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majority of children would derive from it; besides all new desks might omit the leaf and have the whole surface cut out of a single board. Supposing it should prove a little inconvenient in some respects, would that be a valid excuse where the precious health of our children is concerned? The country lads and lasses who attend school for three or six months a year, and spend the rest of their time in invigorating labor or healthful sport, are not so much in need of our thoughtful care, as the more delicate child of the city and town, who goes to school nine months a year, and is kept at his task after school hours by home task or private lessons--but we think that even with farmer's children (who are not always models of health and symmetry) an

ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The ideas we have advanced in this article are not a mere theory; we had a desk with leaf for the right arm attached, made for our own use, and have since been relieved of much of the fatigue which writing at a common desk or table produces. We think that all who are in the habit of writing much, such as authors, copyists and school children, would find the manual labor of writing less trying to their chests, spines and eyes,

if they were to use a similar desk. For our own part we are convinced of the practicablity of this proposed improvement, and we should like to see it tested in the school-room. Will not some western Peabody cast his bread on these waters? Who knows but it may return him " after many days!"

READING.

BY AMOS WHITING, SUPT. OF TREMPEALEAU CO.

In primary teaching, oral instruction should always precede the lessons given in the book; pupils should be made to understand the nature, necessity, and use of each principle of expression before any name is given to it or any defiuitions or subdivisions are crowded upon the memory. Thus in the matter of inflections, the pupil may be readily to taught to see that the voice naturally follows wave lines or slides in reading or speaking, by simply having the attention of the class called to the subject and requiring the members to ask and answer questions, give commands, make positive assertions, etc., and they can also be made to see that these slides are produced by the contraction and expansion of the vocal cords, and when they have become familiar with the new acquaintance it will do no harm to give it a name, and to learn what the books say about it. But the oral instruction has done the real work if it is done at all. Rules and principles embodied in set phrase may be well enough; they may be

even necessary to systematize our knowledge, but they can seldom or never be applied to actual reading in their entirety.

The shades of thought are so varying that absolute rules in their expression are impossible. There may be those who unconsciously read according to rule, in the main, but none who read by it, having it mentally before them as a chart and compass. He who fully comprehends his author and who enters into the spirit of what he reads, will have his mind almost entirely engrossed with his subject, and his voice and manner, if unperverted and untrammeled, will be true to the mental impressions and may be safely trusted to care for themselves. But bad habits performed in childhood, and confirmed by a long course of practice, have the mastery of nearly every person. A certain author says that nineteen out of every twenty read in a tone and manner altogether different from those in which they would have uttered the same sentence out of the book. They talk with the right expression, but they read almost invariably with the wrong expression; the reason being that they understand what they are saying, but they do not and never did readily and fullly understand what they read.

An intelligent gentleman lately remarking on this subject said that much of the reading in the schools which he officially visited was so outrageously bad that he often took the class into his own hands; he also claimed that the reading of many of our clergymen in this country, was little better, and that much of the force and beauty of the selections read, were lost through the unnatural tones in which they were rendered, and all close observers will admit that his statements are within the truth.

Very much of the labor of the instructor in the average schools needs to be corrective in its character. What to avoid and how to avoid it, should be oft-recurring questions in the mind of the teacher. Having discovered the defects of each individual case, they should be carefully and kindly pointed out, and the exercises should be so conducted as to correct some definite defect, and if the concurrence of the class can be secured, it will be a comparatively easy task.

It would be well to have each pupil, after reading a sentence in which is a faulty utterance, close the book and repeat the same as if he were speaking it himself; and the voice of the teacher should be joined with the pupils'; this will inspire confidence in the diffident, and will often enable a pupil to detect his own imperfections.

In all this work and in every stage of it this truth should be constantly borne in mind by the teacher, and as constantly impressed upon the minds of the taught, that the great end and aim of all instruction and all discipline is to develop the intellectual faculties and to

educate the affections. And if the style of reading as thus briefly and imperfectly indicated in these papers is in accordance with the natural order of human development, then each step in its progress will bring us nearer to the ideal standard of the cultivated man.-Trempealeau Record.

SERIES OF ELLIPSES AND RECTANGLES.

BY L. CAMPBELL, DOOR CREEK.

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If within a given ellipse the greatest possible rectangle be inscribed, and in that rectangle the greatest ellipse, and in that ellipse the greatest rectangle, and so on continually, the sum of all the inscribed rectangles will be just equal to a rectangle circumscribing the given ellipse.

