Anna Wilson Henderson.

What and how; a systematized course of hand work, for primary grades, for rural schools, and for the home online

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I A J)


A Systematized Course of Hand Work


2.7 O-i- I






Copyright, 1906, by

15 41


This book is intended to "bridge the gap" for the
little child just entering school, in a way to make the
change from the freedom of the home to the restraint
of the schoolroom less abrupt and irksome than it
might otherwise be, and to help the teacher arouse
and hold his interest through things while he is learn-
ing to use books.

He cannot and should not ''keep still," so let us
keep him interestedly and profitably busy during this
critical transition period.

The book will also be found helpful to the mother
in the home, whose manifold duties often leave her
little time to provide something worth while for little
hands to do.

To the little children, their mothers and teachers
this book is affectionately dedicated by the authors
with the earnest hope it may accomplish that where-

unto it is sent.

H. 0. P.
A. W. H.

San Francisco, California, September 1, 1908.


Preface ....

The Problem and the Plan .
Stick Laying ....
Clay Modeling


Form and Color

Free-hand Cutting

Weaving ....

Folding and Construction Work

The Utilitarian Side

Holiday Work

Daily Outlines for Handwork
















Probably no more persistent or puzzling problem
confronts the busy teacher, whether she have one
grade or eight, than to provide profitable occupa-
tional work for beginners, if they are included in
her classes.

This work should be more than busy-work, more
than merely hand work. It should appeal to the
combined energy of head and hand, remembering
that when hand work through oft repetition ceases
to be head work, it no longer has an educative value.

Further, it must of a necessity be work which can
be done independently without the direct supervision
of the teacher, and should be of such a nature as to
require the least amount of time on the part of the
teacher in preparation of material.

We are happily past the day in which it is neces-
sary to use argument in favor of manual training;
it now only remains necessary to convince the busy
teacher of several grades that she can introduce it
into her already crowded school program.

We receive into our public schools children six
years old, fresh from home freedom and activity.

8 What and How

We place in their fingers pencils with which to draw
apples or form letters before they have the finger
control to guide the pencil or the training of the eye
to see intelligently that which is set before them.

We have each probably had at some time in our
school experience a '^pudding-fisted" boy, six years of
age, perhaps, but not cix years in maturity ; one who
handles his pencil as if it were a poker, and, save for
the friendly aid of pictures, is at a loss as to whether
his book is right side up or upside down. It is a
pedagogical crime to force upon this child either
pencil or book at this time, bringing as they do, a
period of discouragement, a loss of self-confidence,
a giving up of striving, and, finally, a sense of being
out of the race altogether.

Give him instead a nice soft piece of clay. Now
watch the transformation. How he smiles over this
pliable mass ! How careful the touch and pat ! How
proud of the finished object! Would he not like to
express the thought : ''Take away those meaningless
pot-hooks; give me something to maker'

After a few weeks when his fingers are not quite
so "wobbly," and the pencil is not such a long unman-
ageable stick, the pot-hooks will not be meaningless,
and, should he write a line backwards, he knows for
himself that something is the matter.

In schools of several grades, beginners receive
fifteen or twenty minutes' attention in class after the
opening exercises, then must wait while five, six, or

The Problem and the Plan 9

possibly seven classes recite before another period of
fifteen minutes is devoted to them. What are they
doing all this time? Concentrated study is out of
the question at this age.

This is the period which transforms many happy-
faced children, who have looked forward for half
their short lives to the wonderful time when they
should first go to school, into sober little automatons,
or listless little pessimists who ''do not see the use
of it," or defiant little law-breakers who play truant
in the face of retribution sure and swift.

Instead of ''filling in" this period with haphazard
"busy-work," which is ofttimes a mere time killer,
the futility of which is evident to the child himself,
why not devote this time to a systematized course of
hand training in which there is development and
mental growth? This is the opportunity for laying
the foundations of manual training.

As to the all-important question of what to do, it
is the purpose of the following pages to show, not
only ''What to do," but ''How to do it" with economy
of both time and labor on the part of the teacher.


It is not the purpose of this book to outline a spe-
cific course from which no departure may be taken,
but rather to offer suggestions along practical lines,
which the busy teacher may adopt and adapt as the
conditions of her school allow.

10 What and How

As a general plan it is suggested that five occupa-
tions be used — one for each day of the week — from
the opening of the fall term until January. At first
glance this may seem too great an undertaking, but
after due consideration it will commend itself even
to the busiest.

If unorganized, haphazard '^busy-work" is done,
many times five kinds of work are done if not over-
done in the same length of time.

By having a general scheme of work to cover a
certain period, the work is planned for that time, and
the teacher is relieved of the ever-present, harassing
question of ' Vhat to do" for seat work. It must also
be remembered that only by regular work at regular
intervals can satisfactory results in any line of work
be attained.

