For Educators
Curriculum Title:
School Days

North Grove School, a one-room school, was used from 1878-1952. This school was located in the country where most of the children walked to school everyday. For many years, all the classes were taught in Swedish because the northern part of Sycamore had a large Swedish population. Photo: no date. This school is located at 26745 Brickville Road and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The second photo is of a second grade class in Central School on California and Exchange Streets in downtown Sycamore. It was used as a school from 1863-1926, and it included grades one through high school. The school included cloakrooms, recitation rooms, an apparatus room, eight classrooms, and an assembly hall, located on the top floor. Photo: 1892

Note: Materials are for educational purposes only.

Grade Level:
First Grade
Core Curriculum: CC.1.R.19 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g. in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

Illinois State Social Studies: Goal 16.A Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations. Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.

District 427: Identify the classroom as a community of students and teachers who work together, help each other, and are responsible for jobs.
Guided Questions:

How were schools a long time ago similar to and different from schools today?

Suggested Activity:
  1. Show students pictures of North Grove School and Central School.  Ask students how these schools are different from their school.
  2. Teachers could introduce the concept of a Venn diagram  using hula- hoops. The hoops would overlap each other, creating a Venn diagram. The teacher can write the ideas the student have about the similarities and differences on  3 x 5 index cards. Students will place the cards in the same or different areas of the hula-hoops. This is a good visual for students to understand similarities and differences of schools today and 100 years ago.
  3. Students can identify technology used at that  time. Remember, technology is something that makes work easier. Students could infer that students were excited about new books, paper versus horn books, desks versus benches, or electric lights versus candles.
  4. Students could also discuss what would have been  fun about going to school at North Grove School in the country or to school in town at the Central School.
  5. Students could also identify the types of games that children played in the past like jacks, kick the can, Annie Over, pick- up sticks, or marbles. Remind them that they did not have large playgrounds like we have today.
  6. Students could list the chores that would have to be shared since there were no janitors or maintenance employees.
Suggested Assessment:

Students could draw a picture showing how school at the old  North Grove School or at the Central School would have been  different.  They could write sentences describing their pictures.