Sparkle Schoolhouse
FIFTY Study Page - "Ohio: The View from Above”

FIFTY Study Page - "Ohio: The View from Above”

“The View from Above” is historical fiction that uses historical and biographical facts as its foundation. John D. Rockefeller did take only one flight in his life, and Blanche Noyes was his pilot. We hope you enjoy the story and then use it to learn more about all the history and geography connected to the narrative.

Ohio is a state that has been central to the “American Experiment” - especially in transportation, manufacturing and big business.

Ohio History

  • History of oil business - Standard Oil and monopoly
  • History of transportation - river boats, trains, cars, flight
  • History of flight - Wright brothers and Dayton, Ohio
  • The “Robber Barons” - Rockefeller, Carnegie and others
  • Biography of John D. Rockefeller
  • Biography of Blanche Noyes


Ohio Geography

  • Show relationship between Cleveland and Lake Erie and other Great Lakes
  • Show Cleveland, Ohio in relation to California with Women’s Air Derby Race
  • Show Cleveland, Ohio in relation to New York State (John D. Rockefeller’s birth city and upstate mansion)


“A View from Above” Study Topics

  • Women’s Rights: history of women pilots
  • Breaking of Monopolies: Standard Oil and other monopolies
  • Wealth gap of the 1930s between extreme rich and extreme poor of Depression
  • Biography of Amelia Earheart


From a Child Development Perspective

Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.

This is a story of the value of personal determination, fortitude, strength and kindness that our children can win when they contend with strong headwinds in the form of workplace discrimination.

In this story, your child might learn that:

· Blanche, a strong, young capable pilot, discovers a shared experience with a 90 year old captain of industry. We might find common ground with the most unlikely of people!

· Blanche's grit, strength, skill, and resolve make her a hero worthy of emulation – she's a good person. A model for other good people.

· Although this fictional depiction of Mr. Rockefeller reveals that his business tactics are not all respectable ones, we learn that he is most proud of the charity and quiet caring he learned from his mother.

· And most importantly: there are lessons to be learned and truths to be gleaned from sources that are not only unlikely. Sometimes we may find that we have misjudged by virtue of preconceived notions of age, gender, and class.

About the Authors

David Sewell McCann

Story Spinner

David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.

Meredith Markow

Sparkle Schoolhouse Head of School

Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.

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