The students returned to their desks to pray before grabbing their lunchboxes and running outside for lunch.

After eating ham sandwiches washed down with apple cider, the younger children raced around the school building, playing a game called "peek around the corner."

Lapp and the older students played baseball by a chicken-wire backstop. Children periodically darted into the outhouses and then washed their hands at an outside pump.

"Learn me how," second-grader Sylvia Esh asked Roseanne, as she watched some girls play a hand-clapping game.

After lunch, the children removed mugs from hooks on the wall and drank water before returning to their desks.

Lapp instructed the older children to work in their hardback health and German textbooks. Printed especially for the Amish, they have few pictures.

She called Emma Ruth and Joseph Stoltzfus, the other first-grader, to the blackboard and quizzed them with phonics flashcards. The girl rocked from foot to foot, twisting her black pinafore in her hand as she tried to pronounce m-o. The afternoon sunlight glinted off a mason jar on Lapp's desk that held goldenrods, a gift from one of her students.

Then it was time for the children to sweep the classroom and straighten the desks before heading home. Lapp said goodbye to each child and watched them leave, walk down the path and out of the schoolyard.

"They're really innocent here," she said after the last child left. She said she has not discussed the shootings with her students, although she has heard them talk about what happened on Monday not so far away.

What is important, Lapp said, is to continue with the daily routine and make the children as safe and secure as possible.

"You think about it every time someone would come by the school," she said. "Just to think about something like that happening here, I can't even imagine it."

Then she closed the windows, pulled down the blinds and left the school, closing the door behind her.

It had no lock.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com