GES welcomes ‘eager little learners’ back to school

Published 5:23 pm Thursday, August 13, 2015

Second graders in Carol McLaughlin's class get to know each other on the first day of school by plotting similarities and differences on a Venn diagram. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Second graders in Carol McLaughlin’s class get to know each other on the first day of school by plotting similarities and differences on a Venn diagram. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—After a nearly two-month long vacation, Greystone Elementary School students returned for their first day of school, filling the hallways with laughter and activity on Aug. 13.

“It’s just all those little smiles, there’s an excitement to it,” GES Principal Dr. Kathy Wheaton said of the first day of school. “To me, that’s (the best part), it’s bringing the life back in to the building with these eager little learners.”

The day got off to a great start, even from the beginning with a visit from Hoover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy and a smooth bus and carpool drop off, Wheaton said.

“I love carpool duty, so I was out helping,” resource and enrichment teacher Judy Simpson said. “I loved seeing the kids, they jump out of the car with a big smile on their face.”

Once students settled into their homerooms, the learning began. The first day of school is all about adjusting to a new classroom, new classmates and a new teacher, Wheaton explained.

For the youngest students at GES, the kindergarteners, this means learning how elementary school works.

“You take it from square one,” kindergarten teacher Annie Lamb explained. “Most of them come in and they’re ready to learn.”

In addition to learning the basics of school, Lamb ensures her students have fun and “want to come back to school.”

“Some of them do cry, and you give them a hug and tell them it’ll be okay,” Lamb said. “It’s about making them excited to be here and about teaching them how to be here in big kid school.”

Just a short distance away in Carol McLaughlin’s second grade class, students were sharing information about themselves and forming friendships.

“Oh we’ve been busy!” McLaughlin said with a laugh, noting her second graders completed self portraits, read books and were working to graph similarities and differences with classmates on Venn diagrams.

For McLaughlin, the first days of school are all about getting to know her new class of students, their strengths and their unique personalities.

“I like to sit back and watch, find out what their interests are,” McLaughlin said. “The best part is getting to knew the new personalities. They all know so much, they’re already little people.”

Although Aug. 13 was the students’ first day of school, it was not the teachers’ first day of work. GES teachers completed countless hours of work, planning and professional development over the summer, Wheaton said.

From June 1 through Aug. 7, GES teachers recorded 389.5 hours of certified district professional development, but Wheaton was quick to add that number was “seriously underestimated.”

“The school supplies on the first day, they’re there and it’s not because I did it,” Wheaton said. “Their minds are generating and spinning, and spinning, and spinning… They’re always looking, thinking and sharing.”