It is not intended, nor is it desirable, to always
repeat the same occupation on the same day of the
week, but that each occupation shall be given once a

While, as has already been said, it is not intended
to lay down arbitrary work along these lines, yet,
for the benefit of those busy teachers whose daily
work it is not only to hear recitations of many classes,
in their numerous subjects, but also to plan their
work for the morrow, a daily program is added on
pages 156 to 159, hoping that it will to some extent
be the key which solves the seat-work problem.



Stick laying of simple forms is the occupation
which may be given to the child the first day of school.
If our little lad, wide-eyed, and with every sense
alert for the keynote of his first year's work, finds
upon his desk, that critical first hour of the first day
of school, a box of sticks, he can go to work at once
making chairs, tables, and other familiar objects,
should more advanced classes engage the first atten-
tion of the teacher.

In copying forms, let long lines be represented by
long sticks whenever possible. The use of one inch
sticks only is a weariness to the flesh and a strain on
the nerves.

After the interest in this copying of simple forms
has waned — and it is not desirable that it should last
long — introduce a number element. Children delight
in counting; let them place forms which require
counting, — geometric forms or series of forms.

In this connection a number lesson is shown on
page 22, in which a number sequence from one to
nine is represented by simple forms made of sticks
of equal length. Other ideas will suggest themselves.
For instance, say to the class : 'To-day you may make

14 What and How

things that take just four sticks. See how many dif-
ferent things you can make with four sticks for each
one;" or, ''Let the sticks count for us to-day. Put
one stick in the first row, two sticks in the second,
three in the third row, and let them count this way
until we have nine rows."

From these geometric and regular forms develop
borders. Lead the class to observe borders on books,
baskets, towels, etc., so that they get the idea of the
repeated unit; then let them invent borders. This
will awaken great interest and a wonderful variety
of results will follow.

Here we have reached inventive work, which, when
properly directed and controlled, is one of the highest
forms of educative work.

In this and all other forms of imaginative or crea-
tive work, the child must have the ideas before he can
express them. To this end graded exercises are
given. First, the idea of the border is developed by
observation and by copying from the blackboard.
Then unfinished borders are placed on the blackboard
to be copied and finished by the class.

Next, simply the unit may be given, from which
a border is to be developed. Suggest a border by
saying: "To-day make a border of squares for me,"
or, ''Make a border of the letter T. You may stand
it upright or place it upside down."

The first two borders on page 24 may be varied by
making units of groups of two or three.

Stick Lay ing 15

Have borders made in connection with stories.
After reading the story of ''The Little Pine Tree,"
a border of conventionalized tree forms may be made.

By this time their heads are full of borders, they
are making them at odd times on paper and on the
blackboard, and when finally you say, ''To-day I want
you to 'make up' a border for me," they fall to work
with eagerness and zeal.

The results will be faulty, but, by emphasizing the
good points and eliminating poor lines and construc-
tion, good well-balanced work will surely grow out
of it. In criticising this work the criticism should
not be so severe as to crush originality, yet out of
chaos a clear notion of a border must be developed.
Let simplicity be the keynote, so that the repeated
unit shows plainly. Keep the applicatio7i of the bor-
der before the class, by having them tell for what
purposes their borders might be used. From stick
work to pencil work is but a step. It will be found,
however, that after this preliminary work with the
sticks the pencil work is more accurate, more definite,
and in better proportion.

In work with sticks of various lengths, designate
each stick by its length. For instance, say: "We will
use the one-inch and the two-inch sticks for our bor-
der to-day," or, "Use your five-inch sticks for your
long lines in this picture." Thus, incidentally, a
definite notion of the inch as a measuring unit will
be formed.












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Reflect that the student will learn more
by one hour of manual labor than he will
retain by a whole day^s verbal instruction.

The things themselves are the best ex-
planative. — Rousseau.


There is no other occupation that gives quite so
much pleasure as clay modeling, and there is no better
finger training. Not only does this work strengthen
and educate the hand, but it necessitates observation
of the smallest details, — thus it leads to seeing intelli-

Clay modeling is excellent for individual seat work,
as well as for class work. After a preliminary lesson
in which it is shown that it is with the fingers rather
than with the palms of the hands the work must be
done, the clay, and, whenever possible, the object,
may be given to the pupils while the teacher has
other classes. This is not merely "busy-work" ; it is
more than ''busy-work," for it is a form of expression
through material things.

