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T. Yes; the fire for heating it is chiefly composed of charcoal ashes and bone shavings; this gives the iron a whiter appearance, and renders the grain, if I may call it so, closer and finer. After this heating it will bear a very high polish. What is the red-hot iron plunged into cold water for ?
C. To make it hard.
T. You would do better to say, “ To temper it.” The temper signifies the degree of hardness and brittleness, or of softness and elasticity to which it is brought; the more suddenly it is cooled, the harder and more brittle it becomes; the more slowly it is allowed to cool, the softer and more elastic it will be. What do you understand this property, which we call elasticity, to be?
C. The power to spring back into the shape it has been forced out of.
T. Very well. Now tell me some of the uses of iron.
C. To make stoves, machines, engines, chains, farm and garden tools, ships —
T. You would find it difficult to name all the uses to which iron is applied, they are so numerous; but we must not omit cutlery. Who can tell what cutlery is?
C. Knives, scissors, swords, chisels, plane-irons —
C. Of steel.
C. Because it is hard ; it will take a fine keen edge; and can be highly polished.
T. Which do you consider the more useful metal, iron or gold? C. Iron.
T. You are quite right; the loss of iron would cause us far more inconvenience than the loss of gold would ; yet we are in the habit of speaking of gold as being more precious than iron, and it is far more expensive. How is this?
C. Because there is less gold than iron in the world.
T. You are right; the value of any article is determined by its abundance or scarcity, and by the ease or difficulty with which it can be obtained. Where is iron found ?
C. In almost every country in the world.
T. It is; and we shall do well to notice the wisdom and benevolence of God, in thus universally diffusing so useful a metal. Had it only been found in a few places, it would not have been, as it is now, within the easy reach of all : the cost of transportation would have made it much more expensive. But Edward has a question to ask, let us hear what it is.
E. What do you mean by transportation, teacher ?
T. Are you puzzled by a word so easily defined ? The class will turn their thoughts from iron to derivations, a few moments. What does the affix “ tion” signify ?
C. The act of.
T. Very good. Now there are two other parts to the word. Give me the roots and significations.
C. Porto, to carry ; trans, over or beyond.
T. Yes; then the expense of carrying iron a long distance, either over land or water, would make it cost more. As you have been very attentive to the lesson, I will tell you one or two historical facts which have some connection with our subject.
Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, learned the trade of a blacksmith, in order to set an example to his subjects; and when he worked at the forge, he made the boyards, or noblemen, blow the bellows, stir the fire, carry coals, and perform all the other offices of blacksmiths.
Gustavus Vaša, king of Sweden, worked as a common laborer in the iron mines of Dalecarlia ; the miners grew very fond of him, and heartily embracing his cause, enabled him to resist the tyrannical Danish king, Christian the Second. The memory of Gustavus Vasa is still held in great veneration.
A few years ago, an American blacksmith, who was very fond of learning, undertook to study different languages, and was so diligent that he soon learned, I think it was, fifteen languages. He then started on a tour through Europe, delivering lectures. People call him the “ learned blacksmith.”
Boys, what can hinder some of you from doing as well ? Diligence and perseverance will enable you to overcome difficulties, and to rise to any height which other men have been able to reach : perhaps even to go a step beyond them.
“ All that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you ?
Try, try, try again.”
American Educational Monthly.
COMPOSITIONS AND DECLAMATIONS.
Perhaps there is no exercise so much disliked by pupils as that of writing compositions, and declaiming before the school. We find this feeling very prevalent, and the question naturally arises: “What is the remedy ?” Can anything be done to make this exercise more pleasant and profitable ?
The teacher wishes to have a good school, and if so, this exercise must be attended to regularly. He wishes to have the pupils perform the task with a good will, and gladly avails himself of any method by which it may become more agreeable to them.
In seeking for a remedy we were led to compare this exercise with other regular exercises in school, and to see if by this comparison we could not ascertain where the difficulty lay. In all our experience there is no such outcry and hostility against other exercises. Grammar, arithmetic, geography and other studies were generally well received and taken for granted as pleasant studies, or at least to be silently endured; but when we mention compositions or declamations the expression on the countenances of our pupils is often anything but that of joy.
