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Williamsport teacher treats students, parents to breakfast in the classroom

August 24, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Ben Starkey chews on a slice of French toast Wednesday in Dan Henderson's fifth-grade class at Williamsport Elementary School.
By Kevin G. Gilbert

WILLIAMSPORT — A stack of textbooks, directions for the first day of school, and a pouch containing pencils, erasers and a lollipop greeted students Wednesday in Dan Henderson’s fifth-grade magnet class.

So did a buffet of french toast sticks, doughnuts, fruit, biscuits and homemade sausage gravy as, for the 15th year, Henderson invited his students and their parents in early to start the school year with breakfast.

“I just thought it would be a great way to get to know the parents, to start the school year before the school year officially begins,” said Henderson, who teaches at Williamsport Elementary Magnet School for Mathematics, Science, and Technology.

“We all work together as a team throughout the school year,” said Henderson, who started the tradition with his fourth-grade class at Cascade Elementary School in 1997.

“I think it lets them all get in touch with each other.  (It) Lets the parents meet the teacher, be more comfortable with the surroundings,” said Williamsport resident Eric Dudley, father of MacKenzie.

“I just think it’s wonderful that the teacher is offering the first day back-to-school breakfast,” said Amy Riley of Williamsport. “I think it gets the students excited about being back at school and just makes the classroom feel like a team. So I think it’s wonderful, and I thank him very much for doing this.”

Riley’s son, Hunter, 10, is in Henderson’s class. She also brought her younger son, Ben, to the breakfast before he went to his third-grade class.

Hunter said he was looking forward to reading for class because it’s a quiet time when he can read books. His favorite are chapter books.

Alexys Johnson loved that school was getting started.

“Cause I like learning and having all the environment around us, and it’s kind of fun, too,” said Alexys, 10, of Williamsport.

Henderson’s classroom has a door to an outdoor courtyard that all classes can use. His class will use the courtyard for independent reading time, science investigations, and occasionally, lunch, an email from Henderson said.

Alexys said she likes “arithmetic and the multiplication, division, the algebra, every subject really.”

“I want to learn about Isaac Newton’s laws of motion a lot,” said Paxton Alexander, 10, of Hagerstown.

“I’m ready to learn whatever they try to teach me,” said Jake Foster, 10, of Williamsport.

Ben Lehman, 10, of Downsville, said he was most interested in math and science such as chemistry. He also was looking forward to a project involving small cars and ramps that the fifth-graders did last year.

Trinity Schlotterbeck, 10, of Williamsport, was looking forward to science and math.

“I am looking forward to reading, too, because I know it will be a lot of fun, and social studies ‘cause we get to learn ... more about the Indians,” Trinity said.

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