Sunday, December 18, 2011


Jeff came up last night from his office and told me he just sent me a link I had to watch. He knows me really well. He knows what my type of music is and knew I would absolutly love this song and the video. He was right. He knows me. It is a rare thing to really be understood. I am thankful everyday for my relationship with him. I feel lucky. And I love him too!

High Def Version:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This week

This week I finished my first report cards and had my first parent/teacher conferences. I have amazing parents. I was a little nervous at first. And I was nervous about my report cards too. But it's over now, and I feel pretty good about the entire thing.

After conferences, and working four 12 hour days back to back, I got my first "comp" day. Something I never got working at Private School. And as much as I loved working at my first school, which happened to be private, I love my new, public school about 100 times more. I have always absolutely adored my students, in every school I have ever taught in. That is not the issue. It is more that I have an amazingly supportive principal who seems me more as a professional, and not as someone who needs to be taught how to teach in a certain way.

I am grateful for my experience in private school. In many ways, that is how I learned to be a good teacher. But it was painful and exhausting at times. And kind of bad for my self-esteem.

I am learning now that there are several methods that can be used to teach the same thing. All can be equally effective. I strongly believe the main factor for any child to be able to learn is to just be in a compassionate classroom where students can safely take risks and not be afraid to learn. A happy place where learning happens because you are immersed in it. Where there is more to evaluating you students than just giving them tests. Where they can learn at their own pace, and be the very best that they can be.

I am still working out the kinks in how my classroom works, but it is moving along nicely, and I am loving every day.

Teaching is a hard job mostly because you are "on" every day. Every minute. Performing in front of the class. The hardest thing for me is just getting ready and starting. Then once I am in it, I'm there. And it's kind of like a high. The day zooms past, and the time is always short. I always run out of time. Which really is a good thing.

At first, I was trying to walk with one foot in both of my 2 worlds. Trying to hold on to everything I have built up over the past 6 years until everything changed. It was awful when Jeff lost his job. And the uncertainty of everything. Looking back, it is amazing how everything has slowly fallen into place. And I feel so thankful to Heavenly Father who knew where I should be headed all along. But I couldn't keep up with everything in both worlds. My home life has been stripped down to the bare minimum. My Martha Stewart experiments and neighborhood parties have been put on the back burner for now. My house will get clean maybe once every 2 weeks...but the upside is that no one is really here anymore to mess it up.

This long weekend, which included my "comp" day allowed me to re-connect with some of my old hobbies...spending a few hours on Facebook and Pinterest, watching the kids play in the snow and taking tons of pictures...staying in my sweats all day and not doing my hair and make-up was so nice. I looked awful when I went to Target, but just really didn't care. But most of my free-time was spent researching how to help some of my kids read better and understand money. Figuring out what kind of party I can have when we study fairy tales in February...thinking of what I am getting all of the sweet kids in my class for Christmas...finding music for our holiday program...and cutting out patterns for our next art project. I am now almost "in" with both feet!Oh yeah, it was Halloween too! It's been 15 years since I actually bought a Halloween costume for myself. Clint was The Riddler, and pretty much put that whole costume together himself. Pretty cool. Derek had an assortment of superhero costumes to wear and decided to go with Iron Man...he is my personal favorite, after all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

*I* think he's funny

I want to try to do better and keep track of the funny things my kids say. Because they are both pretty funny!

While driving up the canyon last Sunday on the way to Quarry Bend:
Derek: Mom I lost my homework folder
Me: No you didn't, its on the kitchen floor.
Derek: No it's not. I lost it.
Me: I know where it is, Derek.
Derek: Well, if it's lost you will just have to buy me some new homework
(Everyone in the car laughs)

Jeff: Mom loves Derek the most, and everyone else in the family is 40%
Clint: (High-fives Jeff) "Hey 20%"

Derek: (While playing Zombieville on Jeff's phone)Can I buy Doodle jump?
Jeff: NO
Derek: So you don't love your son?
Jeff: (nothing)
Derek: Okay, I'm telling mom

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


"Ellie and Zach are finished with 6 min. solution"
The reason I gave my class when they asked why Zach and Ellie were paired up with a few of my readers who were struggling.

Some of my other high reading level girls had daggers coming out of their eyes for Ellie and Zach.

"But why are THEY done?!!" whined Josh, right before he started crying from frustration.

