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Test Prep: The Great BamBunyi Method

You have to create a little fun in this high demand job we call teaching. I'd lose my mind if I didn't allow myself to look a little crazy in front of the kids every now and then. So, let's steal a little idea from Johnny Carson to introduce the Great BamBunyi (Bam-Boone-yee) method of successful test prep. You just might enjoy yourself in the process.

Background for the Youngins': "The Great Karnack", Johnny Carson

Many of us remember watching the Johnny Carson Show when the "Great Karnack" would hold up an envelope to his turbined head to give answers to questions unseen inside a sealed envelope. I personally enjoyed the whole outfit. The silly cape, the cheap pearls that dangled around the turbine, the large feather that stuck up perfectly like a flower.

So, I was watching an old eposide of Alf (an ode to the 80's), when Alf did a skit as the "Great Karnack". Maybe I am easily amused, or a little odd, but I knew this was Alf at his best. Then I started thinking. I thought about my classroom and how we often use partners to study for upcoming tests. Could we, in fact, use the Karnack format to liven test prep. up a bit? I shared this idea with my husband, who reminded me how odd I can be at times, before he blurted out, "The Great BamBunyi!" Now, no one has to tell us that our last name is odd. We laughed for a solid five minutes. So, with a small budget approved by my husband, I set out to create these great thinking caps that could be used to magically prepare for upcoming tests. Here's how we did it.

How to Have Fun While Getting Some Test Prep In

Step 1: Figure out how you can make ridiculous looking hats. I find ours at Party City. Add some cheap pearl strings around the side and feathers to the front, and you are good to go.

Step 2: Pull out some envelopes and index cards. Create a set of questions and answers on index cards. One side has the question, while the other question has the answer.

Step 3: Model how the "Great BamBunyi" method (or whatever you want to call it) works. I had Mrs. Vaughn, our student teacher, to help us out for the demonstration. Yes, you can only imagine what she thinks of me..To see what I did five minutes before lunch to demonstrate and explain this....Download Bambunyi_in_action

Step 4: Hand each student 5 envelopes. Inside each envelope a question and answer will be found. Students will be given some time to memorize the first question and answer provided (in order).

Step 5: The students will be paired up with another student in class. I used names on sticks to select partners. The student selected to go first will place the "Great BamBunyi" cap on and proceed to place the closed (but not sealed) envelope to their head. They will then answer the unknown question before reading it to their partner. The memorized envelope goes last, as the opened envelope has the question and answer to the next revealing.  

Step 6: When all five envelopes are shared with their partner, the roles will shift as the other student does the same thing.

Step 7: When all 10 questions and answers are shared, pass the envelopes on to another group. Proceed to "study" in a fun, but helpful, atmosphere.

Here are some photos of our learning in process. If you have any ideas on how to improve this, please share!


Introducing the Great BamBunyi the Magnificient (the green cape is a curtain)


The revealing of the students' special thinking hats.


Explaining how the envelope trick works to students.


A student, using the Great BamBunyi method to study and learn.




To visit our room: http://www.bar.rcs.k12.tn.us/teachers/bunyia/bunyihome.html


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Test prep is so dull...there is no way around it! With your fresh ideas, I'd love to hear how you are engaging the kiddos as well.

And on a side note- It looks like we will try for our video conferences next Friday. I hope that works for you. I will email you with details shortly.

Victoria J.

I did a divine lesson this morning having to do with vocabulary and prefixes. However, test prep in parts has been a little dull. I saw the "Great Bam Bunyi", lol, but I am trying to think of lots of different ways to engage the kids.
I will try to download Skype at school, as I am sure I can download it at home successfully and school causes more "issues" with Internet connection. I will talk to my school's technology coordinator.


Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

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