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Booklets Educational

( Originally Published 1915 )

The Booklet Work.—Booklets have been used for years in the German and other European schools but have not been used in America until recently. They have, however, recently been introduced and are a wonderful, quickening and vitalizing factor in the schools. These booklets are much like the science and mathematics laboratory note-books used in teaching the higher grades. They differ from the laboratory note-book in being more interesting and beautiful. The booklets correlate in so many ways that one hesitates about where to begin a description. The covers may be the plain purchased covers, or better, covers made of wrapping paper or stiff cardboard that may be obtained at any printing shop. The filler paper can be taken from tablets, bought at the printing office, or better, the paper put up in small pack-ages, uniform in size and already punched with holes for the strings or ribbons with which the booklets are to be tied. Paper nine by eleven inches is preferable.

Booklets Permanent Filing Places.—These booklets are permanent filing places for whatever is drawn, pasted, or written on the work in agriculture. There is no other material that makes such attractive exhibit work. In Wright County, Iowa, the booklets are a leading feature at the county fair. If agriculture is a mode of living in the country and if to get ready for country life one must learn to enjoy the beautiful, especially that which does not cost much money, then it follows that the principles of art should have a vital place in the country school. The covers and some of the pages of these booklets offer an excellent opportunity to teach the principles of decorative art and to give the pupils a chance to apply the principles taught. Then, too, the beautiful pictures of fruit, animals, seeds, bread, pets, farm conveniences, etc., deepen the child's love for things in the country. Little clippings from the farm papers, little poems about the subject of the booklet, original sketches, etc., should find their place in the booklets and, should be made to add interest and beauty. The booklet should be the property of the child and should contain tables, drawings, receipts, or other information that will make the booklet of permanent interest. It would take a book to tell the stories of how these booklets have made pupils take renewed interest in their schools. A boy who would not go to school was asked to make a booklet on cattle for the county fair; another boy was asked to make one on Rover, his favorite pet. Both boys needed the help of the teacher. Both began to read and write. Both desired to be better readers and writers. Both saw the need of better English. Each one wrote something like one hundred and twenty pages in order to get enough good pages for his booklet. Each learned something of geography while tracing the origin of the Scotch collie or the Durham cattle. Each learned something of art and became interested in the farm papers. The school and the home and the teacher and the boy were drawn closer together by those little booklets. The boys were in the do-something age and the booklets gave them something to do. The growth of extravagance and city living is one national danger, therefore anything that makes simple living and country life more attractive is a patriotic duty. We may make mistakes, but who makes no mistakes ?

Advantages of the Booklet Work.—Mr. O. H. Benson, who is head of the Boys' and Girls' club work at Washington, says of the booklet:

1. It encourages a great deal of extra and supplementary reading, thus stimulating to greater efficiency in " Reading."

2. It teaches useful information by three most effective methods, viz.:

(a) By getting the child to seek and find truth largely by his own effort.

(b) By illustrating the truth in drawing and picture.

(c) By writing about the subjects in the child's own language.

3. It teaches the correct use of English and renders the "Grammar bugbear" a thing of interest and daily practice, instead of a jumble of technical, analytical points, which, as a rule, are fit for theorists and not for boys and girls.

4. It trains for better penmanship by giving definite direction in daily practice, live practice, in which interesting truth is involved.

5. It teaches the child how and where to go in quest of truth, from all sources—from men, books, papers, nature and from experiment and demonstration.

6. It trains in neatness and organizing ability—facts must be organized in sequel order in booklet work.

7. The booklet develops individuality, originality and independence in their educational training and property rights are incidentally respected.

8. It trains for economy by encouraging the child to use waste paper, farm journals, catalogues and material in making up the neat and attractive booklet for local, county and State exhibits.

9. It brings the home, school and farm into closer cooperation and gives them a common sympathy in business, of rural uplift and better educational facilities.

10. This form of agricultural education will dignify home and farm interests by correlating the common things with daily work in the common branches, such as geography, grammar, arithmetic, physiology, writing, etc., and in helping both teacher and the taught to substitute live and vital work for many dead and useless pages designed for formal discipline only.

To this E. C. Bishop of the Iowa Boys' and Girls' Clubs adds:

(1) Pupils like to do the booklet work ; (2) the making of the booklet helps to crystallize the pupil's knowledge; (3) each pupil works by himself and on a subject in which he is interested; (4) booklets are really permanent note-books, the home folks like to see the systematized and clearly and definitely expressed knowledge of the child in attractive, permanent form; (5) each child likes to make collections and investigations even with the least of direction.

Tomato Booklets.—Boys and girls in the National Corn, Potato, Poultry, Canning and other clubs are to make a booklet as a regular part of their requirement for winning. It has been suggested that, for school work, we mark the booklets as follows:

1. Contents 20 per cent.
2. Neatness 20 per cent.
3. Originality 20 per cent.
4. Amount 20 per cent.
5. Arrangement 20 per cent.