My class has been at each other for the past few days. Name calling, poking, pushing, tattling, mean comments, dirty looks. We have been together all day, 5 days a week, for the past 7 weeks. The honeymoon was definitely over. I realized I had made a mistake by putting Ellie and Zach above the rest of the class with that simple announcement, even though they have passed off all of the reading assignments in fast time. They had begun to read so fast that they were slurring words, and skipping expression and comprehension all together. I put them with slower readers to help them as well, I just said the wrong thing to the rest of the class.

I realized I had made a mistake. Now how to fix it. I told the class that even though Zach and Ellie were the fastest readers, it didn't mean they were the best readers. It's true. Trinity was the only one in the class who scored 100% for accuracy on the CBM test they had just taken last week, even though her time had been a little slower. Kemry has the best scores for math. Aryanna by far has the best penmanship. Wes is the friendliest...

Everyone had been upset by me putting Ellie and Zach in a position of superiority that I made evident to the entire class. Now I had to fix it.

Zach was willing to help. "Just because Zach is one of the fastest readers, doesn't mean he is the best" he was perceptive and realized others felt bad, and he was willing to try to make it right with me. "Yep," he agreed "Mrs. Bingham always tells me to slow down" he said with a smile.

"Thank you to Zach" I whispered to myself. But it wasn't enough. I looked around and realized that I needed to do more to correct my mistake. I took a deep breath and apologized for announcing the new jobs of Zach and Ellie. I pointed out to everyone that Zach and Ellie did not score the highest in the class on some of the tests. I said that all the students in my class were all wonderful and all good at different things. I looked around the room and prayed that I would be able to come up with at least one good thing for each of them. Some of them would be harder than others.

I started with Brynlee and" what a beautiful singing voice she has". "Trinity is the most meticulous and neatest student I have ever known. Tanner is FUNNY! Ella is about the kindest girl in the world. Ary is an amazing artist. Zach has a great memory. Ellie is an awesome reader. Brooklyn is a comedian, Kemry is a super gymnast, Tatyana is a mother to the entire class."
Then I came to Hunter. He has a pretty rough home life. He goes to resource and works hard every day for very little result. He works hard in class, and still, lots of times doesn't understand. But he always tries his very best. It is an ongoing theme when he tells me he really can't do what I ask him to do and I tell him to try his very best, he does. So when I came to Hunter, I looked at him, and I could tell he was afraid that I wouldn't have anything to say.

I said: "Hunter TRIES harder and works harder than anyone in this class..."

He went down on his desk and started to cry.

The feeling of love that was suddenly in our class was so strong and overwhelming...I choked down my own tears, and continued with how Haley was the best dressed, and Payton was the bravest one. Kennedy spoke and expressed herself so well, Julie loved her family so much, Wes was so outgoing and friendly with everyone. Josh is hilarious. Eli is so respectful and kind. Austin is so thoughtful and sharing...

The bell rang and I sent everyone to lunch and came back to my room and cried. After a good 10 minuets I washed my face and went to the faculty room to go and get a diet coke so I could pull myself together. I ran into the DK teacher who works with special needs kindergarten kids. She could tell I had been crying, and I was embarrassed and just told her it wasn't a bad thing, but just a really good feeling and experience I just had. I tried to tell her a little about it before I started crying again. She just understood and said when we pray for our kids, and then somehow we get an answer to that prayer, it can really be a powerful thing. I told her to stop because she was making it worse. We both laughed a little and then I cried on my way back to class.

I was able to pull myself together before my kids came back. We had a good afternoon because the good feeling stayed for the rest of the day.

The last few min. of class, I was playing music while my kids were coloring in their planets for the last activity of our space unit. I was walking around, looking at the beautiful colors they were using, and the music was playing and everyone was enjoying each other. Now I have not had many days like this, and I know there will be many days that are hard and trying, but it was good today. And I looked outside of myself somehow, for just a moment, and realized for a split-second what kind of a place my classroom was and really is kind of a beautiful place. And I am really where I am suppose to be. And it is a good place to be.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My New LIfe

