Since I started using Buncee this year, I’ve noticed an increase in engagement and task completion in my classroom. Let’s take a look at why:
To increase student engagement, instructional decisions are based upon the following questions:
- Is the student interested?
- Is the task important and relevant?
- Can the student complete the task?
- How does the student feel about the classroom environment?
Motivating students in school can be challenging today, however, there is a classroom tool that encourages digital natives to maintain interest and gain knowledge with relevant tasks. This creative and collaborative tech tool is called Buncee. Using Buncee in my classroom has not only increased engagement, but has also motivated me to take steps toward a Blended Learning format. It’s something I’ve wanted to do in the past, but just couldn’t find the right tech tool…until now.
When I was a young teacher, I knew one of my weaknesses was to jump right in – using something new without thinking it through before rolling out the idea. Looking back, I realize that this occurred with good reason. As an enthusiastic young teacher, I was excited to try out new ideas quickly. In addition, I’ve encountered the educational swing – had to accept the educational back and forth from, “You must use 11 consumable workbooks and get through two pages a day,” to the use of Whole Language, Talents Unlimited, and authentic learning. Then, it was onto the use of integrated basel reader excerpts and novel studies, which morphed into Literature Circles, Book Clubs and Inquiry Circles, which eventually became Guided Reading with leveled material, and now teachers are embracing a Blended Learning format with more independent choice reading. I had to take the risks and try out new strategies quickly. My years have let me experience things that work (and don’t work), and I know that Buncee is one tech tool that works. So let’s dive in.
First, if approximately 65% of the population favors a visual learning style, then Buncee is a perfect tool for the majority of our kids. The graphics are kid-friendly and allow for choice and creativity. Interest and motivation increase.
Next, teachers can create Buncee slides, or Buncees, easily. The app is user-friendly for both students and adults. Teachers can prepare slides to deliver video and audio lessons, and check for understanding with formative assessments that can be easily built-into assignments. Buncees can be created as task directions, checklists, as well as models for expectations for completing the activity. Safe web images and videos can be embedded with little frustration for the (always) busy teacher. I’ve used the design process to create models for the students to use and self-evaluate, to increase quality of the Buncees they create and present to their peers.
Furthermore, students ultimately have the choice to design a Buncee using all of the same tools listed above, as well as the ability to include photos, clip art, special lettering, animations, and even 360 degree photos on their Buncees to demonstrate their learning in a written and visual response. The ability to determine importance and understand relevance of concepts increases.
One of the fantastic add-ons in Buncee is the use of Buncee Boards. Students develop routines when turning in their work as an assignment or posting it to a board (similar to Padlet). I use both. As a teacher, I like the assignments tab to quickly see if the kids turned in their work for grading, and I really like the boards, too. Posting to a Buncee Board is kind of like displaying their work on a bulletin board for all to see. Board work can be hidden so only my five classes can see their work, or the settings can be changed to allow for a global collaboration.
In my classroom, after students present their projects, we make two positive comments and ask a follow up question for clarification, to gain new knowledge, and/or to show we listened. The Buncee Boards allow these procedures to occur online. And – the great thing is that all of my classes can view the work of all the others. I believe the advantage here is student models raise expectations and work ethic when the kids can see their 6th grade peers designing something exceptionally well. Ideas are shared and problems are solved during the discussions about the Buncees on the Boards. “How did you create that background?” Or “How did you use those animations?” Or “How did you think to make that button?” The ability to collaborate between the different classes is leading students toward more independent learning. Tasks can be completed with increased creativity.
Now, students are asking to use Buncee more often in class and are using the tool on their own. Buncee allows students to communicate with me in different ways. I’ve received individual “thank you notes” through email. They are sharing personal Buncees with me. I’ve also noticed several of my kids sharing positive and encouraging notes with each other. Students are starting to create Buncees on their own based on their interests, holidays and birthdays. Kids feel comfortable enough to take risks in a safe classroom environment.
*EXTRA BONUS: Using Buncee Helps Organization and Management of Online Classroom
Once I decide the purpose of a Buncee assignment, I copy the code link into the appropriate folder. I prefer to have each student upload their Buncee to the assignment first. Then, I can grade them, provide feedback, and check off who handed in their work. After that, I will ask the kids to post their work to a board. Then, we can use the comment box to provide feedback.
I put a Buncee Folder on the main page of Schoology for easy access– log in link, links to assignments (B1, B2, B3, etc. ) and links to the BOARDS
I’ve coded the assignments by number “Buncee 1” is B1 (title of assignment), and posted the links in the general Buncee folder.
Weekly folders – Daily Audio/Video lessons, Vocabulary, Reading Resources, Writing Resources, Review, Quizzes/Tests, Answer Keys
Mini-lessons are placed in the Daily Video Lesson folder.
Example of Buncee- “What, Not, How” Poem Lesson model
Andrea Page is a veteran educator, Buncee Ambassador, and ELA MS Teacher in Spencerport, NY. Her favorite sound is the audible “aha” or “wow” that occurs when her students connect with the task, whether it’s reading, writing, or creating. When she’s not teaching she’s writing and is the author of a mid-grade nonfiction book titled, Sioux Code Talkers of World War II. To find out more, visit WriterAndreaPage.com and connect with her.