Resources were scarce in one room schools. Pencils and paper were used with care.
Penmanship was practiced on slates, so they could be erased and used over again. But the real test was carried out with pen and ink on paper. Since paper was scarce, every student was cautioned to write from one edge of the paper to the other; there was no such thing as a margin. Both sides of the page were covered; not a scrap was wasted. Students prided themselves in producing beautiful, flowing script. A scratchy, steel point didn’t make the job any easier.
Iowa Heritage Iowa Country Schools