Historic Folk Toys: Desk, 'Schoolhouse Chalkboard Set'

Historic Folk Toys: Desk, 'Schoolhouse Chalkboard Set'

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Schoolhouse Chalkboard Set
Our Schoolhouse Chalkboard Set includes a 5-inch by 7-inch wood frame chalkboard, a one-inch eraser made of wood and felt, two sticks of chalk, and a booklet featuring eleven 19th-century popular schoolroom and childhood games. Our Chalkboard Set is great for car rides, party games or teaching children what it was like when students in one-room schools had to do their learning on slate chalkboards.

Historical Background: In one-room schools, children used slates to practice writing letters and numbers (mostly to do math problems). They sometimes used their slates to play games when not learning their lessons. When they did, they played Tic Tac Toe, Dots, and other number and letter games. To clear the confusion between a slate board and a blackboard, slate is a dark metamorphic rock while a blackboard is a board that is painted black. They are, however, both known as chalkboards.

Early models of small, hand-held chalkboards used in one-room schools were slates encased in a wood frame to keep the slate from breaking. Pencil and paper were available but paper was very expensive. Using a small, hand-held slate meant that a child could practice writing, erase and write again without having to consume expensive paper.

Peggy Kidwell wrote a short history of school chalkboards and states: "A bit of grit mixed in with the paint made them (the chalkboards) easier to write on." In 1809, a one-room school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used the first large blackboard. By the mid-1800s, blackboards were found in many one-room schools. Teachers realized that they could teach an entire classroom at one time using a large blackboard. This method also saved teachers' time from having to write math problems on each child's slate. Pencils and paper eventually replaced the hand-held slate boards by the 1930s.

Fun Fact: The slate from quarries in the "Slate Valley" of New York and Vermont are among the finest slate in the world, along with slate from Portugal and Wales.

Fun Fact: Beginning in the late 1840s, railroads made it possible to ship larger pieces of slate from quarries to schools across the midwestern United States.

Fun Fact: One of the first large schools to use large slate boards was the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

PACKAGE DIMENSIONS - 6.5 x 8.75 x 0.75"