100-Year-Old Chalkboards Discovered In A School In Oklahoma Shows How School Has — And Hasn’t — Changed

Have you ever sat through a boring class at school and wondered how things were taught a hundred years ago? Did you stare at the chalkboard and wonder how many times it had been wiped clear? How many children were punished with banging dusters together after class? Well, wonder no longer. In Oklahoma, many chalkboards were recently discovered — preserved in time.

Contractors at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City were tasked with removing the old chalkboards and replacing them with new whiteboards and smartboards. What they discovered underneath was truly amazing. Under the old chalkboards were more chalkboards — older still and covered over without ever erasing what had last been written on them.

The chalkboards date back to 1917, according to the Washington Post, and hold images as well as class lessons. The dates recorded on the chalkboards include December 4, 1917 and November 30, 1917. In 1917, workers came in and installed new chalkboards over the tops of these older chalkboards, as is indicated by some of the writing on them that date exactly when the new chalkboards were installed.

One of the contractors for the MAPS for Kids renovations had the following to say about the 100-year-old chalkboards find.

“We find a lot of hidden things but rarely do we find kids work, teachers work and text like this on blackboards, normally we find broken pipes and wires and things that we have to work around but this is a pleasant surprise.”

Meanwhile, Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore was amazed at the quality of the penmanship on the chalkboards.

“The penmanship blows me away because you don’t see a lot of that anymore. Some of the handwriting in some of these rooms is beautiful,” she told News OK.

She was particularly amazed at a technique of teaching multiplication shown on the 100-year old chalkboards that she had never seen before.

Oklahoma 100-year old chalkboards from 1917 Multiplication lesson

Lessons posted on the chalkboards include the complex multiplication wheel above, pilgrim history, hygiene rules, and drawings. The 100-year-old chalkboards contain work not only from the teachers of the time, but the students as well. Principle Kishore was a little overwhelmed by the writing on the chalkboards from the children.

“Their names are here; I don’t know whether they were students in charge that day that got to do the special chores if they were the ones that had a little extra to do because they were acting up. But it’s all kinds of different feelings when you look at this.”

What do you think of these 100-year-old chalkboards? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

[Image credits: Oklahoma City Public Schools]