A Moment in My Classroom: Let’s Create

A Moment In My Classroom
This seems to happen each year…this type of moment in my classroom.  Fresh off the ICE conference and well into a routine with my students.  I suddenly feel inspired to start changing things.  This year was the same as last.  The change meant it was time for my students to start blogging.

Student blogging is nothing new to me.  My class blogged last year too.  It should have been something that I started right at the beginning of the school year, but with a new group of 6th graders and a brand new Reading and Language Arts curriculum, it left me little time for anything considered extra.

Three quarters of school and more the six months into school, me and my students were ready…ready to start blogging!

A Moment in My Classroom: Let's Create By Carrie Baughcum

….as eyes lit up and smiles of inspiration took over faces, I wondered why they heck did I wait so long to do this and I knew that I would never wait this long ever again!!!


You can check out other Moments In My Classroom here!

Philipa: Seeing Shapes In The Clouds

Driving to one of our Spring Break activities my girls sat in the back seat reading their books.  My youngest closed her books and from the rear view mirror I see her start to gaze out the window.

“Hey Tricia do you want to see the shapes in the clouds?” she says looking over to her big sister.

“Naahhhh.  I don’t want to play that,” her big sister answers.

“Awwwwww,” she says disappointed.

“I’ll listen,” I say from the front seat, “Tell me what you see!”

“I see a dragon, with butterfly wings!” Annabeth sings, “Ohhhhh and there your horse (imaginary) Checkers, Tricia!”

Not one to miss out on the imaginary fun…I hear Tricia say, “I see a dog!  OOOOO I see a pancake!”

20 minutes later and too many “seen” cloud formations to name later we arrived at our destination and I was inspired.

I knew Philipa had to do some cloud watching of her own because there is just nothing like that memory of laying in the grass on a warm Summer’s day, (yeah I know its freezing out but the hope of warm weather is what keeps me going) staring up in the sky and letting your imagination take over!

Philipa And The Shapes In The Clouds (gif)

Philipa And Cloud Shapes By Carrie Baughcum

What shapes do you see?



Meet Philipa

Meet Philipa By Carrie BaughcumIt always makes me giggle when I think back to how or why I was inspired to draw or create something.   A giggle that makes my stomach flutter and my mouth curl up in a smile.  A happy giggle that always makes me feel lucky to be inspired and to be able to do something that makes me so happy.

I have been inspired to draw this wonderful, girly hippo named Philipa (pronounced Phil-e-pa) for quite some times.  Don’t laugh but she was actually inspired by a combination of the stuffed elephant in the Junie B. stories and a stuffed hippo I bought on vacation last summer. Named Philip Jonny Bob he is Junie B.’s best stuffed elephant (I just loved the name and am totally and completely in love with that crazy Junie B….she just makes me laugh out loud) and the stuffed hippo I bought was a gray and pink tutu wearing cutie.  I knew…just knew I had to do something with this inspiration.

There is nothing like a little extra time (yes, that does really exist) to allow inspiration to go to work.  Off on Spring Break I was finally able to focus on this girly hippo and make her come to life.  Add 4 inches of snow (yes, snow during Spring Break) and it was justthe right amount additional inspiration I needed give her words and added personality.

Philipa and Snow By Carrie Baughcum

Philipa And The Snowman By Carrie Baughcum Philipa and I hope that you are staying warm where ever you are.  And if you could spare some sun and a few degrees…that would be super!!!

The Women In My Life

A few weeks ago my husband was out of town for work.  Not a huge deal…well it does mean I do it all alone.  When he is out of town, I am in responsible for morning wake up, breakfast, getting my girls ready for school, getting myself to work just on time, working a full day, picking my girls up, taking them to their activities, dinner, showers, bedtime…woooo oye! just that alone makes for one very exhausting week.  If that was not enough fun my oldest decided it would be a great time to get a fever and a horrific chest cold.  Add on missing three and a half days of work to care for her.  I just about lost it!