I'm tired. That would be the one word I use to describe my feelings right now. I am not tired in necessarily a bad way. I mean, I am exhausted. Emotionally, mentally, physically, and just about any other way there is to be tired. But at the same time, I feel content. I would be a basket case if I had had to go back to work sooner, when Derek was little. Even though I was working part time from the time he was 4. 3 if you count the year I worked as PTA President. That is just as consuming as a part time job.
I am starting to just now get a handle on my new life. I am trying to find a balance, now that after almost 5 weeks I have found my footing. I am still stumbling a lot. And I often have fear rise up when something happens at school that makes me think of my time working 7 years ago at a private school that was exactly like Crunchum Hall in Matilda by Roald Dahl. But my new school is nice. So are the kids and the parents, and the other teachers. It is a nice place to work. I am hard on myself and know what I am capable of. I have a lot of big plans, but no time to make them happen. I feel I am a good teacher. I am in my element. I feel confident, and competent. And my pay-off every day is imediate from 22 of the most adorable kids I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.At first, I missed my old life horribly. Hanging out at the park with Derek and his friends, being the one in charge of schedules for my kids. Dreaming up fun things to include the entire neighborhood. Making really great memories for my kids and their friends. Following Martha Stewart recipes and craft projects to make my home a home. Going to lunch with girlfriends, and having time to watch movies at night with Jeff. Now I run from 7:00 AM to 6PM at night, come home and prepare lesson plans, find teaching ideas, do dishes and laundry, correct papers, answer emails, and try to connect with Derek and Clint about something before 8:30 PM when I get them in bed. I love my story time with Derek and it has become more sacred than ever. Clint usually listens too, or a least reads a Batman comic book in the same room. I have great boys. I miss them.I miss Derek. But remind myself that he would be at school all day anyways. I miss Clint, but he has so much going on in his own life right now I would just be watching him run in and out constantly. He is such a great kid. Early morning seminary, National Honors Society, Guitar lessons, Cross Country Team, Scouts, MESA, Chess Club, Lawn Mowing, Homework, he is pretty amazing. I am so lucky.
Jeff sent me flowers at work yesterday. I ended up hiding them because I felt a little embarrased. He is pretty wonderful too. He is in school full time and still doing tile when he can. I am not sure how much my paycheck is going to add up to. Especially since we will be paying for insurance now. But I am hoping it will be enough.
When I think of how we got to this place, where we can stand on our own feet again, and how everything has pointed me in this direction for so long, it makes me grateful. It has not been fun. And it is still to early to see how it is all going to work out. But I know my life is unfolding as it should. I am trying to focus on the things that matter most and be happy in the moment I am in. Petty things don't bother me as much. I have cut most of the drama out of my life, and am in a peaceful place where I am focusing on my family, my kids in my class, and my trip to Disneyland!!! We need to have things to live and work for...and now I have mine. Life is good, because we make it that way no matter what we have to deal with.There is joy to find in the journey, and I am going to find it with the ones I love the most. That includes my family, friends, and 22 of the sweetest faces I get to see every day.My classroom is a happy place, and I don't think my students know how happy they make me. And it's worth it all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Last week while Jeff and Clint were gone to scout camp, Derek and I did some fun things too. One of the things we were able to do was to go to This Is The place Park, thanks to my friend Karla, who gave us a 2 for 1 coupon. It was hot. But fun. We saw our cute neighbors who work there, Skylar (below) and Brook who drives the train and gives tour guides.

Derek rode horses and saw baby animals. We rode the train and walked along the old-fashioned streets and talked about the Pioneers.

Derek asked about the Bingham Copper Mine and wanted me to tell the story about his great grandfather, one of the Bingham Brothers, who discovered it. I have told him the story before. How Sanford and Thomas Bingham discovered copper in the canyon.

They went back to report it to Brigham Young. They told him there could be gold there. They were very excited to mine for it. But the Prophet, Brigham Young told them to leave it...

...And they did. There was more important work for them to do. For some reason, when I told Derek this time, at this moment, in this place, I just really felt gratitude and understanding more than ever before. Just realizing how truly amazing it was to be a part of something so wonderful. Something bigger than all of us. More valuable than a fortune of gold and copper. Something so important and powerful and beautiful, and perfect that others had forsaken all worldly pursuits to make it a reality I sometimes feel a disconnect on Pioneer day because I have no real "Utah Pioneer Heritage". But I know that it doesn't really matter where my blood line came from, I have a claim to all of the blessings that any other member of the church has because of my belief, and my effort to live it and be a part of it.

I find myself getting defensive of others who don't respect and appreciate what the pioneers have done for everyone who now lives in Utah, and for those who are now Latter day members of the Church.

