Abacus/Apple Computers Tales Out of School

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good

Abacus/Apple Computers

I used to have an abacus, very useful for showing young children how numbers work.
I also used the bag of coins from students’ Scholastic Books orders to explain the tens and hundreds columns when my very young niece said it didn’t make sense. Money made it clear to her; money is funny that way . . .

Computers! In 1983 or so, a colleague forced, er encouraged, our principal to learn about computers. Once he got going with it, he said he would never again approve a purchase order for more typewriters because they were clearly on the way to obsolescence.
A friend whined that the problem was “The computer does what I tell it to instead of what I WANT it to do.”

Students, OTOH, picked up the new skills quickly. An assistant principal, observing their work on the second day of instruction said they were already doing things he hadn’t learned.

My junior high students wrote wonderful stories using David Melton’s _Written and Illustrated By_. I did restrict content to a “G” rating, and had to take away one very steamy work in progress, moved it to another floppy disk and erased it from the disks shared by all six classes. I told the unhappy young author that if she wanted to keep a copy, I’d have to have her mom come in to agree to take it off my hands. She declined.

Students wanting to write more graphic material would remind me that Stephen King made great money from writing beyond my restrictions, and I allowed that someday one of my former students might well become rich and famous. I said I’d be happy to appear on a talk show with them and admit that I had held them back, and even be willing to accept a second-hand sports car from them, since teaching would never pay enough to allow me to buy one for myself. They’d smile and comply, no doubt dreaming of wealth and fame . . .




7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shawn
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 08:27:37

    Thanks for sharing. You brought back some good memories. My first computer was an Apple II. 🙂 Looking forward to the rest of your A-to-Z compilation!


  2. Stephen Tremp
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 08:45:21

    I’ve never tried to use an abacus. I’ve seen Chinese merchants use them in Chinatown, but I think there was a lot of show in what they were doing.


  3. Tarkabarka
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 08:57:42

    I love the complaint about the computer 🙂 I think a lot of people share that…
    Happy A to Z! 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary


  4. monti7
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 09:26:55

    Amazing to have those memories. The computer certainly changed our world and aided the writer. No more stopping to erase on a manuscript!!!


  5. rogershipp
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 11:34:25

    I. too, have taught in the days of abacus and pre-computer. Looking forward to your postings!
    https://rogershipp.wordpress.com/ 1432
    Alternative Aspirations of Picasso


  6. Nilanjana Bose
    Apr 02, 2015 @ 09:51:25

    I can so relate to that peeve about the computer.


  7. Lanise Brown
    Apr 03, 2015 @ 00:17:38

    Ah, scholastic book orders and computer math programs in school. Those were great times! Thanks for sharing, Mary.


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