Mr. Benson in one of his circulars gives the following outline for a girls' booklet, topics to be treated in consecutive order in the booklet:

1. The object of the girl's canning or poultry club work.
2. Why I enrolled as a club member.
3. Life history of tomato, snap beans or cucumber. It is well to use but one of these subjects in each booklet.
4. Soil study, seed-bed, cultivation. Tell how to select and prepare a garden seed-bed.
5. Management of plants from cold frame to maturing crop. Tell here how to raise plants, transplant, cultivate, stake or rack up plants.
6. Management of diseases and insects.
7. Management of fruit and vegetables, ripening, picking, marketing fresh products, tell best method to pack and crate ripe tomatoes.
8. Canning process, labelling of cans, meaning of label and trade-mark.
9. Exhibits; relation to school work.
10. Discussion of uses for tomatoes, snap beans or cucumbers. Give recipes of important and practical dishes and food values.
11. Give account of your yield, total number of pounds, how much used for home and how much sold, number of cans, etc.
12. State briefly what your club work has done for you in interest, instruction, health and money value.

Make a cover design which will, in a neat and attractive manner, indicate just what can be found within the booklet. Do not make the cover design too gaudy in color. Use water color paints, and if possible in drawing tomato, marginal lines, etc. Bind the booklet at the top with a modest colored baby ribbon or cord. Ask your teacher for cooperation in getting out your booklet and illustrating it. It will be well to illustrate your story as you proceed.

Corn Booklets.—The following is one of a number of out-lines that have been made for a booklet on corn:

1. Legends or literature about corn.

2. Uses and commercial articles from corn.

3. Where corn is grown and importance of corn to American farmers.

4. The corn plant:


Stalk and leaves.

Flowers (a) staminate or tassel, (b) pistilate or ear.

Fruit, and what constitutes a good ear of corn.

5. Corn judging and the use of the score card.

6. Gathering seed corn in the field.

7. Storing seed corn.

8. Testing and grading seed.

9. Planting, soil, seed-bed, hand and machine methods, etc.

10. Harvesting corn for the silo, fodder, husking, etc.

11. Corn breeding, seed corn, hill-row method, etc.

12. The corn-club work.

Some general cautions and directions need to be given. A booklet is not an encyclopedia or a catalogue of knowledge. Only thoroughly digested matter, told in the child's own words, should go into the booklet. Of course illustrations, tables and quotations are excepted, but these may generally best be cut and inserted as clippings. Bookish booklets should be avoided. The child's experiences are the most valuable part of the booklet matter. For this reason the United States Government men require the child to write " How I grew my acre; how I grew and canned my tomatoes; how I grew my potatoes, etc." The booklets should be written in ink, on paper 8½ by 11 or 9 by 12 inches. The pupil should apply the common rules of composition, have correct spelling, and put forth his very best efforts at good penmanship. The cover page, as stated above, may have the title of the booklet, an appropriate illustration and the name of the author. The second page may have the name of the subject, the name of the writer, his or her grade, school, county, club name, etc. The second page may contain the table of contents which should tell you on what page you may find each topic. The booklet must be bound at the end so as to hang on a line.

These booklets make wonderfully attractive material for exhibits at county fairs, fall festivals, farmers' institutes, Grange meetings, graduating exercises, district and state fairs. They should be kept neat and clean, but nevertheless should be taken home and read by the home folk. They should belong to the pupil and his property rights should be rigidly respected. The booklet does not need to be made all at one time, but the pupil may file each page as he makes one good enough and then at the end of the term, study or year, gather his pages together, arrange them, make his cover, table of contents, etc.

Booklets for Introducing Agriculture.—The booklets make a good method or device for introducing Agriculture and Domes-tic Science. You need not say that you are going to teach Agriculture, Domestic Science or Nature Study. All you need to do is to say that we are to write a booklet on corn, the potato, use of garden vegetables, sewing or whatever it may be. Explain that the booklets are to be used for school exhibits, that when the pupil is older he may wish to belong to a corn or canning club, and to know how to make a booklet is to have an advantage.

It is well to have on hand a number of different bulletins for each pupil. The pupils should be encouraged to bring the farm journals from home. These should be preserved and then examined for illustrations, tables, information, etc.

Booklets for Other Branches.—Older pupils like to make booklets quite as well as younger ones. At the West Chester State Normal School, the members of the botany class are required to make two booklets each. One is on a typical monocot and one on a typical dicot. The monocot may be corn wheat, cane, oats, etc. The dicot may be the apple, the potato, the tomato, etc. These booklets made in the botany class are frequently of use to the members of the senior class while taking agriculture. In the senior year the members make lesson plans on teaching the different subjects, such as poultry, dairying, horses, etc. These lesson plans are frequently bound and used for school exhibits. The pupils are encouraged to take their booklets home, have them read or read them and then invite criticism. That frequently leads to parents sending for the bulletins from which certain information was gathered. Some-times questions about the meaning of certain things taught, sometimes requests for advice as to poultry business, planting alfalfa, selecting corn for shows, etc., are sent in by the parents, and thus the school and the home are brought closer together. The booklets make a way for the teacher to be of service to the community, to help the parents at home, to guide the boy during his summer vacation, to utilize his and his father's experience. This is going a long way toward socializing the school as I under-stand the term socialize.

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