Then this happened. In between the lack of sleep, all my mommy responsibilities,  ugggg household responsibilities, a sick daughter and juggling work week this happen….a text comes from a friend checking in on me to see how I am handling it all, a friend sends me home with a dinner for that night, my sister shares with me a super awesome dream she went after, a friend helps with morning school drop offs, a friend listens through all my tears about a family problem and  gently and honestly tells me the words I needed to hear.  Through all the crazy, through all the stress, through all of what could have been a very lonely time, I was reminded of how very, very lucky I am to have these amazing women in my life.  I was reminded of the gifts they give and share with me everyday!

The Women In My Life By Carrie Baughcum

Teaching Her the Importance of Her Voice

I heard yelling from downstairs.  The kind of yelling sisters do at each other when they taunt and push each others buttons.  I walked downstairs to see a familiar scene.  My oldest (9 years old) upset and in tears and my youngest (7 years old) making her breakfast (doing exactly what she is supposed to be doing…as usual and totally trying to show up her sister and acting like she did absolutely nothing).  Mad and very upset at Tricia (my oldest) began to yell and get more and more upset while she tried to tell me what her little sister had done.

“This is not something we get this upset about T.  You need to go upstairs and calm down,” I told her.

“…but mommmmmm!!!”

“It’s ok.  Go calm down.  It’s not over.  We will talk about what happen but you need to calm down first,” I let her know and she went upstairs to calm down (not happily but upstairs).  

Ten or so minutes passed and I went upstairs to check on her.

“How we doing?…. Calm? “

“Yes, momma,” she smiled.

“So tell me what happened downstairs.”

“I had picked my show.  You told me it was my turn.  I started to make my breakfast.  While I was making my breakfast SHE took the remote and turned on what SHE wanted to watch.  Then SHE wouldn’t give me back the remote,” Tricia told me.

“Ok. Lets go downstairs and tell her how you feel.  Tell her you don’t like what she did!” I encouraged her.

“Oooookkkkkayyy Mommy,” she answered me not 100% sure what she had just agreed she was going to to or completely believing that she was up for what I had just proposed.

We walked downstairs and the TV remote was laying on the couch next to where Annabeth stood.

“Tricia, go get the remote,” I  whispered.


“Get the remote,” I nodded and looked toward the remote to reassure her.

She went to take the remote.

Her sister went to  grab it to. Suddenly the remote was in Tricia’s hand.  She paused and starred at in awww….awww that she had won the grab off and paused in stunned disbelief.  As instantly as she paused in oh my gawd I beat her in the grab awwww, she looked at me with  “I did it! Stunning Awwww” smile and off she went running around the downstairs and into the kitchen, and around the living room and remote in hand as her not happy little sister chased after her.

“AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” Tricia yelled at her sister as the both fought tug of war style over the remote. Tricia’s eyes connected with me screaming silently, “Ok Mommy I grabbed it.  Now what the heck do I do!”

Not breaking eye contact with her, “You took…” I said words to start her off.

“You took the remote from me when I was making my breakfast!!” she said loudly to her sister.  She looked at me for more words.

“That wasn’t…” I helped again.

“That wasn’t nice.  It was my turn to watch….” and she went on to tell her sister what she really thought.

Suddenly, with each word, each opinion, each feeling and thought she shared out loud with her sister her chest began to puff up.  It was an energy in her I had never seen or felt with her.  As she finished telling her sister she what she felt and thought, she paused.

In that moment  I saw a moment wash over her.

In this moment she had learned the power of her opinion.  She discovered the power of telling someone else about how their actions made her feel.  She unlocked the power of her words to tell someone what they did was not ok with her.  She revealed the power of telling someone what she wanted.

It was in that moment I suddenly made my own discovery.

When I became a mother I always knew I wanted to raise well behaved children.  I wanted to raise children who followed directions, were respectful, polite, happy and kind.  As I have grown as a parent and as a person I have learned that there are other traits and qualities I want my daughters to embrace and posses as adults….resilience, unwavering problem solving abilities, a risk takers spirit,  creators and a dreamers ambition.

In this moment I realized something brand new!

