Historical Fiction and Buncee: Bringing History to Life!

Two months ago I presented two sessions on Buncee at our district-wide Professional Development Day. One of the attendees was one of our 5th grade teachers, Sharon Dodge. She teaches Social Studies to one of our 5th grade teams. Each year she does a read-aloud with the book Blood On The River by Dr. Elisa Carbone. About a month ago Sharon ventured upstairs to my room, and told me she wanted to use Buncee as her summative assessment for the novel unit. I was so excited!

She already had a plan in mind of the kinds of things she wanted to include to check for understanding. Her team has four sections/classes. One of them is a resource block so she works closely with a Special Educator and a Speech/Language Pathologist. Marnie Casady is our SLP, and she had also attended my Buncee PD session. Together they collaborated on creating their Buncee with the instructions and directions for the students.

Because I teach World Cultures to the 5th grade, most of their students will have already used it in my class. Some students were very excited to get the chance to use Buncee in their Social Studies class, too! I encouraged her to coax some of the more confident students to offer their help and guidance to those who were not as sure what to do.

Sharon shared the directions with the students on Google Classroom, and allotted a certain number of days to work on it in class. She had also shared the rubric with the students. They spent a couple of days doing some peer editing in class. They were able to refer to the rubric and give constructive feedback to one another. This was done a week prior to the due date. This gave them all time and opportunity to make any necessary adjustments and improvements. We checked in with one another throughout the process, and a few times I popped down during my plan period to check in and see how they were doing!

Click through this Buncee to see how Sharon used Buncee to Differentiate for student needs.

She was really happy with the end result of the project. Using Buncee definitely enhanced student engagement and facilitated richer discussion about the text. The prompts and questions she posed to the students meant she could get a clear grasp of their comprehension of the text.

The students really enjoyed the assignment. They did a gallery walk of all their work.

Click the arrows to page through A. and K.’s Buncees.

In the end, I loved that I got to share my Buncee love with someone else. I am hoping that she too has caught the “Buncee Bug” and will use it again. It was also really exciting to be able to collaborate with a colleague…we don’t usually ever get a chance to, so I was really happy to be able to help Sharon and Marnie! I sure hope we get to do it again next year!


Íde Koulbanis is caring, sarcastic, and curious. She is a lover of all things Harry Potter, lazy, hazy summer days and exciting musical shows. She would like to travel the world and visit many places she has read about. She speaks speak French, Irish and a little Italian, and works to make a difference in her students’ lives. You can follow her on Twitter at @imkoulbanis.


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