The results will be crude. It is not a lesson in fine
art, but the desired result will be attained if it has
opened the eyes of the child to the details of the ob-
ject before him, and if he has expressed his image of
it by means of his hands. Notwithstanding a some-
what prevalent opinion to the contrary, this mate-
rial is neither troublesome, nor, as is ofttimes stated,
"mussy," if properly cared for. If a good quality of
clay is used, it is clean, and requires but a few min-
utes' care after each time it is used.

30 What and How


To prepare it for use for the first time, place the
dry clay or clay flour in a cloth sack and immerse in
water until the flour is wet thoroughly. Put the
clay, still in the sack, away in a stone crock or covered
tin pail over night. If, on the next day, it is too
sticky to knead, leave it exposed to the air for a few
hours. It should then be kneaded into large lumps,
placed again in the sack, slightly dampened, left over
night in the jar, when it will be ready for use.

After the clay has been used, the models should be
kneaded into lumps again, placed in a freshly damp-
ened sack, put away in a covered jar, and it is ready
for use the next day or the next week.

If at any time the clay becomes too moist or sticky,
exposure to the air will remedy this, while wetting
the sack will be equally effective if it becomes too dry.
In the right condition, clay will not stick to the fin-
gers, which indicates that it is too soft ; or crack while
using, which shows that it is too hard. Never wet
the clay; moisten it by wrapping it in a damp cloth.

It is more sanitary to keep each individual's clay
separate. To do this, a small cup with an impro-
vised cover, or a jelly glass with a top, can be supplied
by each child. By the use of these a well-founded
objection to the use of clay is overcome. Not only is
this plan better from a sanitary point of view, but it
will be found that the clay is more easily cared for in
this way.

Clay Modeling 31

After the class has finished modeling, pass among
them, selecting two or three of the best forms to be
saved. Give new clay from a reserve supply, which
should be kept on hand, to those whose work was
taken, then let each child wrap his own clay in a
freshly dampened cloth, and put it away in his own
glass. Have the glasses collected and put away by
rows or classes.

We are getting away from the old idea that all
the class must be doing the same thing at the same
time. With the clay in individual glasses, in an easily
accessible place, it will ofttimes be convenient for the
teacher to say to some unoccupied child, 'If you have
finished your work, you may get your clay."

A square of oilcloth may be used to protect the
desk, and has the advantage of being noiseless and
easily handled.

Amount. — Five pounds of clay flour are enough for
a class of twelve for a year.


The accompanying cuts do not outline a specific
course. It is left to the teacher to govern her work
by the material she has at hand, and the aptitude of
her pupils.

Give this work a local interest by modeling the
fruits, vegetables, leaves, and nuts which grow in
the vicinity; by reproducing either the reading les-

32 What and Ho


son, or some feature connected with it ; or by relating
it to the nature study or drawing whenever possible.

In making fruits with stems, a "pinch" of clay
should be set aside for the stem. By rolling this small
piece between the thumb and finger, a slender stem
is made. A hole is then made in the fruit with the
clay knife or pencil into which the stem is inserted,
care being taken to work the model at the base of the
stem in order to make it secure.

In joining two surfaces, as the handle to the cup,
prick lightly the parts to be j.oined with the clay knife
or point of pencil, making rough surfaces, which join
more readily.

c ; >



For the cup, a cylinder is made, a small piece is
cut out with the clay knife, then hollow it out with
the thumbs, keeping the walls straight.


Flat modeling is very simple and very fascinating
work. Drawing in the higher grades may be varied
and made more interesting by the introduction of
this work.

Clay Modeling 33

A tile about one inch thick is made by working the
clay bit by bit into the size and shape required. With
this as a foundation, using additional clay, model flat
objects in bas-relief. When modeling animal forms
they should be built on a tile for the foundation or

Clay is an excellent medium for imaginative work.
Suggest a country scene, recall a mental picture or a
familiar story, and let the class work it out with clay
on a tile.

Clay will be found useful and effective in repre-
senting Indian, Esquimau, early Pilgrim, and other
race history studies. As this requires more than one
individual's portion of clay, it is well to allow several
to work together on such a plan.









We regret that we were unable to procure
printing inks that would exactly express the purer
color tones of the "Bradley Color Scheme," on
which the color work in this book is based. We
believe, however, that the close approximations
obtained will not materially lessen the value of
these exercises for the early development of the
color-sense in children, which they are intended to

H. 0. P.

The child must and will use his heart,
hand and head. The longing for activity
exists in his nature, and, if not developed in
the right channel, will be developed in the
opposite direction. — Mme. Kraus-Boelte,


Sewing is another occupation that is a boon to the
busy teacher of several grades.

Give a child a sewing card, a big-eyed needle and
a bit of colored thread, and he is busily and profitably
occupied as long as may be desirable.

