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Wide-eyed students in Kelly Anderson’s kindergarten class at Richards Elementary School sat cross-legged as they tried to grasp the importance of raising their hands and waiting their turn.
Amid the chatter of students eager for the teacher’s attention, Anderson clapped three times. The students, knowing that meant to listen, fell silent and clapped thrice in response.
“This is a great group of kids,” said Anderson, whose class of 29 is the largest kindergarten group she has taught in her four years. “It’s going to be hairy when the doors open.”
Students showed up for the first day of school Monday throughout the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., a day that featured smiles, tears and hugs for some of the youngest children.
Anderson’s class was a mixture of chatty and quiet students.
Chiharu Ito cried briefly after her parents left but never missed a beat when it came to coloring the activity sheet in front of her.
Payton Jordan, who sat at a different table, asked the other children who sat with him for their names — with no hint of shyness.
Olivia Walker was talkative and made friends quickly.
“I don’t know if I’m crying or jumping for joy,” said Emily Lambrecht after dropping off her son, Carter, and giving him a hug.
Sherry Philpot, the mother of Autumn Philpot, said she was having a much harder time sending her daughter to kindergarten for the first time than her daughter was having.
“She’ll do well,” Sherry Philpot said. “She’s been to day care, so she’s already had some of that interaction with kids.”
Anderson and her assistant, Diana Wang, went over procedures and toured the building with the children and showed them how to go through the lunch line, among other things.
Anderson had the children color pictures. She read to them and praised those students who raised their hands before speaking.
When children spoke out of turn, Anderson hushed them and reminded them of the proper procedure.
Open-toe sandals are a no-no in Anderson’s class. After seeing some who wore them, she told them she wanted them to wear tennis shoes with socks from that point forward. But she said it in a nice way.
Things got downright fun when Anderson played a compact disc that called for the students to stick their tongues out and close their eyes, all while dancing comically to the snappy tune.
Students asked several times about when recess would start and when they could go to lunch. Anderson held them off by keeping things simple, lively, educational and fun.
“I’m excited to get started,” Anderson said.
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