I realized that polite, respectful, thoughtful,  kind, independent, risk taking, problem solving daughters that I wanted to raise was not enough.  I learned, in this moment,  this new lesson would be one of the most important skills I would strive to help my daughters posses.   I want daughters who also didn’t hold back for fear conflict.  I want daughters who embrace the power of their words and their opinion.  I want daughter who share their  thoughts and words confidently, thoughtfully and kindly with others without fear or hesitation.  I want their feeling, opinions and thoughts not just to be had but to be shared because …they matter, their voice matters, their feelings matter and their opinions matter!!!

Down with Good Girls....I want So Mush More for My Daughters


I was inspired to share this moment with my daughters by Galit Breen’s Why I’m Not Raising a Good Girl and Pernille Ripp’s All Hail the Kids.  Thank you both of you for your words and for inspiring me to tell mine too! 

SIT Conference 2015

My friend told me about it,  conference for students by students.”You totally should come. Tricia is finally old enough to attend. Tech and kids…it’s a fantastic day,” she said.
Trusting her and her knowledge of great things and things my daughter would love (bonus: our girls would be able to hang out together and well the promise of technology…no brainer).  I signed my daughter up to attend the Buffalo Grove SIT Conference 2015.  Then I decided why should she have all the fun and I signed up to be a volunteered at the conference!

Bright and early on last Saturday morning my daughter and I drove to Buffalo Grove. There we would join hundreds of other 3rd-12th graders for a technology conference for students by students. To top that there would also be four other SIT Conferences going on the exact same day and time as ours throughout the state of Illinois!!!

At check in I was amazed at every detail that had been noticed. Every procedure and process had been put in place and thought of  to make sure this conference for students by students was safe for kids.  It would allow this all the students to be as independent as they wanted to be and have a real conference experience.

As quickly as the keynote started she was off with her friend to the sessions they had selected.  The conference had started and to say it was a beyond awesome experience would be an understatement…

SIT Conference #SketchnotingLife

At lunch Tricia barely got a bite of food in as she talked non-stop about all that she was experiencing and learning she had done.

I honestly had never heard her talk so much in her life.

SIT Conference 2015

As we drove home from this fantastic event,  I looked in the review mirror to see Tricia’s head leaning on the window… she was sound asleep.  I smiled.  I knew in that instant that we will forever support and be a part of this incredible day!!!

It’s Not Fair

“That’s not fair!!!!!”

“It’s not fair Mommy! “

“No I don’t want to.  It’s not fair!”

It has been the phrase of choice for my lovely 9 year old.

The one phrase in the entire repertoire of phrases she could pick from that she knows gets under my skin…it really gets me.

So last weekend as we stood in the kitchen… I reminded her of a chore she needed to do.  As quickly as I could tell her what needed to be done the words burst from her mouth, “IT’S NOT FAIR!!” and this time I looked at her I said, “You know that is not true!  If it was fair…

It's Not Fair

Lost for words she just starred at me.  While I hoped for her usual giggles, this time I got a stomp and a huff as she walked away.  I smiled to myself and then looked up to see who else was in the kitchen with me (I actually was a bit surprised at what had come out of my mouth).  I saw my 7 year old looking at me.  Starring at each other for a moment I smiled again and then……..ohhhhh the laughter!

Bright Ideas #5: Angry Birds Gamification…Bricks, Birds and Green Pigs

Angry Birds: Classroom Gamification

Last quarter my students and I jumped into the world of gamification!Angry Birds Gamification | Classroom Behavior Modification System

Using Super Mario Brothers I developed a classroom “gamified” behavior system.  We had a blast!  Not only was it fun and engaging, I saw improvement in student behaviors and it really changed me and our classroom too (I have more to say about that but that is for another post). After eight weeks, Winter Break and a quarter change I knew it was time for something new (I am not one to stick with one thing for too long…and I like to change things up to meet my students needs).

Second quarter came and we entered the world of Angry Birds…

Like Super Mario, I channelled my best and wittiest Angry Bird knowledge. I dust off my sling shot and studied up on my Angry Bird lingo.

I started by  putting the students into teams (different than Mario when teams were by class period) Team: Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Transformers.   Then I used the themes and premises behind the game to create rules.  Finally, it was time for the the towers!

Two weeks in and students smile as they destroy their team’s tower and reveal dots (that mean rolls of the dice…the real fun part).  As the dice is rolled teammates stand by, watch and cheer as they hope for the much wanted blue bird.