We'have tried the practice of giving the topics ourselves to each pupil, and of permitting them to select, but all of no avail ; the old hostility still remains. Thus have we, with many others, worked through the year. Some, to be sure, never complain, but always have their work done in season and well.
The latest method which we have adopted, and that which so far meets with success, is to make the exercise more like the other studies in school, by having it oftener than usual in most places.
We presume that a large majority of our schools have an exercise of this kind but once in two weeks. This was our own method for a long time. In so doing, we do not get the school sufficiently familiarized with the practice to make that progress which we should be pleased to see.
From what we have seen, we should say, make more of the exercise ; bring it before the school at least once a week, and the horrors formerly experienced will disappear. Since adopting this last method we have never failed to write subjects on the board each week, sometimes oftener, and give twenty minutes, or more if convenient, for the pupils to write upon the one they may select, with no time for preparation. It makes an every-day matter of it, and the more we practice it the better fitted they become, and the more ready to write.
It “ brings them out;" there is no copying nor re-modelling from other authors, and the constant repetition of this method will dispel much of the hostility and dread generally entertained, so that it will become quite as popular as any other study.
How it may be with others we cannot say, but so far, the custom shows its own fruit. There must at the same time be the regular compositions, written with more care at home.
Declamations, too, we have treated in the same manner, having given up the old custom of bringing the masters on to the stage only once in two weeks. Instead of committing a new piece each time, we often allow them to review the old. This exercise is not to tax the memory, but to prepare the lads for real life in this department. Far better to permit them to become familiar with a few select pieces than to require them to commit many, and be so absorbed in thinking what comes next, that they lose all the spirit of the author.
On any day when there is a five-minute space of extra time, call on some one for a declamation. Of course, by committing a few pieces, the whole school will always be ready to review some of them. It is very pleasant, when parents visit the school, thus to vary the exercises, but more gratifying still to see the readiness and good will which the masters display.
Some may think they cannot take the time, but such must be content to see less progress and less pleasure.
We believe these two exercises are important. The masters need the discipline to prepare them for future duties. They need more confidence, and this will cultivate what they already have and add more.
Let the misses, too, read their compositions standing in front of the other pupils. It will make more of them every way. If others have any suggestions on this general topic, we should be happy to hear them.
Continued from May Number.
We find a great diversity of practice among grammarians in the classification of words. The best recognize eight “parts of speech;”— a rather homely phrase by the way. There are nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, propositions and interjections.
Some make nine, adding to the above list the articles; as do all the old grammarians. Lindley Murray, for instance, places the article at the head of the column! as if these two words ranked of the first importance, and were the most natural class of words to be first mentioned, or first thought of. It seems to have been a great hobby of these old grammarians to keep these little words ever before the mind as articles ! ARTICLES ! !-apparently never imagining that they might possibly be embraced under one of the classes above mentioned. But — thanks to the greater intelligence of this progressive age,—this old notion is well-nigh exploded; and grammarians of the present day class them very properly with the definitive adjectives. But on account of the time-honored custom, I suppose, many old people still cling to the notion of calling the article a separate part of speech. And we might be content to let this absurd notion die out with its possessors, were it not that one of the latest and — mechanically considered — one of the best grammars — Quackenbos's, published “ MDCCCLXII”, still clings to the old dead — or fast dying, --- carcass, and places it third in order,—as if to reprove the temerity of Murray in placing it first, - even before the adjective, of which the article is merely one of the subordinate classes.
The reasons why the article is not a separate part of speech are principally three : first, it always has the construction of the definitive adjective; second, the term article, as thus used, is without significance, having no more meaning than the proper name John, which merely distinguishes the person to whom it is applied, from other individuals; third, the weight of authority is overwhelmingly against it. The term article is derived from the Latin articulus, diminutive of artus, which literally means joint ; from which we are to infer that the articuli — i. e., articles,— are the “small” joints, or “ members connecting other members.” [See Andrew's Lat. Lex.]
A fine piece of etymology, to be sure. But I think these simple words can hardly be called connectives, even in the most general sense