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(a) Height: is a shrub varying from three to fifteen feet, similar in appearance to the hollyhock.
(b) Leaves: are large and dark green in color, and five-lobed. (Illustrate on black-board.)
(c) Flowers: are large and showy, usually yellow, but sometimes varying to a purple with black spots ; similar in shape to those of the hollyhock.
(d) Fruit: called boll, forms after blossom falls; contains three to five cells full of fibre, called cotton, in which the seeds are imbedded. The boll when closed is about the size of a walnut. Seeds are black or green, covered with short fibre, and resembling a small lemon seed in size and shape.
4. Kinds : There are many varieties, but the two best known are:
(a) Long Staple or Sea Island. So called because the fibres are very long, (about 2 inches) and fine; also because it is cultivated on the islands and lowlands on the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, where this kind is mainly found. This is the best cotton produced.
(b) Short Staple or Upland: So called because fibres are short, (about one inch) and because cultivated on higher land in the interior: is found in greater abundance, but not so valuable as the other.
Begins about the 1st of April. Is planted in rows about four feet apart. In about a week the young plants come up and are allowed to grow until they have several leaves: then they are thinned out by cutting away the stalks and weeds, and later on are thinned again, only a single strong plant being left in each place. In about three months they blossom; when the blossom fades and falls, the boll, containing the seeds and cotton, is left; when the boll is fully ripe it bursts and the cotton is exposed to view. It is now ready for picking, and the field looks like a mass of snow. The picking must be done in the morning, because if left till noon the sun would discolor the cotton; it must also be done in dry weather, as dampness would cause it to mould. Each picker carries a bag slung over his shoulder, in which the cotton is placed. It is then carried to the cotton-gin.
This is a machine for separating the fibres from the seeds. It consists of a number of circular saws, with fine teeth, fastened to a bar which is constantly revolving; these saws tear the cotton from the mass, and the seeds fall into a box below. Behind these saws is a revolving brush which takes the lint from the teeth of the saw: then a large fan blows the lint from the brush into the lint room. The cotton is then packed in bales, bound by iron hoops, and sent to the mill to be manufactured into thread, yarn, and cloth. .
The teacher then writes the following abstract of the “ talks” upon the blackboard, and the pupils are required to express their ideas upon each subject, orally, to the best of their ability.
COTTON. 1. Introduction :
a. materials for clothing.
c. most important. 2. Where it grows:
a. where first found.
3. Description of plant:
e. seeds. 4. Kinds:
a. Sea Island or Long Staple.
b. Upland or Short Staple. 5. Planting :
e. sent to cotton-gin.
a. circular saw.
e. packing into bales. Such an abstract will furnish material for several talking exercises, and these in turn should be followed by several writing exercises. The language exercises following story-telling, topical recitations, and information lessons, being similar in character, need no further explanation than they have already received.
SUPPLEMENTARY READING. The use and abuse of supplementary reading has been 80 widely discussed during the past few years that it is hardly necessary to go over the ground to-day. I will only undertake so much of the task as is necessary to. show how such reading may be made to contribute to the teaching of language in the elementary schools.
In the primary schools, supplementary reading merely increases the amount of reading-matter to be used in the school-room. A few years ago one reader was supposed to furnish all the matter needed for an ordinary class during ten months. The stories or lessons were read and re-read until they were learned by heart, and in many cases pupils could read equally well with the book open or shut. I remember distinctly my surprise upon being told by an intelligent parent that his boy, though by reputation one of the best in the class, could not read a word outside of his primer. He could repeat correctly every story in the book, if allowed to see the picture at the head of the page. Any other story constructed from precisely the same words was to him as one in a foreign tongue. In most of the primary schools with which I am acquainted, at least five or six ordinary books will be read in one year, and in some schools double that number.
In the grammar schools, however, the reading is still too limited. It is true that the studies of geography and history supplement the work of the school-reader, but not to such an extent as is desirable. There is no good reason why boys and girls of fourteen or fifteen years of age should not read in school, or in connection with their other school work, much of our best English and American literature; enough at least to establish a taste for good reading and to provoke a desire to know more of the purest and best. Moral training primarily belongs to parents and teachers, but the company our children keep, and the books they read, are more potent by far than parents and teachers combined. Our efforts, then, should be directed towards cultivating a taste for good company and good reading. In the school-room we can do much in this direction. Good books should be provided by those in authority as the best investment for the security of good morals.
Promiscuous reading of even good books is not to be desired or permitted. Books should be read in such a way that the beauties of style and diction may be appreciated, as well as the facts and incidents of the story. That this may be the result it is necessary that the teacher take an active part in the reading. Except in the lower classes, the reading should be done by the pupils at home, and only the results of that reading brought into the school as a class exercise.
The teacher must be as familiar with the book as the pupils themselves, and neither should be allowed to use the book in the class-room except for an occasional reference. During the reading-hour the pupils discuss the portion of the book read in response to the notes made by the teacher. In this way the teacher is enabled to guide the discussion into proper channels. The peculiarities of the author's style, the incidents of the story, the descriptions of natural scenery, the development of the plot, and a hundred other things connected with the matter read, can all be brought out in the discussion in such a way as to make an impression upon the mind of the child. He can be led to admire and love what is noble and good, to hate what is ignoble and bad, and at the same time to appreciate the skill of the author in developing the story so as to maintain the interest of the reader to the end.
Such an exercise is also invaluable in training the pupil in the use of language. He is learning to read, and reproduce what he reads, precisely as in the case of his studies in history and geography, with the advantage in this