Henry No. 4 Memories

School Daze Memories from former students, teachers and records!

Still gathering a bit of information here or there that I can share your way. I visited with a few other people who had contacts with rural schools as well as what I remember Mom saying the students did for recess and in between. I did a little reviewing of the key activities and thought I would send them to you. Will send a few scans of classroom projects. They will follow shortly. ~Randy Schmitt (son of teacher, Miss Minnie Koch--later Mrs. Alfred Schmitt)
Traditional games/activities played in country school included: 
1.    "Pom Pom Pullaway"  A  form of tag where students run between two safe lines until caught and are  converted into joining the taggers.

2.    "Fox and Geese"  The object of  "Fox and Geese" is to be the first Goose to make it to the hen house without  getting tagged by the Fox. This person then  becomes the Fox for the next round of play. These are the  directions:

  • All the players form a large circle in a snowy  yard by walking one person behind the other in a circle to trample down the  snow. We like to make our circles at least 20 feet in diameter. If you are  playing this game with small children, we recommend making a smaller circle.  Although deep snow is not required for this game, the deeper the snow, the  more challenging this game is.
  • Stand on one side of the circle and walk through  to the other side in a straight line to cut the circle in half. Continue  cutting the circle into sections in this way until you have at least 4  sections. The more sections you have, the easier it is for the person who is  the Fox to tag the Geese. The center spot is called the "hen house."
  • When the playing field is complete, choose a  player to be the Fox. The Fox starts by standing in the center of the circle  (the hen house), and tries to tag any "goose" that strays from his safety  zone. All other players are Geese, who stand at various places along the  outside circle.
  • To start the game, the Fox calls out "Geese,  Geese, gannio! How many Geese have you today?". The Geese reply, "More than  you can catch and carry away!". Then the Geese run around the outside of the  circle or on the spokes while the Fox chases them. The Geese try to make it  to the hen house (center) without getting tagged by the Fox. The first Goose  to make it to the hen house without getting tagged becomes the Fox in the  next round.

    3.     "Hide and Seek"    The game is still popular and varies in the amount of time the seeker waits to  search out the hidden students.

    4.    "Red Light  Green Light"    The "it" person stands at one end of  the playing field with the rest of the players at the other end. "It"  turns his/her back to the others and calls out "Green  light!" The players then run as fast as they can towards "it". At any time,  "it" can face the players, calling out "Red light", and  the others must  freeze in place. If anyone fails to stop, that person is out or must  return to the starting line. Other variations include calling out "Yellow  light" as a diversion or they must walk instead of run to "it". Calling  Yellow Light has no consequence. The first player to reach the person who is  "it" wins  and becomes "it" for the next round. In certain regions this  game may be known as "sneak up on granny." In this version the person who is  "it" is the "granny" and  does not call out "red light" or "green  light."

    5.     "Prisoner's  Base"
           The  class is divided in half and a line of chalk  placed down the middle  between the two teams. About 20-30 feet in back of each team a large square  (prison) is drawn on the ground using chalk. Each team picks one  person to be the prisoner of the other team (usually someone who could run  fast). Then each team tries to  free their prisoner by sending a  team member to the prison through the opposing team to bring him/her back  without getting captured by a member of the opposing  team. If the  person attempting to rescue their own prisoner makes in to the prison through  the opposing team without being caught, he/she is safe while in the  prison  and can pick their own time to run with the prisoner back to  their own side of the line. If the team member is caught by the opposing  team, he/she also becomes a  prisoner needing rescue. So  each team is busy both trying to rescue their own prisoners and protect the  prisoner(s) from the opposite side from getting  rescued. At the end of  recess, the team with the most prisoners wins.

      6. "Annie Annie  Over"
          In this  game, two players, or two teams of players, stand on opposite sides of a small  building. With a cry of "Annie Annie Over!",  the ball is tossed over the  roof of the school house. The kid(s) on the other side of the building try to catch the ball. If they catch it, they run to the other side of the  building and try to tag someone out by throwing the ball at  them. 
     7.   Sledding, making snow  forts, making snow angels, building snowmen,
           snow  ball fights, sliding on the ice

     8.   Hopscotch, tire swings,  races with the littliest grades getting a headstart,
           Follow  the Leader

     9.   Jump rope and double  jump rope, kick the can

    10.   Winter indoor activities include:  checkers, Snake-and-Ladders, Charades, Bingo

    11.   Jacks: Jacks may start off with  ones through tens, go to taps (one has to tap the surface after one picks  up the jack and before one catches the ball) then catch  the  baskets (one has to throw the jacks in the free hand and then catch the  ball).
    12.   Halloween costumes and contests,  Christmas Program with poems,songs &
            skits,Santa Cl aus appearing with treats, St.Valentine Day, Arbor Day  for
           clean  up and tree planting. 
    13.  "Red Rover, Red  Rover"
          The game is  played between two imaginary lines, usually around thirty feet apart. Each  team lines up along one of these lines, and the game starts when the  first team (usually called the "East" or "South" team, although this does not  relate to the actual relative location of the teams) calls out,  "Red Rover, "Red Rover," send   [name of player on opposite team] right over." The immediate  goal for the person called is to run to the other line and break the chain  (formed by the linking of hands). If the person called fails to  break the chain, this player joins the team which called "Red rover". However,  if the player successfully break  the chain, this player may select either of the two "links"  broken by the successful run, and send them to join the team that had been called out. The other team then calls out "Red Rover" for a player on the  first team, and play continues. When only one player is left on a team, he   must try and break through a link. If he does  not succeed,  the opposing team wins. Otherwise, they are able  to get a player back for their team.
    Subject: Country School lunches 

     Normally children would bring leftover food from home such as cornbread or biscuits, cold meat and cheese, raw vegetables, fruit or whatever else they could afford to bring. Their food was homemade. A piece of fruit such as an apple was common especially to rural students who often  had an orchard tree or two on the farm.  Lunch could also include fresh milk from the cow. Sometimes chocolate syrup  was mixed with the milk so the children could enjoy chocolate milk. In both time periods, the children would carry their food in lunch pails. These pails  were normally whatever they could find at home such as old syrup cans, coffee cans, or lard cans. Rarely, some lucky children may have had manufactured  lunch pails. It did not really matter what these pails were as long as they  had a handle and could hold the children’s lunches. A favorite lunch for my mom and her siblings were Pfannkuchen, German pancakes. When cooled the  pancakes were sprinkled with sugar and rolled up to be eaten  at lunch. ~Randy Schmitt

Henry No. 4 memories and projects by teacher, Miss Minnie Koch, who taught this school from 1942-1948.

These are three projects which Mom made for me in the late 1950's. She used three original trace patterns which she had bought and used for her classes in Henry Township. The Santa has hung on in our home at Christmas for over 50 years. I believe Mom used the original pattern to have students create a Santa at Christmas time. The Eskimo and policeman were either part of a civics or social studies/art activity at Henry Township. The rosey cheeks is so characteristic of the art of the 1930's and 1940's. ~Shared by Miss Minnie Koch's son, Randy Schmitt


B - I - N - G - O

Bingo game Mom purchased and used with students at Henry 4. The call numbers are wooden and the cards are overzsized. It served Mom well in her teaching career, and I used it to teach numbers in my German classes. ~Randy


I thought I'd share one last picture. It is Mom's lunchbox which as a teacher at Henry she carried each day to school. The lantern is Dad's, and he said many a night he used it to head upstairs to bed. Kind of a glimpse of my special past and two wonderful parents who were and are special to me. Take care and thanks again for all your hard work. It's been a special journey for me. ~Randy and Marilyn Schmitt



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