Local textbook teaches children how community's founders
By Jane Whitledge
Third graders in the Carrollton
Farmers Branch school district will be hearing a new story this year -
called Once Upon a Time in Farmers Branch.
But instead of princesses, dragons and frogs - they will be
learning about Indians who lived in the area and about pioneer ways.
The Heritage Education Committee, which that grew out of the
Farmers Branch Historical Preservation and Restoration board and Historical
Park volunteers, began putting together an educational program for area
third-grade students almost a year ago.
The local history program, which includes a guidebook for
teachers, demonstrations in the classroom and field trips, is designed to
help students grasp the background of their community.
"Once Upon a Time in Farmers Branch is as complete as we
could get it," said Frances Glancy, a docent at the Historical Park and
chairman of the Heritage Education Committee.
"We're also developing a video that can be used by teachers
in the classroom," Glancy said.
Glancy said the committee hopes the book helps teach history
and "helps the child develop a true love of history, when they see how they
lived years ago."
Sections of the history book include information on folk
dances, play parties, pie suppers, quilting, clearing land, authentic farm
dinners, churning butter, making lye soap, hog killing and clothing and
furniture of the day.
Live demonstrations that have been designed for the classroom
include a class on how pioneers learned penmanship - something third graders
can relate to because they are learning to go from printing to cursive
lettering, Glancy said. The program includes copies of old handwriting
in ledgers and documents, an ink well, pens and a writing slate. A fountain
pen is included in this lesson, as that artifact is historical to today's
Another live demonstration features a costumed character,
Sarah Keenan, firs woman settler in Farmers Branch. The volunteer actor
portrays Keenan for students, telling them what poineer wies and mothers did
in their everyday lives.
The third demonstration is on early kitchens, teaching
children about the days before running water and dishwashers.
Classes make the trip to the Historical Park will get a
personal look at how life in Farmers Branch may have once been.
Barbara Caffey of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent
school district says there was a real need for this program in the schools.
Teachers had access to many historical pamphlets and books that dealt with
this area, but nothing that had combined information from every sector into
Third grade is when students begin to learn about their world
as a community. The school district never expected the committee to develop
such a thorough educational tool, Caffey said.
"We thought we would be lucky to get a list of the key
settlers and a paragraph about each one and maybe some references." she
said. "We were very pleasantly surprised."
Caffey noted that te demonstrations for the classrooms are
important because field trips are so expensive these days and kept children
out of the classroom.
"There was no way we could have adopted a textbook published
on the national level that meet this need." she said.
Carrollton Chronicle; Wednesday, September 13, 1989