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Bears take over Lowe Elementary

Adalyn Tuter and her classmates wait to see what the bears have done.

Kindergarten students at Lowe Elementary learned this week why bears have fur, but they also learned that bears don’t always follow instructions.

To reinforce their study of bears and the letter B, the Lowe kindergarteners brought their stuffed animals for a sleep over. When the bears were mischievous during recess, the teachers reminded the students to teach their bears how to act while they were on campus. They apparently didn’t listen.

The students were met on Friday morning by a banner hanging in the kindergarten hall “left by the bears” that read, “No Kids Allowed. Bears Only!!”

Lowe kindergarten lead teacher Kim Anthony has been part of the bear sleepover project for more than 25 years. The original idea popped up in Princeton at Lacy Elementary when kindergarten teacher Michelle McCord attended a workshop. She and Mrs. Anthony then carried the tradition to Smith, and now, Mrs. Anthony has introduced it at Lowe.

“The students bring their bears on Thursday, and we review the letter B, as well as incorporate science,” she said. “We are learning about animal characteristics and adaptions. We put extra focus on the bears.”

Kaiden Keith, Logan Muiru and Dean Hutchinson prepare to crawl under the sign blocking the hall.

According to Mrs. Anthony, there’s always buildup to prepare for when the bears take over.

“On Thursday, the bears move around throughout the day,” she said. “After the kids have gone to recess and lunch, they come back and the bears were not where they left them, so they get a little hint about school magic.”

According to Lowe Principal Jeff Coburn, the students warned their bears that they better behave while they are gone.

“We had some of our sleepover friends get a little rowdy,” said Mr. Coburn as he prepared to let the kid through the doors Friday morning after the bears had been at school alone all night. “I need for y’all to have a talk with your friends when you get to class this morning because they forgot what you told them about how to behave.”

The kindergarten students knew something was up.

Jacob Mills finds his bear swinging from the ceiling.

“I don’t think my bear acted right,” said kindergartener Dean Hutchinson.

Kindergartener Kiera Paulson almost couldn’t contain herself because of all the giggles about what the bears might have done.

According to Lowe Assistant Principal, Misti Chapman, this will be a great memory for the students.

“My son is in 4th-grade now,” said Mrs. Chapman. “He still talks about his bear sleepover.”

When Oliver Romine searches the room, he points in amazement when he finds his bear atop the closet door.

When the students were unleashed on the kindergarten hall, there were cheers and squeals as they saw the balloons, streamers and confetti the bears had left behind. They couldn’t wait to find their own bear to see what it had done.

Mrs. Anthony’s two daughters brought their bears to school about 20 years ago for the annual sleepover, and now she solicits their help.

“My girls loved it so much that when they got older, they wanted to help me create the bear chaos,” she said. “Last night, my daughter Bailey repaired one of the student’s bears. She even took pictures as the bear underwent ‘surgery’ to reattach its leg.”

In Alisha Cofield’s classroom this year, there was a stuffed animal popping popcorn in the microwave, and there was even a bear birthday party complete with snacks.

“We already warned the kids,” Mrs. Anthony said. “When you make a mess in your room, you have to clean it up, so when their bears make a mess, it’s their job to do all the clean up and put it back the way it was."

Lexa McClain finds her stuff animal popping popcorn in the microwave.

About the photos:

Adalyn Tuter and the rest of her classmates anxiously await for Lowe Principal Jeff Coburn to unlock the doors to their hallway so they can see what the bears have done behind the sign that reads, “No kids allowed. Bears only.”

Once inside the kindergarten hall, Kaiden Keith, Logan Muiru and Dean Hutchinson prepare to crawl under the sign blocking the hallway.

Lexa McClain finds her stuff animal popping popcorn in the microwave.

When Oliver Romine searches the room, he points in amazement when he finds his bear atop the closet door.

Jacob Mills finds his bear swinging from the ceiling.

Cooper Murphy can’t believe what he sees when he enters his classroom.

Cooper Murphy can’t believe what he sees when he enters his classroom and sees the mess.

Alisha Cofield tells Liam Anthony his bear stole candy out of his Grammy’s cabinet, and she happens to be kindergarten teacher Kim Anthony.

Mrs. Cofield breaks the news about his bad bear to Liam Anthony.