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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
([1883])

Report of Hampton school,   pp. 165-179 PDF (8.0 MB)


Page 169

REPORT OF HAMPTON SCHOOL. 
169 
and very simple fractions, such as are found in the Franklin Elementary Arithmetic.
For several weeks past they have been doing their hardest work, the analysis
and 
explanation of practical examples. Their knowledge of English is so limited,
and 
the expressions in the book so different from their ordinary conversational
English, 
that oftentimes the example becomes almost entirely a language lesson. Still
they 
are very wide-awake, and never satisfied until the work is thoroughly mastered.
A 
very complicated example, put into words with which they are very familiar,
will be 
readily thought out in Indian, but the difficulty is always in expressing
these 
thoughts in English words. 
The abbreviations, too, are a source of considerable real confusion, as well
as fun. 
They will insist upon reading 5 lbs. "5 elbows." Upon asking one
little boy how 
many dollars in 500 cents, he answered, "5 dollars and no cents";
then, after a little 
pause, he asked, "Which you rather have, dollars or cents (sense)"'?
To which one 
big boy responded, "I'd rather have sense, because then I could get
dollars." 
Another little fellow said, "I'd rather have dollars, because then I
would have cents 
(sense), too, wouldn't I"? 
Fifth division in language, Miss Laura Tileston, teacher.-These are exceedingly
bright boys, but being nearly all Sioux, are very averse to saying anything
in English 
unless fairly sure that it is all right. Many of them went north last summer,
and so 
understand much more than they can say, and it is a constant temptation to
talk to 
them, rather than make them do so for themselves, for they are excellent
listeners. 
Single words, taught by objects, came first, and afterwards were put into
short sen- 
tences-the present, past, and future of the verbs were taught by the use
of to-day, 
yesterday, and to.morrow. Finding that they had many single words in their
vocab- 
ulary, such as where, when, who, what, there, here, &c., whose exact
use they were not 
sure of, a sort of game was tried, which gave them confidence, and was a
great help. 
About 100 cards were written with simple questions, such as "Where are
you"? 
Answer," Here I am." "What are you doing"'? "I am
sewing," &c. Two sides were 
chosen, and these cards were shuffled and distributed. A question was read
from one 
side, and whoever thought he had the right answer would reply. Of course
there 
were many funny mistakes, but they would try again and again, until each
answer 
was properly placed, and at last all were learned. In this way they learned
many 
of our every-day phrases, and were very quick in using them. Now they are
giving, 
more particular attention to letter-writing, as that will be of the greatest
service to 
them when they go home. 
Fifth division in geography, Miss Laura Tileston, teacher.-The fifth division
take 
geography for their fourth study. They have been taught the division of land
and 
water, by the use of the sand-table. Picture lessons of the people, costumes,
and 
animals of different lands, have been given, and the minerals and products
of different 
countries have been brought into the class as far as possible. They have
been inter- 
ested in the different ways men build their houses, %nd in their methods
of finding 
communication with each other. A lesson on telegraphy and one on the Atlantic.
cable, given in this connection, aroused great interest. 
Seventh division (5 month work). 
The seventh division consisted of but 7 scholars until December, when it
increased 
to 22 by the new arrivals from Dakota. These, of all ages between 9 and 24,
knew na 
English, and only a few could read or write even Dakota language. 
Seventh division in reading, Miss Cora Folsom, teacher.-In teaching these
beginners. 
what is known as the "word method" is used in connection with object
teaching. 
They must be taught like little children in many ways, and yet in many others
they 
must be regarded as they are, full grown men and women. They have been reading
from the Monroe Chart, learning to write, spell, and use the words as they
go along. 
They are, on the whole, an ambitious class, and the prevailing spirit is
so good that 
the less thoughtful ones are swept on almost without their knowedge. To-day
they 
are able to write from dictation a sentence like this, "I want to stand
in that little 
boat and toss a stick into the pond." 
Seventh division in arithnmetic, Miss Josephine Richards, teacher.-A very
interesting 
class, but somewhat heterogeneous in age and acquirements, ranging all the
way 
from sire to son at the very first, when little White Corn, our Sioux baby,
used to- 
come with his papa and mamma. His problems were rather philosophical than
arith- 
metical; how to find his center of gravity being more absorbing than addition
or sub- 
traction. To teach the new scholars to count in English was the first step.
One 
or two of the little ones have not got very much farther, but others have
gone on rap- 
idly, and a few have been promot.-d to a higher class. Objects and a numeral
frame 
have been found useful in giving the idea of simple addition, subtraction,
multiplica- 
tion, and division. When in subtraction the difficulties of borrowing were
to be met, the 
little straws done up in bundles of tens proved friends in need. It was pleasant
to 
watch an Indian boy, who at that time assisted in the class, explain these
operations 


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