Recycle, Renew, Reuse: Your Lessons!

The following is a guest post by Californian educator, Barbara Thomas. We are thrilled to have her awesome ideas on the Buncee Blog! To learn more about Barbara, and her third grade teaching assistant, Lauren Johnson, read their biographies at the bottom of this post.

Recycle, renew, reuse!

As a veteran elementary teacher of twenty years, I wondered what to do with a tired but necessary project.

Keep it as is, start over, or reinvent it?

The third option is what third grade teaching assistant, Lauren Johnson, and I did with the Orange County Project. For fifteen years, my third graders learned about Orange County, California by reading articles about aspects or people important to the heritage of the county, writing summaries, and drawing pictures. The summaries and pictures were assembled into a scrapbook each year, and they remained in my classroom, so students had only a memory to take with them of the project when third grade ended.

After viewing a Buncee presentation at a live online symposium, both Lauren and I agreed to reinvent the OC project using Buncee. The kids were onboard and showcased the Buncee with their parents at Open House. With QR readers aimed at the presentation, parents were able to capture the project on their cell phones. What an innovative way to share and keep the project! The Orange County Heritage Buncee was a hit, and the last hurrah for me, as I retired in June.



Motto: Be the best you can be!


fullsizerender_480Twenty years after graduating with a B.A. from San Diego State University, Barbara Thomas went back to college to earn my California Teaching Credential from Concordia University. Inspired by volunteering in her children’s classrooms, teaching became a passion  Barbara joined Our Savior’s Lutheran School teaching staff in San Clemente, California in 1996, where her daughter went to school. She taught upper grades for three years, left the school to teach fifth grade at a larger school, and returned to OSLS a year later. For the next sixteen years she taught third, her absolute favorite grade. She retired in June 2016.  Barbara served as OSLS’s lead teacher for many years, established and coordinated  Character Council, a student outreach service, and participated as a member of the accreditation steering committee two times. She also worked as trainer for Open Court over a few summers. Her interests in teaching leaned toward technology, math, and writing. Throughout the years, She has had the privilege of staying in touch with many former students as they graduate from high school, college, and begin their lives as professionals in their chosen careers. To help satisfy her passion for education, Barbara plans to periodically work as a substitute teacher in a few local schools. In retirement, she is enjoying beach walks, reading, meeting friends for lunch, and traveling. Life is good!

With a love for working with children, Lauren Johnson began work on her California Teaching Credential at National University after receiving a BA from the University of Arizona in Communication and Media Arts. Her journey was interrupted when she began her own family. However, she kept involved with education when  she started subbing for Our Savior’s Lutheran School, where both of her children attended. During their elementary days, Lauren began to work for the school full time, as an instructional aide for fourth grade, followed by a year in third grade as a teaching assistant. During this time, she continued to work on her credential. Lauren plans to finish it in early 2017. She is especially excited to teach emerging technology, science, and art. Additionally, with a passion for cooking, she has taught children’s culinary arts for three years.  In the few moments that she is able to enjoy leisure time, she likes creating recipes, reading, writing, and art.


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