Just Explore: An Expedition with Buncee

“Just explore.”

How often does a student get to hear that from a teacher in the classroom? Students in Deborah Gaillard’s 5th Grade Class at Meadowlark Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina were greeted with this simple direction as they were introduced to Buncee for the first time.

A Friday afternoon in the schoolhouse is usually the time for a teacher to clean up the eternally growing “to-do” list of administering assessments, getting grades updated, and scheduling last-minute make-up work for absent students. In some cases, it is a combination of all those things and beyond for the teacher. Mrs. Gaillard decided to shift instructional gears and introduce her students to Buncee. She found a window of time between lesson plans and crushing out items on her “to-do” list and placed Buncee in the spotlight for her students.

The original intent by Deborah was to simply introduce students to Buncee. Her thinking for Buncee on that day was to begin with a simple introduction, and then she would build upon that with a more nuanced student activity aligned with a unit plan scope and sequence.

Things took an unexpected turn as students began to dutifully follow their teacher’s instructions to explore Buncee.

A perfect storm of positivity took place in Mrs. Gaillard’s 5th Grade Classroom. In fact, students were living examples of their school’s mascot – The Meadowlark Explorers. Students began to create and express different things using Buncee. Two students created a “Get Well” card for an absent classmate. Some students began playing with the possibilities within the various Buncee Dancing Animations. Laughter was traded among classmates as they played with the animated characters doing the “whip nae nae” and doing the “running man.”


The culture of the classroom was ignited with creativity as students were inspired by the possibilities evident within the tool. Creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical-thinking were hit with sincere fidelity as students were given an opportunity to explore and express their voices using Buncee.

As students completed a Buncee, they were asked to email it to Mrs. Gaillard. In turn, Mrs. Gaillard highlighted each Buncee on the Smartboard for students to see and learn more on a particular Buncee Feature. When a student had discovered that sound could be added to a Buncee, there was a ripple effect of smiling faces as the students reached for the plus sign button on the Buncee canvas.

One powerful example of this exploration with Buncee took place in the form of an unexpected book report. Students were definitely enjoying having a hold on expressing their voices in the creation of various Buncees. One student created a six-slide Buncee presentation on a book he was assigned to read from the previous school year. His inspiration was Gary Paulsen’s classic young adult novel, Hatchet. It was powerful witnessing a student proud to share his creative expression based upon a book he connected with in a profound way. It was inspiring to see how Buncee was the catalyst for this level of student expression.

Upon observing this student’s creation, Mrs. Gaillard received a clear and powerful insight into the gifts of the student. She plans on capitalizing on the evident talents for this particular student.

Furthermore, Mrs. Gaillard had the epiphany that she could tie a Buncee Creation to an upcoming Math Standard she was planning on teaching for the following week. Understanding and Mastery of Place Value is a crucial mathematical standard for 5th Graders. Mrs. Gaillard realized that she could integrate the 4Cs of creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical-thinking into a powerful teachable moment for her students. Students would create a “Wanted” poster depicting a so-called mathematical crime using Buncee. In addition to the creation aspect of this lesson, students had to demonstrate critical-thinking of a mathematical concept by demonstrating their content knowledge of place value. Students would be engaged to demonstrate content mastery in a creative and innovative way. Mrs. Gaillard also realized that this approach would  help her efforts with giving solid, formative feedback to each student.

As the class was drawing towards its inevitable conclusion, students were hesitant to leave Mrs. Gaillard’s class. This inspired exploration set forth by Deborah Gaillard in service of her students and supported by Buncee motivated students in such a visceral way. She  let the students know that if they wanted to, they could download the iOS app and continue to create at home. Additionally, students were vocal in their plans to continue to playing with and exploring Buncee over the upcoming weekend.

Students saw so many possibilities while engaging with Buncee. Mrs. Gaillard received an entry point into understanding and appreciating the creative promise evident within each of her students. It was a joyful class for both teacher and student. Buncee has become a part of their journey toward building an authentic learning community of creativity and collaboration.

1 Comment

  • November 22, 2016


    Great blog post – thanks for suggesting I check it out Buncee!!

    I love it when teachers give their children opportunities to explore apps & technologies. This morning I gave my prep students (first year of school in Australia) the iPads with Buncee app loaded and ready to go. Told them they had 30 minutes to explore the app and find out what they could do – then they had to ‘teach’ me how to use the app. The excitement levels were amazing!!

    Great work Mrs Gaillard – keep letting them explore :-)


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