Sunday, March 29, 2009

End of Grade Levels?

I found this little blurb in Parade magazine today. It happens to be something RJ and I have been contemplating for years (ok...about 2). I think it would change our education system in a serious way....and is that such a bad thing?

I worry SO much about the high and low kids in my class. Since No Child Left Behind, SO much emphasis has been placed on bringing the low kids up, which is great. I think NCLB has a great basis to make teachers accountable and to make something get done where excuses used to be made.

BUT....I worry a lot about the higher end kids, because usually they're well-behaved as well. So, when they're done with something, they are content to "just sit and read" but really....should they have to? In my dream classroom, all children would be doing something completely different at any given time, yet completely on task and learning at their own instructional level....not just something (like a worksheet about a concept they've already mastered) that needs to get done because the teacher said so. Anyway....Enough of my rant. Read on...what do you think?

The End of Grade Levels?
Starting this August, elementary and middle-school students in one school district in Westminster, Colo., won't be assigned to grade levels based on age. Instead, they'll fall into multi-age levels based on what they already know and will move up only as they master new material.

The concept makes sense to many education experts because it matches how kids actually learn: One student needs three hours to figure out fractions while another takes a full day. The approach was successful in the Chugach public school district of Alaska during the 1990s. After five years, student-achievement scores there jumped from the bottom quartile to the top quartile, and the system is still working well today. Several other districts nationwide are considering the model, and some schools in Maine plan to implement the philosophy over the next few years. "Teachers who try it are excited. They see how powerful it is," says Richard DeLorenzo, who was superintendent of Chugach during its transformation and who co-founded the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition to perpetuate the model.

Still, many districts are hesitant. "It's very hard to get people to believe in something new," says Deborah Meier of New York University's Steinhardt School of Education. "They worry that it's a guinea-pig experiment or a fad that will go away in a few years."

— Susan Fine

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A fun weekend!

My birthday was Saturday, and it was so fun! To start it off two wonderful moms of students in my class had a surprise party for me on Friday!

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Coppin asked if she could do a "spring activity" with the class and asked if March 27 would work ok. It didn't even occur to me to ask what she was doing, because she always does fun things (like in the fall she came in and made caramel apples with the kids!).

So on Friday, in she comes with a giant bag. She asked the kids what holidays we celebrate in March....they started naming St. Patrick's Day, the start of spring, etc. We were out of options! Then she turned to me and asked if I could think of any holidays. I, totally being dumb and goofy said, " is my birthday tomorrow, we could celebrate that...." Totally joking! I was actually kind of embarrassed that there was a holiday that was obviously big enough to celebrate, but that none of us could think of! She said, "Yeah! We're going to have a surprise party!" Honestly, I thought she was trying to humor me and thought, "No No, we don't have to celebrate! Let's do your regular activity!"

But before I could say a thing....out came the cake, the cookies, the popcorn, the gift, the cards, the candy! It was so overwhelming! I was SO surprised! Each kid had already made a card for me (in RJ's class earlier this week, organized by fabulous Denise...and Denise, I SO would have posted a pic of you here, but I don't have any not involving beehives! Jordan says you hate to get your picture taken!) The cards were so coke cakes, oreos...and one said, "I hope your birthday is sweeter than oreos!" haha, they know me so well! It was so nice of Mrs. Coppin and Denise to organize such a fun party....we all had a great time! I have some wonderful pictures, but alas, they all have cute kids in them, and well....can't exactly post pics of the kiddos online! Use your imagination....delicious cake, cute and yummy cookies, bright fun cards, lots of smiles and laughing...maybe even some bunny ears and tongues sticking out.

Then....My parents happened to be in town and we went to!

And today....sweet RJ surprised me with Starbucks in bed. He says it's the one and only time he'll buy it for me!

Today we celebrated with a movie (I Love You Man...pretty funny) and dinner, then the Jazz game (yikes....good game). was a fabulous birthday and I'm always in awe of all the fun and kind friends and family on my birthday! It's always so fun!

Tomorrow we're going to RJ's parents' house for dinner of choice: homemade chicken noodle soup (seriously, it's divine!) and RJ's dad's caramel brownies (again, divine, I could eat a whole pan). They are so sweet to ask what I'd like for my birthday meal!

Now I'm birthday rambling....but I guess now that I'm getting so old I can do that!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We come up with our own material

Yesterday in class we were doing an antonym search hangman style. The kids had guessed an 'i' all was on the board was a long word with an 'i' in it.

Student: "It's Mississippi!"

Chorus of multiple students: "Yeah, yeah! Guess that!!!" from all around the room.

Thinking student: "But....would be the antonym of 'Mississippi'?"

Very bright student: "Mr. Sippi!"

Ha! They are so clever!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big Day!

A very exciting day in 3rd grade! I announced to my class that I was having a baby! First I gave them all baby carrots. Then we read the book My Teacher's Having a Baby. At the end I said, "Why do you think we'd eat baby carrots and I'd read you this book?" They all looked at each other, confused. Finally one little gal goes, "Are you having a baby?!" And I nodded....and the questions began!

"But you're not even big yet!" Oh...but I feel it and I will be very soon!

"Is it a boy or a girl?"

"When will it be here?!" The answer of Halloween sounded so far away!

And the best one....

"Does Mr. Cox know yet?!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The toilet's even better than the....


OK as I sit enjoying my SECOND cup of frozen yogurt in two days (I'm pregnant, I can do that...I think) I feel like I should let everyone know of Logan's new hot spot!