"But of what use — this putting the needle in one
side and out of the other?" some one may ask. In
this occupation deftness and delicacy of touch and
finger control are acquired, — "hand control leads to
self-control." The close attention required here
develops the power of concentration so necessary in
other lines of work.

Sewing, it should be remembered, is a means of
form and color study as well as hand training. Forms
of life which can be represented by long stitches and
not lose in effect thereby, are not only pleasing to the
child, but are a means of teaching and observing form
and color in nature as well. This affords also oppor-
tunity for imparting a familiar knowledge of form
by sewing squares, triangles, circles, and other reg-
ular forms.

The muscular action will at first monopolize the
whole attention of the child. In his interest and anx-
iety to put the needle in the exact hole in which it
belongs, his tongue and facial muscles will work in

42 JVh at and How

symiDathy, but his satisfaction in the completed card
must not be marred by crude forms or color discords.
Circular lines should be sewed with large worsted,
which adajDts itself kindly to curves.

In matching colors, when sewing fruits or flowers,
color tones should be softened, or jarring and dis-
turbing combinations will result. It should be re-
membered that lights and shadows are constantly
playing on and mellowing nature's color harmonies,
which must be taken into consideration when per-
petuating the same in embroidery or painting. The
point in view should not be, '^Does this match exactly
this leaf or that flower?" but, ''Do these colors make
a harmonious whole?"

The study of borders which was introduced in the
chapter on stick laying can be continued and devel-
oped further in sewing.

When forms of life are sewed, they may be col-
ored with water-colors or crayons, so that they ap-
pear in mass — a hard outline inclosing a white space
means nothing to a child.

Blunt-pointed tapestry needles,
No. 18, with zephyr or silk-finish
crochet cotton, are the accesso-
ries. At first, have the needles
threaded and threads knotted
ready for use. Let these two
operations be the object of a few
minutes' lesson at some future time.

Sewing 43

The outline of the form is gone over twice. The
first time each alternate stitch is taken, as in the
accomj^anying diagram. The second time the * 'gates
are closed," making a continuous outline.

Sewing should always be a lesson in neatness; no
careless work should be allowed; the wrong side of
the card should appear as neat as the right side.

The most desirable cards are those with simple
forms and few lines, having large perforations made
by removing a small disk. The strain on the eyes
caused by the pricked cards so full of detail, formerly
used, is thus removed. In selecting cards for begin-
ners those having an unbroken or continuous outline
should be chosen.

Amount of MoMrial. — This varies with the apti-
tude of the class and the cards used. Eight cards of
an average amount of detail are usually enough for
the average child working once a week from the ojDen-
ing of the fall term till Christmas.

Have patience with mistakes at first, remember-
ing how difficult it is to handle such a small imple-
ment as a needle and watch the pattern and keep
your thread from tangling, — that is, if you are only
five or six years old.











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Frequent complaint is made of over-
pressure in schools, but it is not work which
causes over-fatigue so much as lack of in-
terest and lack of conspicuous progress.
The best way to diminish the strain is to
increase interest, attractiveness, and the
sense of achievement and growth. — Eliot.


The materials for this course are colored paper,
scissors, tablets, parquetry forms, paste, and a plen-
tiful supply of white practice paper for free-hand
cutting. Water-colors or crayons may be used for
coloring and decorating forms which have been cut
from white paper.

Parquetry is the name given to colored papers
obtainable in small geometrical forms for perpetuat-
ing design work with tablets. By the use of these in
making borders, rosettes, and various other designs,
the eye and hand are trained, symmetry is developed,
and by working with the forms themselves an inti-
mate knowledge of form is acquired.

Color and form are so closely associated that the
study of one naturally embraces the study of the

The study of color is both important and practical.
It is as necessary that the eye should be trained to
discriminate to a nicety between color-tones, and be
able to make pleasing combinations of color, as that
the ear should discriminate between sounds and know
harmony from discord in music.

54 What and Ho


While some people are born with an appreciative
eye, or soul, for the harmonies of nature's colors with
their iridescent lights and shades, there are many
more who pass them by, not seeing them, and stand
helplessly dumb before masterpieces of art. It is
not necessary here to enter into platitudes on the
influence of this appreciation of the beauty about us,
for in a more or less definite way we all believe it
has an elevating and uplifting influence. So let
those who have themselves walked in darkness be not
afraid of their own blindness, but with, and as one of,
the children seek the light.

To demonstrate the practicality of the study of
color, not only its importance to milliners, dress-
makers, florists, furniture dealers, house decorators,
and many other trades needs be cited, but its influence
in the home and in dress is so great that, consciously
or unconsciously, it affects every individual's happi-

1 3 4

Online LibraryAnna Wilson HendersonWhat and how; a systematized course of hand work, for primary grades, for rural schools, and for the home → online text (page 1 of 4)