Marianna- Paige Cavanaugh's 23 years in a classroom couldn't have prepared her for what to expect Monday when she returned to her 5th grade class of Riverside Elementary School students.
"That was my biggest worry" Cavanaugh explained, "one, how much do the kids know? And two, how was I going to handle their distress? Because I knew they would be distressed- and they were."
Some had heard about the shooting, others hadn't. One of Cavanaugh's students, ten year old, Dallan Dexter, told us how he learned of the news.
"I was riding to school with my mom and grand mom and my mom told me what happened and I was surprised because I didn't think somebody would actually do that."
Though their levels of understanding varied, almost all felt the need to do something for the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"Really, we were supposed to be doing a first semester exam review- but that went out the window. I was like, let's just make cards" Cavanaugh said smiling.
The students traded a day of reading and arithmetic, for a lesson in love and empathy.
"We did the dolphins and I felt like it would really be a good thing to help bring the spirits up for the people who had losses" Dexter said.
"Unfortunately a lot of our kids innocence- it's gone" Cavanaugh said. "Something like that happens- I mean, there are still kids in here who are not really sure why we made those cards, and it's not my place to tell them. It's their parents place to have that conversation. But hopefully they know, 'OK, today I did something nice for someone else' and they know how that made them feel and they'll take that with them."
School officials told us every class at Riverside planned to send cards to Sandy Hook.