I do celebrate Pioneer Day, July 24, in my own way. We don't go to the Parade, or the Fireworks. We have a quite day at home, with a BBQ with friends or neighbors. And we do remember, and give thanks for all of the sacrifices that were made so we can have a beautiful place to live here in the mountains.

We remember how lucky we are to live in a community where so many know us and support us. A place where we fit in. A place where my boys can learn who they are and not only understand what it means to be a Bingham, but to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

And no one better say anything bad about those Pioneers!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pirate Party 2011

Derek found a map floating in a pirate bottle in the kiddie pool this morning! It's a good thing there were some other pirates around!

Pirates ready for adventure!

The map got wet. But it wasn't really a map. It just had the first piece of a map with a letter telling us that the writer of a map was beginning to be turned into a zombie. He had the treasure, and would share, but needed to be saved first. We needed to not only find the place where the treasure was burried, but also find a cure for the zombie!

Pirates are ready!!!!

One by one they found the clues in the surrounding yards

Inside a swing set,

Under a Trampoline, In an apple tree, in a neighbors freezer...

And in a shed. Each piece of the map had a clue on the back that led to the next piece of map.

Finally all of the map pieces were put back together, and they could see where the treasure was. And the last clue said something about rootbeer being the cure for the zombies...we found a pack of rootbeer in the neighbors fridge!

Zombies were gaurding the treasure and had water guns! But the rootbeer worked!!!!

And then the zombies even helped us dig up the treasure!

There were gold coins, candy, rings, beads, and lots of other treasures that all the pirates shared.

But don't try to take anything away from THESE pirates!!!

**This activity was a great idea for my 13 yr. old and his friends who helped to bury the treasure, and then guard it for all the little kids in the neighborhood. They really liked participating and helping this way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fairy Tale Princesses

Redd Riding Hood isn't a Princess But she looks like she could be Snow White...I wish I had a redder apple. I tried Photoshop, but it just looked way to fake. I will re-shoot some with a better apple

But Laney still makes a pretty Snow White

Ching Ching makes a pretty Snow White too.

She could even pass for the evil queen here.

Snow White lost in the woods

And after the apple...

Sleeping Beauty in my old Wedding Dress

Laney had the greatest expressions

It's fun to be a Princess!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry's Final Stand

We had the biggest Harry Potter Block Party ever! Since we have our own charter of Hogwarts in the neighborhood we decided to show our support and stand with Harry one last time!

Each wizard received a scroll written in invisible ink (white crayon) with a note attached that read: To reveal the secret message, you must paint the scroll with wizards blood, or a few drops of food coloring in some water works too.

The note just read: Calling all wizards, stand with us! Hogwarts (address) (time and date)
Since I was in charge of Slytherin, I didn't get all the photos I wanted so I will still try to recap as best I can.We started at Diagon Alley and made wands with thin dowels and wooden beads glued on the handle part, with colored smaller beads in betweenThere was also Berti Botts candy Shop where wizards got every-flavored beans.
A few Death Eaters showed up, but they were reformed and ended up helping in potions class
There were quite a few celebrities who arrived...Luna Lovegood, and Professor Trelawney to name a few...
Wizards also made spell books, that were already bound together, they just needed to add a back and a front with card stock and decorate them. There was a page for autographs, and some pages for photos that parents could download from facebook later. There were also pages to glue directions for potions that they would get in potions class.Then we moved on to Ravenclaw to be sorted.The 4 houses were in the sorting hat on folded card stock and each student sat on the stool and I shook the hat over their heads until one of the slips of folded card stock came out with the house name on it.The the wizards colored card stock ties with elastic around the neck the same colors as their house colors. Gryffindor: Red and Gold/ Ravenclaw: Blue and Bronze/ Slytherin: Silver and Green/ Hufflepuff: Yellow and Black

Then we moved to Slytherin. I made signs like this for all 4 of the Hogwarts Houses
Potions class consisted of making Oobleck: 2 parts cornstarch, 1 part water, with a little food coloring mixed in. And Soda Potions with mentos. Any kind of soda concoction you can think of, with a little mentos thrown in.Did I mention Hermonie and Harry were there?Oobleck looks like this
Drink Potions

Then it was off to Hufflepuff House to make the giant spiderweb.After 2 hours of fun, we were finally headed off to Gryffindor for Transfiguration class with body paint and water fun.

It was the best Harry Potter Premier Part EVER!!! Cant wait to see Deathly Hallows 2.2! What a way to Celebrate!!!!!