I’m going to put it right out on the table, front and center: I am a Buncee Groupie/Cheerleader/Superfan/everything in between! As a third grade general education teacher, I’ve used Buncee across subject areas since 2016 for everything from nonfiction presentation making, to Math Escape Room challenges, and so much more! It seems the opportunities are limitless.
With all of that said, it should come as no surprise that when COVID-19 hit, I turned to Buncee. And when June rolled around and I got a call from a parent who needed writing help for her rising 5th grader, I turned to Buncee again. Tutoring over Zoom? No problem. Tutoring over Zoom with a struggling writing student I’d never met? Tricky, but not impossible. Thanks to Buncee!
My plan for this student was to go through the steps of the writing process from planning to publishing, all using Buncee! The first thing I did was create a genre survey so my tutoring student could rate which genres he’d like to write about, and so I could get to know him as a writer.
“When I shared my screen and showed him the genre survey on Buncee, his eyes lit up! Instantly engaging!“
I briefly modeled how to use the drawing and sticker tools. His excitement showed. I let him login to his very own student account and try it out: INSTANT success!
“I’ve seen so many students take to Buncee in person very quickly, but to see this happen virtually was even more awe inspiring.”
The genre survey sparked a fascinating conversation about this student’s interest in dragons. He decided he wanted to write a fantasy graphic novel about a mythical dragon forest in the year 1342. Wow. Tall order, but with Buncee, anything is possible!
We got started planning! I could tell at this point that this student would benefit from the support of visually planning his story slide by slide. And Buncee did not disappoint with its impressive library of dragon stickers and animations. Even a die-hard mythical dragon lover was impressed by the options: he even was able to design his own dragon!
I watched him create each new slide with ease: making his setting, characters, and storyline come alive by adding backgrounds, stickers, and animations like an old pro. Before we knew it, we had a plan for each scene of the story.
Once we moved into the drafting stage, matching words with illustrations was both supportive and low-stakes for this student. He used the illustrations, backgrounds, and character stickers, and matched them with words. He was also able to add speech bubbles to help give the story the comic book feel he was looking for.
For so many students, revising is the most tedious and sometimes least enjoyable part of the writing process. But with Buncee, it was engaging! It was easy and intuitive for him to move, add, and take away from his story. He was able to add depth to his illustrations, include text to clarify changes in character perspectives, add more dialogue…the list goes on! Revising wasn’t a chore, but a playful adventure in writing and illustrating. My all time favorite moment was when he came out with the fantastic lead to his story, and chose a background that he felt matched the tone of what he was trying to convey.
In the revising and editing process, we also made use of Microsoft Immersive Reader, which was new to me. It helped him hear his story read aloud at a pace comfortable for him, which enabled him to make changes for clarity and word choice.
“He’d listen, and pause when something didn’t quite make sense, then fix it up. This is something he wasn’t previously doing on his own, but Immersive Reader made it possible. Yet another amazing aspect of Buncee!”
On the last day of editing, we read back the entire story from beginning to end. It was such a proud moment for both he and I. Seeing a student who struggles with expressing and organizing his ideas create something so complex was joyful for me.
I will publish this student’s story by printing the pdf file to a nice bound book for him. It will be a wonderful celebration of his writing!
This is a story of so many different amazing things, but the most important of all is this: it IS possible to have meaningful virtual educational experiences with students of all learning styles and abilities. Buncee made it possible for this student to create something that was so ambitious, imaginative, and complicated, even as a struggling writer. And it gave me the opportunity to take part in the magic of seeing the process unfold.
“To any teachers out there who may doubt their abilities to be effective in the virtual world of education, know that it can be done.”
Thank you Buncee for working so hard to create a platform that is not only engaging and fun, but also supportive for all learners. This is an experience I will never forget!
Meet the Author:
Dina Bolan is a Third Grade Educator, and lover of technology. She is a Buncee Ambassador and Google Certified Educator, and she believes in the magic of empowering all children! You can find her on Twitter at @MrsBolansClass