About this blog Subscribe to this blog
« Prev: We Only Part To Meet Again A New Year: A New Beginning: Next»

Quick Links

Here is the one step friendly version for finding all of my blog posts, unit plans, and articles written this year. If any links have the domain of www.bar.rcs.k12.tn.us- it does not work. Please visit www.mrsbunyi.com and Teaching Matters under Scholastic for my newest resources.

Pictures from my classroom 

Thank you for an incredible year. With my school switch, www.mrsbunyi.com will begin working sometime this summer. Enjoy your break and rest up...

Part I: Blog Archive

Part II; Articles, Lesson Plans, and Units

Part III: Classroom Link to our Website

Blog Posts for 2008-2009

May 2009

We Only Part To Meet Again

A Voice on Selective Mutism

Content Week: One Subject, One Day at a Time

Classroom Design: Taking Lemons and Making Lemon Meringue Pies 1 video included

Replacing Overused Words: Just a Band-Aid 3 videos included

April 2009

Essays: The Land of Debate

Writing Workshop Units of Study: A Day with Lucy Calkins

Teaching Conventions in Context: Author's Craft Study

Boys Write, Boys Read

March 2009

A Free Alternative to Smartboards: Interwrite Technology

Organ Dissections: One Day Medical Residency at U of B

Don't Be Afraid to Shine!

Reflections on Having a Student Teacher

The Workshop Model: Assessment Strategies That Work

Digging Deeper with Dr. Seuss

February 2009

Scholastic Teacher Share Blog- Although the title does let you know about a new resource on Scholastic, I award myself with the "Random Blog Post of the Year". Yeah me! I love the flu... and the word "random" according to my teacher friend, Mrs. Myers.

Helping Students Read through a Balanced Classroom Library

You Have Less Than Ten Days to Win a NY Trip Or 500.00 dollars!

Regional Tour through Google Earth and Video Conferences- And yes, we do have all of the regions accounted for. A few are learning the ropes first.

Teaching Moon Phases- Several videos, music, slideshow, and lesson plan ideas.

Science Inquiry and Science Notebooking - Lots of videos, photos, and in-depth look inside a science notebook.

Create a Valentine's Venn-O-Gram Chart

January 2009

Test Prep: The Great BamBunyi Method

Creating Magazine Covers of Your Students

Literacy Scheduling and Planning

Staying Organized,Balanced, and Happy

Government 101: Yes We Can!

Everybody Needs a Goal

December 2008

Animated Cell Interview: CrazyTalk Program

Cell Parts and Functions Music Video

My Favorite Picture Book Published in 2008

Great Holiday Math Site

Recharging Your Mind with Professional Literature

Holiday Gifts for Your Class on a Ten Dollar Budget

November 2008

Fluency Concerns: Is the Book Just Too Hard?

Reading Responses: Creating Quality Reflections

Management Based on Trust

Reading Strategy Charts and Bulletin Boards

October 2008

Halloween Vocabulary Book Parade

Comprehending vs. Comprehension

Making Reading Real Through Reading Partnerships

Stress Free Parent-Teacher Conferences

Latitude and Longitude: Recess Treasure Hunting

September 2008

Guided Reading in the Upper Grade Classroom: Getting Started

Top Five Resources for Incorporating Music in the Upper Grades - please add my current favorite (newly published in Dec. 08) www.songsofhigherlearning.com

A Blended Approach to Reading and Writing Conferences

Building Community in Your Backyard

Easy Movie Making with a Green Screen

August 2008

Five Strategies to Help You Teach 4,000+ New Words This Year (Vocabulary Strategies That Help)

Support Your Budding Writers

Combining Reading Strategies and Multiple Intelligence Research

A Theme That Will Grow On You


Unit Plans, Articles, and Lesson Plans

May Lesson

The Craft of Magazine Writing

April Unit Plan

The Human Body Project(Health unit planning involving organ dissection)

Lesson 1: Learning How the Body Works

Lesson 2: Researching the Human Body Systems

Lesson 3: Human Body Project Residency

March Article

The "Art" of Meanigful Integration

January/February Article

Movie Making in the Classroom

November: Unit Plan

Three Dimensional Geometry: Sing It, Move It, Film It!

Lesson 1: Geometry: Let's Get moving!

