Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fun stuff from "Practice Activities in English, Grade Eight" (1937)

There's some cool stuff inside this 1937 school workbook "Practice Activities in English, Grade Eight,"1 the cover of which is pictured at right.

The introduction of this 75-year-old volume notes that it can supplement any English textbook and is, for the most part, a self-instruction practice book.

In order to make the book as compelling as possible for pupils:
"The subject matter around which each unit is built has been selected from recent carefully prepared courses of study. The content includes subjects in the social sciences, arts and crafts, folklore and literature, as well as from other work and leisure activities in the everyday life of this age group."
So, with that in mind, here are some examples of the kind of problems eighth-graders tackled in 1937:

  • Word choice: Isn't it _________ to know that the ancient Egyptians used common hand fans? (thrilling, interesting, great)
  • Word choice: Many Japanese fans are ______________. (swell-looking, fine, highly decorated)
  • Word choice: I think that electric fans are among our ____________ inventions. (swellest, grandest, most useful)
  • Word choice: Mother says that Father is usually _____________ shopper. (an expert, a grand, a swell)
  • Training the tongue:2 Frequently frisky freshmen sink several foul goals.
  • Training the tongue: The optmistic opponents oddly opened the opposition with outstanding offense and distracting defense.
  • Using prepositions correctly:3 One day when I was not needed (at, to) home after school, I stopped to watch the crippled boy.
  • Using prepositions correctly: After eating the cookies, the strange pair went (in, into) the house.
  • Writing telegrams:4 The camp dormitory burned last night no one was hurt all my clothes were destroyed except my pajamas will you send me money to buy clothes here or will you send me clothes from home5
And here are a couple examples of (neat, swell, dandy) illustrations from the school workbook.

I would add more to this post. But I have to go watch the crippled boy now.

1. The workbook was written by W. Wilbur Hatfield, E.E. Lewis, Lydia Austill Thomas and Lois A. Woody. It was published by American Book Company.
2. Directions. Choose a partner and take turns reading the following sentences aloud.
3. Directions. Cross out the incorrect forms in the following parentheses.
4. Directions. Reduce each of the following telegrams to not more than ten words by crossing out unnecessary words.
5. I'm pretty sure that, even in 1937, Mom and Dad would be OK with you using more than ten words in a telegram if your camp burned down and you lost all your clothes.

1 comment:

  1. This was dandy, Chris. Swell job of posting this. Now I have to go train my tongue!