WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- When Cynthia Buell needs to work with students in groups, she finds a way to "clone" herself.
She calls her alter-ego "Mini Ms. Buell."
"I can't be ten places at once, so I bought the digital voice recorders, so I could just tell my kids what they need to do, and they can press it (the device) as many times as they want to," said Buell, a third grade teacher at Little River Elementary in Cherokee County.
She told her students on a recent day, "Mini Ms. Buell ... will explain all of your activities."
At just about a week into the school year, most teachers find it difficult to get students to follow class rules and concepts, but Buell has no problems because she had the same class of students last year.
Buell looped from second grade to third grade with her students.
"It was my choice. I thought it would be a good change for me because I'd been teaching second grade for so long," Buell said.
"It was really awesome. We gave the parents (in Buell's class) the option of not staying with the class, if they wished, if they wanted the opportunity. Unanimously, all the parents had their children stay with Ms. Buell," said Christian Kirby, principal at Little River Elementary.
Buell chose to loop to third grade after seven years as a second grade teacher for the challenge and to keep this class moving as if they had no summer break.
"Being able to start at day 181 -- it doesn't feel like the first day of school. We already know each other. They understand the classroom management, the rules, the procedures," said Buell, the first 11Alive Class Act winner of the school year.
The students understand she knows them well and is able to determine individual needs.
"She puts me with people that are right as smart as me and she never gives us anything she knows we can't do," said Maria, one of Buell's students.
"She's always encouraging others to believe in ourselves," 8-year-old Carson said.
"It's such a pleasure having her as a teacher and it's a blessing for this school" Kirby said.
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