Amish Classroom – Look Too Familiar???

Visited here yesterday – Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. How different is this than what we do now over a hundred years later? We’ve all asked it before – what are the implications of that? How can we break that cycle?

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4 thoughts on “Amish Classroom – Look Too Familiar???

  1. Hello from Lancaster!

    Yes, our Amish schoolhouses look just like that, and you make a great point of comparison: many of our classrooms look almost the same (minus the potbelly stove.)

    Thanks to our Governer, our Classrooms for the Future grants will be fully-funded for a second year. We are fortunate to be involved in this program will help to transform our HS classrooms into digital classrooms – but what about everyone else?

    Ian Jukes makes a great comparison on how large things move or change. Take a look at his ‘Committed Sardines’ page (link below.) This may just be a way to get the change started. Small steps by a group of us committed to change may just get this thing we call education turned in the right direction.

    Ian Jukes link:

    Jim Gates turned me on to your site – I’ll be adding it to my blogroll at:

    Thanks! Together we can make the changes happen!

    -Dave Solon

  2. Thanks Dave – Yes I’m very familiar with Ian Jukes – I’ve seen him speak 5 or 6 times – he keynoted our state education technology conference this year too(Nevada). One of my favorite stories that he tells is about his father retiring from the department store business – I think he was the president – after 30 or 40 years. A year later he was asked to come back on a consultant basis – he was given a quick tour of his old offices and he said he didn’t think he could do it – in just one year things had changed so much he wasn’t sure he would really be able to help. But, during that same year he had his 50th high school reunion … he went back to his old high school and found everything just about the same as when he had graduated 50 years before … even found a desk with his initials carved in it. Great story.
    I agree with you. I just saw the play Wicked on Broadway in New York and one of my favorite lines was, “Together we are unlimited!”

  3. Believe it or not, the picture of that little Amish schoolhouse brings back very pleasant memories for me. I attended a one-room school (not Amish) in Ontario from 1957-1965. This week I wrote a blog post about the gift of memory given to me last Sunday at the 100th birthday tea for my teacher from those days. You can read about my memories and connections at:

    I’m currently visiting Saskatechewan and last evening attended a dinner at the Saskatoon Western Development Museum. We wandered through a replicated Boomtown of 1910 and as I entered the school house, (very similar to your photo), I was drawn to the chalkboard, and remembered the sense of excitement every morning as I would read the daily assignments for the eight grades in that classroom.

    There are lessons to be learned from those past experiences:
    -We weren’t necessarily bound by the artificial construct of grade. Although I was required to do the assignments for my given grade, I had opportunities to mentor younger grades, (deepening my own understanding of the subject matter), and explore new learning with older grades.
    -We had the gift of time. As the teacher worked with a grade other than my own, it was expected that I would learn independently. I could read, re-think homework, dig deeper into a given topic than was expected, and just think.
    -We were expected to act as a community of learners. The teacher’s time was a scarce commodity. We were expected to help each other and learn together.

    What if we could translate those same lessons into exciting learning experiences for today’s classrooms? We know it’s do-able! Why can’t we have flexible student groupings throughout the day or week? Within those groupings we could lay out the framework for rich tasks to be accomplished, (and yes, they could be curriculum-based. The operative word is “rich”). We could give students the time to dig into those tasks, and as you know, we have such wonderful communicative and collaborative tools at our disposal. Couldn’t we foster that same sense of anticipation, industry, independence, accomplishment and community that those “schools of old” did?

  4. Diane – what a great comment! I toured, Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg today – and I had more thoughts much along the lins of your comment.

    I used to teach 4-5-6 image classes and was able to “blur” the grade level issue and I loved it. Thanks again for a great comment.