Denote the major and minor axes of the given ellipse by 2A and 2B respectively; and let x and y be the co-ordinates of any point in the curve, the origin being at the center of the ellipse; then 2x and 2y will represent the sides of a rectangle inscribed within the ellipse, and when the rectangle is the greatest possible, xy=maximum. From the equation of the curve, we find y=Å VA'—". Hence,

, omitting the constant factor we have,

2 VA? - =maximum; or,

A%x*— X*=maximum. Differentiating, we obtain, 2.(A'-2cc")dx=0;

Α. Consequently, A'-22' =0; therefore, a=

B In like manner, y=

Hence, the sides of the greatest possible rectangle that can be inscribed in an ellipse, whose semi-axes are A

2A 2B and B, will be represented by and The area is therefore=

N2 2AB=half the area of a rectangle circumscribing the ellipse, which shows that the greater of any two consecutive rectangles in the series of inscribed rectangles is equal to twice the less. It is therefore obvious that the areas of the inscribed rectangles will be represented by the following decreasing geometrical series: 2AB, AB, JAB, 4AB, JAB, etc., in which the common ratio=1.

The sum of an infinite number of terms of this series is equal to AB(3+++++$+etc.)=4AB=the area of a rectangle circumscribing the given ellipse.

It may be shown, also, that the sum of all the inscribed ellipses is

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just equal to the given ellipse. For, since the sides of the first in

2A 2B scribed rectangle=

the semi-axes of an ellipse inscribed in

A B this rectangle are represented by and and the area of this el

N 2 lipse={AB x 3.1416=half the area of the given ellipse. Hence, it is readily seen that the sum of all the inscribed ellipses is equal to 3.1416 AB(1 +*+*+etc.)=3.1416 AB=area of the given ellipse.

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POOR EXCUSES.

Arithmetic and Grammar are among the most important branches taught in our schools, and no teacher can be deemed competent who is not fully conversant with them. Yet, many persons who have taught for years are unable to get a respectable standing on these subjects, and they usually account for their failure in the former by say. ing the questions were too difficult, and in the latter by asserting that they never studied it thoroughly, and are not required to teach it in their schools because their scholars are not sufficiently advanced to take it up. The first argument is refuted by the fact that good arithmeticians invariably achieve creditable results at our examinations. The second subterfuge is resorted to as an apology for conscious ignorance. The teacher whose defenses at this point are so weak will never concede that his pupils are prepared to study Grammar, for he knows that when that time arrives his “occupation's gone."

No great evidence of progress in studying History and the Constitutions has been given at the recent examinations. Proficiency in these branches is not so essential as a knowledge of some others, yet it is of much benefit, and these subjects are too much neglected. Unacquaintance with the history of our own country implies a lack of familiarity with that of other nations, and a dearth of general information which detracts from the teacher's efficiency, and renders it impossible for him to make Reading and Geography as interesting to his pupils as they ought to be made. It is now almost ten years since the law provided that applicants should be examined in the History of the United States, and if there are teachers who have not yet taken any steps to inform themselves on this topic, it is not impertinent at this late day to inquire, When do you propose to set about it?–From a Circular, by M. KIRWAN, Supt. of Manitowoc County.

No man ever did a designed injury to another, without doing a greater to himself.--Henry Home.

THERE is a foolish corner even in the brain of a sage.- Aristotle.

WRETCHED ECONOMY.

BY J. H. TERRY, SUPERINTENDENT OF SAUK COUNTY.

There is just now going on in political circles a warm discussion as to the management of the public finances. There is much interest manifested in this discussion, and it is to be hoped that, as a result, there will prevail a much better state of general intelligence upon such matters, and a deeper interest in this and all other affairs of the government.

It is not the intention, however, to dwell in this place upon matters so efficiently treated by others to whom such work more properly belongs; but to call attention to a piece of financial management which is of vastly greater concern to every tax-payer than any policy for the treatment of the national debt, and in which private citizens as well as public functionaries, republicans, as well as democrats or liberals are equally culpable.

If a farmer should hire a laborer at so many dollars per month, and after the completion of the contract decide that he would receive from him but four or five days' labor for each week, instead of the six stipulated in the agreement and duly paid for, the verdict of his neighbors would be, that; putting it very mildly, his financial policy was not sound.

Should the dealer in hops, after negotiating and paying for several tons, wilfully neglect to require the delivery of more than two-thirds or three-fourths, his conduct would excite suspicions of his sanity.

And yet, financiering like this is practised by many people throughout the country. It has become so prevalent that it fails to excite remark. The reports from teachers of this county show that the number of pupils in daily attendance upon the schools is about 65 per cent. of the number enrolled; and this number, of course, does not embrace all of school age residing in the district. Teachers are employed in sufficient number to meet the requirements of the schools as represented by the entire enrollment. Their wages are determined in the contract, and duly paid, whether all, or three-fourths, or one-half the children of the districts share in the equivalent received for the money expended. And the money thus applied is not some grand and noble gift, coming without thought or effort from some source of wonderful munificence; but it is the contribution of all the citizens, the product, in most instances, of hard labor. Its full value seems to be appreciated when it is paid in the form of taxes, and when the contract with

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