I couldn’t be happier as I watch student skills improve in classes, I hear them cheering each other on (without me telling them to) and knowing that fun is being had while skills are improving, learning is happening and team work is blossoming!

Classroom Gamification: Angry Birds Classroom Behavior System SAMPLE






The Art of Embracing Mistakes

I hate making mistakes….there I said it.   Some are small and leave no ripple.  Oops and on life goes.  Others cause pain in our hearts and hurt more deeply.   Sometimes the memory of a mistake even lingers and holds on.  It whispers and tugs and makes us think less of ourselves and lies to us.

When I sat down to draw this weekend I knew exactly what word I wanted to draw.  As I began to draw I had no real plan.  I began by drawing my word, then I began to move around the paper doodling in separate spaces.  Finally, I added  lines, shapes and more doodles to connect them all together.  What I ended up with was a lot of different doodles….some good, some mistakes but all together it’s beautiful and not at all what I had expected.

Our mistakes remind us of our imperfections….we can listen to their whispers, give up or embrace them, learn from them and move forward and do better.

The Art of Making Mistakes By Carrie Baughcum

Cleaning Shout Outs…said no kid or mom ever!

Cleaning…chores….sighhhhhhh is an infinite battle in my house (I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about that lately haven’t I).  Well I can say we have reached a 80% no whining, melt down, do it because I am supposed to do rate but woooo momma that other 20%….lordy help me.

After years of battling and attempted “behavior modification” with my ever feisty and perpetually determined to make me crazy oldest I decided a few months back to take a route unfamiliar with me…I compromised with her. I decided we she would select the household chore that she could tolerate.  This all in the hopes that the tantrum, whine factor  and incessant battling over doing your chores would significantly decrease… and what do you know…it really did…well mostly…until last week.

“Go upstairs and separate the today’s laundry.”

{sighhhhh} overly dramatic grumpy face (because I didn’t already know how unhappy she was about doing her chores after say… years of tantrums and stomping and refusing) with a bit of mad stomping up the stairs for added effect.

“Hooowws the laundry separating going,” I ask from downstairs.

minutes later…..nothing…no sound….

I walk upstairs to see what is up (duh….I totally know what is happening)

“What’s going on?” I say looking at the rolled up mound of an unhappy child trying to make a statement that is way past very clearly being made.

“I hate this.”

…cue mom speech about responsibility, her job as a member of this family….you picked this chore blah blah blah…you know the speech (heck she knows the speech).

She stares back at me.

“Let’s try something,” I say, “How about every time you think something negative, something or some reason about why you don’t like doing your chores you scream at the top of your lungs a super silly no way it is possible true shout out about what you are doing!”

{Perplexed look}

{aahhaa moment}


Getting back to my chores I hear a my oldest shouting from upstairs at the top of her lungs …

“I just LOVE separating the families dirty underwear into piles! Nothing makes me happier” 

From the dining room craft room I hear my youngest shout…

“I just love cleaning up a million gazillion rainbow loom bands that someone left on the floor…oooo fun!”

and from the bathroom…

Cleaning Shout Out

…and in that instant the Baughcum Family Cleaning Shout Out was born.

WARNING: Teaching children the shout out method may cause rolling on the floor laughter during cleaning and may slightly….oh shoot really reduce the amount of cleaning that actually gets done! 

2015…Doing It My Way and Being Ok With That

I’ve started this post in my head about ten times.

Then I started drawing this post.

Then I thought about writing it.

Then I started drawing some more.

Now…here I am now writing my post and like most years, in true Carrie fashion I am taking my own sweet time to get my new year goals up and shared.

I am unsure about who to be, what to share, should I share it all, should I stay more mainstream, is it ok to share it all and what this space will offer for people.

I am… lost.

Up until this new year I have had absolutely no problem at all…ever…EVER writing my goals or picking my word for the year. This year I suddenly feel stuck, torn, a smidge lost, but in the best way ever.  In a way I could not be more incredibly happy about being lost and totally and completely confused at the same time.