Tummi Yummi's is a new frozen yogurt place over in that Cafe Rio/Ruby Tuesday's/Little Caesar's shopping center. It's clear back in the corner. It's all self-serve, so you pick your flavor, then top your cup off with as many toppings as you'd like...and they have plenty of options...cereals, candy, fruit, chocolate, caramel, etc. It's weighed, and voila! You enjoy! It's YUMMY.

And....there's a lounge area to hang out in with foosball, air hockey, shuffleboard, etc. with flat screens to watch Aggie (and other) games on. The place is owned by former Aggie basketball players Nate Harris and David Pak. They are so friendly and nice the second you walk in. GREAT place....go check it out. I like that it's a local place, owned by local guys who love Logan and Utah State. fun is their toilet?! Anywhere with a toilet this fun HAS to be fun....

Friday, March 20, 2009


Ok it has come to my attention that I forgot to mention the second best part of my doctor appointment....the first being the heartbeat of our little sweet "blob". The second....

The nurse: "So, is this your first child?"

Me: "Yes! We're so excited!"

My dear husband: "Hum....I think this is my first...."

Weird awkward look before I jumped in with, "He's kidding!" His jokes and quips to strangers could probably be funnier if I wasn't so embarrassed and didn't feel the need to always quickly jump in with, "He's kidding!" Ha....oh well, the doc's office may think we're floozies, but hopefully they at least think we're funny floozies!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sweet Baby Heartbeat!

Oh we just got home from our first doctor appointment! I was for some reason weirdly nervous on the way. I think I was worried the doctor would say, "Baby? What baby?" and there would be a huge mistake in thinking I was pregnant! Luckily, there sure is a "baby blob" as our doctor called it! It really is a "blob", but we could make out the head. The best part was hearing the's just SO surreal. It's like it finally clicks that there IS a baby in there, and that it's all real! I know you moms out there can relate. Anyway....amazing experience, and I'm sure only the first of many!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

That's SO First Grade!

A former student of mine who is now in 5th grade stopped by my class after school today. She's a chatterbox (in a good way!) and somehow got talking about Halloween.

Student: "I can't believe so-and-so wore a Cinderella costume this year! The last time I would wear a Cinderella costume was in first grade!" (in her oh-so-cool 5th grader tone)

Me: "Oh really? What were you this year?"

Student: "I was a princess." (still in the 5th grade tone...)

Hum....isn't Cinderella a princess? Just saying....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Funny Pictures

I didn't feel well I killed time with soup, movies, and the distort function of photobucket! Most people want their wedding pictures to look, I'm all for making mine look ridiculous!

Happy Birthday Woody!

Happy Birthday to my BF
Natalie Elaine Wood Brand!

We became best best friends in college and have so many memories together. We now live across the country from each other, and haven't seen each other since April when Cara and I went to Georgia for her fabulous wedding to Mr. Brand himself. honor of your day of birth, I've been thinking of some of our fun memories....

  • good times at "ghetto fab"
  • walking back up to campus after ghetto fab....and you retrieving the lost shoe
  • you bundling up for Logan winters in your puffy black coat and your black hat
  • our FCHD Marriage and Family class from the German lady who wasn't married..."Everything is fair game..."
  • And the way we "prepared" for the final....ha, that was a fun morning and probably the best test score I could have gotten without studying...
  • running out of Chi Omega to jump into your car, cell phones in hand, sun roof open, and Britney blasting....hello sorority girls!
  • all the funny cards you always had posted on your closet door
  • your collection of purple Crown bags!
  • the time we (you, TFox, and me) thought it'd be fun to do model shots with the fan in the upper hall
  • when you fell off "your" bed and had that GIANT bruise
Oh there are million more...but the bottom line is....we had SO MUCH FUN together and I love and miss you dearly! I am so happy that you are so happy in Georgia! Happy Happy birthday....hope you are celebrating well!

Monday, March 2, 2009


I am watching the Bachelor right now and am absolutely DYING HERE!!!! OK, pathetic, I know, but I HAVE to blog about it because...

A. I no longer live at a sorority house with girls who are equally as obsessed
B. My husband is definitely NOT obsessed
C. My pets are eating and would rather stay eating than listen to me

So....Bachelor watchers out there...Were you going as crazy as I was?! So happy that Melissa let him have it, even called him a b******! And when he said, "I'm far from perfect..." And she said, "I'll second that!" I thought she handled it well, and didn't look pathetic, trying to get him back or anything.

And now Molly...PLEASE do not take him back! He had his chance. Too little. Too late.

OH BLAH! She just chose him after he promised he is "falling in love with her and it will never stop." Hum....sounds familiar.....I give it a week.

I'm on Team Melissa.


So, as I said in a previous post, Ellis won a Title 1 Distinguished School award. A group of us got to go to San Antonio, Texas to attend The National Title 1 Conference. It was fabulous! Honestly, I don't know how many people can say they went on a work trip with colleagues and enjoyed it! We seriously had the best group of people...we had SO MUCH FUN! I'm sure a lot of it was the type of stuff that is only fun if you are there.....but wow. We talked for hours, laughed for hours...good times. Oh...and we got a lot of good info at the workshops too.
Long story....we wore these beehive hats from Utah (as in The Beehive State) for the parade....if that isn't good for a laugh, I don't know what is....
Our principal Sue...she's so fun!
Annette got laughing so hard about the hats that she cried!
The whole fun clan! Except....I'm not entirely sure who that guy is...probably a guy who just wanted to hang out with those hot beehive ladies....