The following is a guest blog post by Amy McCormack. Check out her bio below!
Last month, a pair of my first and second grade students huddled over their shared Chromebook, working on a Buncee slide about Vincent Van Gogh. They explored the draw tool and used it to enhance a self-portrait of Van Gogh they found on the web image search. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were drawing his ear and an arrow indicating that it had been “removed” from it’s natural position. A caption about Vincent’s incident was also added. I was bursting with pride… and laughter at the sight! The students were completely engaged in their learning and I could assess their comprehension and retention by walking the room.
This is the motivation and innovation I was seeking as I prepared for this upcoming school year. During an online professional development conference over the summer, I was introduced to Buncee and found the inspiration I had been searching for! I felt an immediate attraction and connection to the user friendly Buncee slides and tools. I just knew my first and second grade students were going to be wild over this type of digital slideshow.
My First Buncee
My first Buncee was a “Parent’s Morning” presentation. It seemed the perfect opportunity to encourage family awareness with Buncee at home. After the presentation and unprompted, I had families create accounts and start making Buncees, “just for fun!” Words can’t explain how happy I was to have a student share a Buncee he made with his family over a weekend. “That’s my mom doing the Nay-Nay,” he said when we projected his Buncee for the class. This new type of Writer’s Workshop is almost too fun to be considered schoolwork!
Below is my Parent’s Morning Buncee, which can be copied & edited for individual use!
How To Make A Buncee
To get my students creating Buncees independently, I shared a “How to Make a Buncee” Buncee with my class. You can click the Buncee below to view it, copy it into your Buncee account, and edit to share with your class. Shortly after this tutorial, the students were assigned their first project, titled “Famous Artists.”
They knocked their “Famous Artists” Buncees out of the park. I was pulling teachers from the hall outside of my room to take a peek at their creations. Students were interchanging tools in ways I hadn’t dreamed of (remember my buddies with the removable ear?). Teaching about Impressionist artists in France often raises eyebrows when I mention it was a thematic unit in my first and second grade glass. Take a look at the Buncees these kids created. It’s clear they comprehended, retained and thoroughly enjoyed the unit and the Buncee process!
In the first “How to Make a Buncee” below, I have removed my class responses and left the topics and templates blank so the Buncee can be customized for the content in a specific classroom. It is a great tool for a whole group or to assign as a homework lesson for older students. The second is the version of the Buncee completed by my class as a whole group lesson, which I projected on a large screen.
Famous Artists Unit Buncees
I’ve attached the Buncees I created to use for the Famous Artist Unit in my class. We read Carol Marsh’s book, Mystery at the Eiffel Tower. While the book goes into great detail to describe different locations throughout Paris, seeing pictures in the Buncee really brought the scenes to life for the students. I used this Buncee in conjunction with the novel.
Of course, I wanted to include a few examples of my student “Famous Artist” Buncee projects, too! You can check them out below.
What Else I Create On Buncee
Now, Buncee has become my go-to presentation tool. I create Buncees to…
- Accompany our novel units
- To introduce new topics
- To make simple, but effective announcements and cards.
- Virtual field trips (Hands-down, the class favorite). I create so the students can see real pictures and maps of the locations mentioned in the books we read and the topics we study.
I’m fortunate to teach in a small, progressive school, where my director and coworkers are always happy to embrace new technology. The ideal school, with the addition of Buncee has been the icing on the cake. Now, when I schedule the time to create a new Buncee, I look forward to the creative outlet. Preparing lessons doesn’t really feel like work. If I feel this way, I can see why my students literally leap with joy when they can create a Buncee as a final project instead of a traditional poster or diorama. I’m thankful to have found this new tool and look forward to utilizing Buncee routinely as part of my general teaching practice!
My name is Amy McCormack and I couldn’t be happier to be writing a guest blog post for Buncee. Buncee is my new favorite part of teaching! I love the product and the team at Buncee has been nothing short of amazing with their support and enthusiasm. For the past 15 years, I have been a teacher at the Cornerstone Academy (www.cornerstoneacademy.org), in Northborough MA. I teach a multi-grade, first and second grade class. Our school is small, but progressive and full of innovative ideas. We like to call it a magical place to learn. As a teacher, and as a parent, I feel it is the best. I’ve watched my own children (Lainey, age 10 and Phin, age 9) thrive. It has been such a gift to be part of their educational journeys, and to have played a part in the lives of countless other students.
I wouldn’t be a true teacher if I didn’t absolutely adore summer, however! Full of family memories we will treasure forever, we love to travel to new states each summer.I love researching new hikes for us to take and new restaurants to try out each night. We are all self-proclaimed “foodies,” who love to try out new recipes at home, too. It’s a blast to be busy with my family, but I’m just as happy sitting on the beach or by a fire with a new book. Truth by told, my ultimate goal is to write my own novel someday, when the pace of life as a mom, teacher and afterschool chauffeur settles slightly! For now, I am thankful for the many blessings that surround me. I also find great satisfaction in the new creative outlet Buncee has brought into my life!