I stumbled upon Buncee by happenstance. I was online in a thread about another EdTech tool and kept seeing references to Buncee appear. With my curiosity piqued, I looked into the tool, and quickly fell in love. Roughly 10 minutes later, with my first Buncee made, I introduced it to my students.
Knowing that the best way to capture my students’ interest is to let them play, I allowed time for them to simply explore the tool. Within minutes our classroom was abuzz with student excitement. With limited guidance, since I had just learned the tool myself, my students were figuring out how to add text, stickers, animations, and OH! the excitement when they found a dancing taco!
My fourth graders were so enthralled with Buncee that anytime they saw Chromebooks in our classroom they would whisper to themselves “I hope we’re working on Buncee!” and a student burst into our classroom one morning saying, “Miss Rafferty! I was working on Buncee last night. Did you see it? I made one about YOU!”
I knew I had to capitalize on their excitement, so I started implementing Buncee across many curricular areas. In vocabulary my students worked on creating a Buncee to explain a particular vocabulary word, in Social Studies they created one about a state in the Southeast, in science they presented all they knew about soils, rocks, and landforms, and in the week leading up to Christmas break they researched holiday celebrations around the world, and presented their research through Buncee. My students were engaged and excited.
For some of my students creating a Buncee allowed them to engage in learning in ways they never had before. Still, sharing their work with anyone but me lead to anxiety and frustration. Though we strive to have a caring, supportive classroom community, public speaking is not easy for everyone. When one student in particular was called on to present their work, they vehemently refused. With head down, and tears in their eyes, the thought of getting in front of the class to share what they created was simply scary. After encouragement from both myself and their classmates, they reluctantly agreed to share what they had created. As they made their way to the front of the room they mumbled that they were nervous to talk in front of the class. That’s when one of their classmates pointed to the red speaker button near the text.
When the red button was clicked and their words were read for them, this student visibly relaxed. A few weeks later, as students continued to learn and create, the excitement surrounding Buncee hasn’t abated. If anything their excitement, and mine, has only increased.
Not only are they creating beautiful, visual representations of their learning, but they are learning to face their fears. After creating a Buncee about a state in the Southeast, when I asked who would like to present first, the student who was so reluctant to share just a few short weeks ago was the first student to raise their hand.
Kristen Rafferty holds her M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is Buncee Ambassador, a Sutori Storyteller, Newsela Certified Educator, and was part of the very first Newsela Resource Writer cohort. Most notably, however, she’s a dedicated, passionate teacher of fourth graders at Carondelet Catholic School in Minneapolis, MN who shares a love of books, technology, and laughter with her students. Follow her on Twitter.