Let me back up a bit…

When I was in 5th grade I rode my bike to school (it actually was up hill…but only one way) every day to volunteer to work with the a class of students with significant disabilities in a special education at my school. It was during that exact summer I knew in that instant that I wanted to be a special education teacher.  Since that moment I have always known, to my core, without a doubt, I was made to be a special education teacher.

It was life changing (yes even that early on).

Fourish years ago I started blogging. I found words, a voice and a confidence I had never had before.  I found a community with other woman that supported me, made me brave, gave me confidence and helped me heal.  It is also a community of woman that taught me to love my words and helped me discover a part of me that loved to create and illustrate graphically.

It was life changing.

Three years ago my educational career changed.  The way I taught changed and I changed as an educator.  I rekindled a lost passion, I learned to take risks as an educator, I found my voice as an educator and I took hold of and went after my passion to speak at conferences and educate other teachers.

It was life changing.

This Winter Break I decided to pick up sharpies and start drawing.  I was nervous and terrified my drawings would turn out awful, but instead I thought they turned out ok and more important then that I absolutely, ABSOLUTELY LOVED weaving my words in with my drawings to create my stories.  It filled me up like creating and writing had NEVER done before.

…and suddenly I was stuck! What did I want my goal to be?  Keep writing?  Keep drawing?  Start making cards? Create things for others?  Keep presenting?  Keep sharing about things happening in my classroom? Start proposing to speak at larger conferences?  Keep sharing ideas I had about using technology with students?  I know, I know…real hard problem to have Carrie.  To me it is, because you see I deeply love all of it but I also know myself and I want to be the best at all I do.  I am also realistic and know that to do that it that way takes lots and lots and lots of time.

So I took some time (remember how I said I started this post like four times…now you see why!)  I thought about it all.  then I decided to talk to my most favorite person and best listener of this rambling, idea spewing dreamer…my husband.

I discovered I could have it all.

I could do it all.

That my goals could still be what I wanted them to be, I would just need to adjust them a bit.

My 2015 Goals:

1. To share more consistently here…more then once a week, more then every other week…2-3 times a week and all of it…my stories, educational stories and ideas and my drawings too.

2. To own, embrace, know, believe that I am an Artist…there I said it, out loud, right here…I’m an Artist…I am an artist…ok I am still working on it.

3. Continue to present, share my educational experiences and ideas at educational conferences but continue at the state level

4. Draw more…a lot more!  Make it part of my weekly routine.

5. Open an Etsy Shop…cards, drawings, doodles  (oh and my daughters want in too)

Most of all to worry less about being one thing or another.  Worry less…about needing to define and express only one part of who I am in this space, to fit in a box and share only one part of me and to not worry about if I am viewed as an artist, an educator, a mom or wife.  Instead be all of them, share who I am, share all parts of me and just be me.



1/2 The Laundry…A Life Lesson

My daughters never cease to crack me up.  Their perspective of life…even the littlest moments, the ones that seem so routine, the so everyday can leave us in giggles.  So when I asked my daughters to put away some laundry, empty a laundry basket and bring it downstairs for me I couldn’t have imagined the on the floor belly holding giggles it left me in and a life lesson I felt compelled to share…one big sister to another!
Half The Laundry...A Lesson in Measurement

…see more #SuperFunDoodles here

Crazy Holiday Fun

Well that was fun!! I don’t know about you but I have a serious love hate relationship with Christmas. This year my procrastinating tendencies caught up with me and honestly I didn’t handle it oh so well. There may have been some anxiety and stress. In the end, as always we I got through it and I was able to look back at it all, laugh, smile and see all the fun we had!!

This is just a glimpse at some of the crazy fun I had!!

Motherhood…Living on The Edge

Last week was one full of  those on the edge moments!  You know those moments you want to run out of your house screaming someone save me from this insanity.  Those moments you count down the time until your husband will be home from work so you can tag him…”you’re it”!  Those moments you filter so much, your families mouths would drop if they knew the things you really wanted to say.  Well…wrapped up in all that insanity there is awesomeness.  The you wouldn’t have it any other way moments of motherhood.

Last week was a smidge more on the am I going to survive side…
Motherhood...The Edge of Awesomeness and Insanity By Carrie Baughcum