we got back home from the hospital on Christmas Day- Kringle Dingle! A wonderful Christmas present for all…well, maybe not exactly all… big sister Mandy wasn’t too thrilled.

12734066_10208714258363016_1579282054766342693_n

Happy Birthday Pap….You and Woo Woo….a great day for birthdays! Have a good one Pap!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Christmas on Old Blackboards

  1. Anne Peterson says:

    Did you see what my friend wrote above the anchor?

    On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 6:14 AM Chapel of Hope Stories wrote:

    > Becky Dingle posted: ” Dear Reader: In June of 2015 a high school in the > Oklahoma City School District (Emerson High School) was undergoing > renovations for the new school year when an amazing discovery was made. As > the construction crew began to take down some chalkbo” >

    Like

  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Yes….I love it! Have a great day for family!

    Like

  3. Rachel Edwards says:

    Live this story…wouldn’t it be neat if they find neat things when they renovate RMSA. ..Happy Birthday Walsh…his boys look a lot like him…Merry Christmas dear friend…headed to Columbia to do our little family Christmas then on to NC to keep up the Hedrick traditions…live you

    On Dec 23, 2016 6:14 AM, “Chapel of Hope Stories” wrote:

    Becky Dingle posted: ” Dear Reader: In June of 2015 a high school in the Oklahoma City School District (Emerson High School) was undergoing renovations for the new school year when an amazing discovery was made. As the construction crew began to take down some chalkbo”

    Like

Leave a Reply to Becky Dingle Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.