Employing a New Verb in English as a New Language: Let’s Buncee!

“This is awesome,” shouted a third grade student whose primary language is Bengali.  English as a New Language (ENL) teachers continue to seek content, strategies, websites, and different forms of media to achieve a paramount task…amplify student voice.  As our students develop their understanding of the complex language of English and take strides in their confidence, they find success when learning on comfortable platforms that inspire their needed risk-taking.  Throughout the school year, my students have realized impressive gains in language acquisition.

They then logged onto Buncee and their worlds changed!  As a co-teacher of a third grade integrated class of twenty three students, four of whom are English Language Learners, I highlighted three completed Buncee slides as my mentor text for a lesson on autobiography. The slides contained Buncee stickers, animations, embedded YouTube videos, customized backgrounds, and featured texts.  I then modeled how to create a fourth slide before students began to work independently on their own Buncees. The excitement to get started began to build as I modeled the steps of creation. To prepare for their Buncee creation, students read an autobiography on their “just right level”, and completed a research graphic organizer which included a five event timeline.  The minute they logged onto Buncee, something immediately changed. I have never witnessed third graders so engaged in critical thought, creative passion, and caught up in their own geniuses. They were “Bunceeing” and loving it! Aside from their creative choices of pictures, stickers, and animations, students carefully and thoughtfully correlated each event on their timelines with appropriate backgrounds on Buncee, keeping setting in mind as well as the characters’ age-related appearances.  Mindful of grammar with their embedded text, students self-edited, and ensured names and the beginning of their sentences were capitalized with proper punctuation.

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The playing field was level with Buncee creativity. It is extremely rewarding to watch English Language Learners build their voices, their comfort, and willingness to stretch their learning.  While students in my integrated classroom were creating and tinkering with the many options in Buncee, one of my students from Korea emerged as a techspert.  Tech savvy, she stood up, assisted students with adding Buncee stickers, and became a facilitator of student creation. Not only did she help fellow ELLs, she elevated the work of students who have precise command of the language.  Amazing how this tool, Buncee, provided a space for her to feel empowered, important, and equal despite English being her second language.

Buncee fever continues! Since the initial activity mentioned above, my English Language Learners dove into creating vocabulary Buncees to reflect their learning in science.  Advanced topics of botany and ecology became familiar and comprehensible with the visual input that is offered through using Buncee in the classroom. These Buncees were then posted on the classroom e-board to assist the entire class to study their vocabulary words to prepare for more in-depth analysis in the classroom.  Once again, Buncee extended students’ learning, motivation, and interest. #Bunceefever


A reflection by Lucia Kemnitzer, ENL teacher for the Commack Public Schools


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