Lesson 2: Teaching Geometry through Geography

Lesson 3: Geometry: Sport's Edition

October: Article

Homework: Applying Research to Policy

September: Unit Plan

Exploring the Genre of Review Writing

Lesson 1: Writing Food Reviews- Food for Thought

Lesson 2: Writing Movie Reviews-Lights, Camera, Publish!

Lesson 3: Writing Book Reviews- Online and Beyond

August: Article/Video

Welcome to My Room- Let's Go Camping!

Contributor Bio-Scholastic

Classroom Site: http://www.bar.rcs.k12.tn.us/teachers/bunyia/bunyihome.html

Update: The above site will be moved to www.mrsbunyi.com sometime during the 2009 summer. It will have most of the old site content.

Photo cover for our website.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Oh, I am so sorry with my late reply to you. I am usually pretty good about this, but my quick check of email on the phone prevented me from following up quickly. Again, sorry. :(

So, let me say that I hope you were offered the job! And yes, I have heard this practice before for an interview. In fact, I visited a school in Memphis with a FANTASTIC principal that strongly supported it. He lead them to a computer and asked them to write something under the umbrella of your teaching philosophy. Why? He said he didn't want someone who couldn't write and communicate clearly.

Good luck to you!!!



Hi Angela,
I happened to find your articles by chance and I love them! Anyway, I am looking for advice; I had a 4th gr. teaching interview today and was called back for a second one for Wed. (In 2 days!) This other interview will be 45 min., followed by 20 min. to do a writing prompt....what should I expect? I haven't talked to anyone who has had to do a writing prompt following an interview before.

I'm guessing that these questions for the 2nd interview will be more grade specific? I've had interviews before, but not a follow-up one.





I didn't have to do any of the paperwork because I won it, but I do know that it cost that much and it was ordered through a bid list at the central office level. My email system is currently down so I can't email our tech. people to ask for details. I'll email you if I get any information on this.



Joe Pendleton

You mentioned some time ago that the Interwrite Touch-pad could be purchased for $3oo dollars. Do you know where? I have looked all over the net.


Thanks again. It's really nice to hear things like this before making a move into a new school in a grade you have never taught. It keeps me motivated, and I am looking forward to the moving ahead of me this week and for the upcoming school year.




Many thanks for the fabulous job you have done this year on the blogs. Your ideas and enthusiasm for teaching is inspirational to us all. You are an amazing teacher! I love the way you credit your colleagues for their terrific contributions as well.
Have a wonderful summer.



Last year I was really good about swapping out the pictures every 2-3 months or so. This was because I used transparency sheets and just slipped them in and out from the front of the frame. It was great but started looking worn near the end-of-the-year.

This year I decided to place drawings directly in the frame because I thought it would look better. It did, but I never changed out the original artwork from day 1. Who wants to take frames down, open them up, place work in it, then hang it back up...20 or so times?

Next year's plans. I just bought some new frames at IKEA and plan on taking some nice photos of each child at the beginning of the year. Those photos will hang on the wall for the year (3 frames for 1.99, if you are interested). I will use the older frames to also place art work around the room.

Hope that helps...


Twyla Yeates


Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas. I have read that each of your kids have their own frame in your room. Do they do an illustrations of themself that stays up all year or do they switch what's in the frames out?

Thanks so much,



Thanks for writing here, as I have had others ask about this as well. For those not familiar with our Coco adventures, it's a photo tour of various places around the world (with our class mascot). The challenge is to find and identify the famous (and not so famous) places.

I do not have an answer key at the moment, but I hopefully will before this blog closes down. I'll provide the link when that is complete.




I am so glad I came across your website! I love love love much of what you have posted, but your Coco adventures really caught my attention! Can you please send me the answers? I can't wait to get this started next year!


Thanks for writing me and thank you for all the compliments. How do I do it all? I just don't. :) Posting everything on the web for the past year or so gives the illusion that I do it all...although I do work very, very hard (and hopeful smart as well).

And regarding my classroom environment, I guess that is one of the privileges of teaching in a portable. It really, authentically looks homey because of the walls and carpeting. I am also blessed to have a very small number this year. Last was 26 all year. This year I started with 23 and lost two in January...never received a new student. That might be the first and most stable class I have ever had.

3 poetry recommendations for you- Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash by Donald Graves has to be one of my all-time favorites and the boys really soak it up.

Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by Jack Prelutsky is AWESOME!

Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman

Professional reading- It's a Scholastic book on Content Teaching during Reader's Workshop. It's by Nancy A.

And I'm with you on conferences too. Tennessee isn't exactly a main stop for presenters. I have had to go out of state for several myself. In fact, my next one is in Connecticut for Confratute.

Best to you,


Terri Q.

I was reading another blog site and it lead me to yours today! I have
looked at several of your videos, ideas, classroom pictures, etc.

How do you do it all???? Your classroom looks amazing and you are
teaching some incredible stuff :) You are extremely well read and
have read many of the authors I love (my favorite is Katie Wood
Ray!). I have furniture in my room, however, it doesn't look nearly
as good as yours. I can't imagine 27 kids--I have 33!! But we do sit
in the meeting area every day and yes, I did give away my desk.

I teach 5th grade in California (Bay Area). It's hard out here
because a lot of people don't come out this way for
conferences.........I saw Katie in Iowa and Missouri. Ellin Keene and
Steph Harvey have been to our school district many times as we have
professional cohorts that are using the workshop model.

Any great ideas for poetry?

What are you reading professionally now?

Thanks for any info or anything!

Terri Quesinberry
5th grade, Walnut Grove


That date works for me. I'll have a visiting student teacher that morning...I'll email you.





I'm glad to hear what you have to say. I just started the Words Their
Way in February, and I can tell a difference with my kids. I have some
ESL kids who have come a long way using this approach, as well as the
other children who are beginning to really excel using this program, too.
I thought it was a great program, but was interested in what you were
doing in your classroom.

On Tuesday, May 5, four teachers (including me) and our Literacy
Coordinator are visiting a classroom at Northfield Elementary to take
a look at how a teacher there does Lang. Arts. That made me think
about your classroom, and wondered if you would be open to letting us
stop by your classroom and see your teaching world. I love all of
your ideas, and would love to see your actual classroom, too. My
Literacy Coordinator said we could swing by your classroom first
thing that morning, if you were available. If not, maybe she and I
could come another day. The way you run your Lang. Arts according to
your website schedule and ideas, is the way the city schools are
moving towards. We have professional leave we can take to visit, if
you are open. Just let me know what you think.

Thanks and keep the blogs coming,



Hello Kim,

Good question. One of my students won the 4th grade spelling bee today...so spelling is on my mind.

We are required to use the Houfflin-Mifflin series. However, from every-everything I have read the traditional 20 words a week does not cut it. For one, most of those lists are not organized by spelling patterns, instead my sound. Brain research shows that you learn one pattern a week, so this explains why some students can earn a 90% one week and not translate that to their actual writing in context the next week. On the other hand, our average spelling test grade is 95%. I think it is largely due to parent help at home. Parents can really control helping on this at home.

So, with that said...spelling is considered extremely important by not only parents, but society. Spelling counts and it is important to me. Fairly or not fairly intelligence is deemed based on spelling (although not supported). What I try to push is the use of individual spelling notebooks. Students use small composition books (the 2 for 1 dollar type). We organize it A-Z and during conferences we add 3-5 words that we would like to spell correctly in our writing. For example, a student spells "thang" for "thing." This word really needs to be spelled correctly so it gets addressed and is expected to be corrected from now on. I do this during our conference time together.

And now on to what Lucy Calkins said about spelling. She follows Diane Snowball and Donald's Words Their Way. She gives the Bair's (sp?) spelling inventory which takes ten minutes at the beginning of the year. After analyzing it, because spelling proficiency is very sequential in nature, shes strategically creates a plan based on pattern weaknesses. I totally agreed with her NOT to have students write spelling words in a sentence or X times each. I do not use this practice in my classroom because research strongly does not support this. Even having your kids visually look at the word, cover it, recite it, and check it is more reliable and helpful in learning words in isolation. She said only a few minutes of instruction is needed to teach spelling. I will be looking into Calkin's suggestions this summer myself.

Hope that helps and welcome to the Boro!

Kim Margetjak


I have been teaching for the past 10 years in KY and VA, and we
recently moved to M'boro. I just recently joined the Black Fox
Elementary staff in Jan. as a fourth grade teacher. I found your blog
on scholastic, and have been following it regularly. I love your
ideas, and have used several in my classroom, always giving you the
credit of course. Thanks for sharing!!! I have a question about
spelling. What type of spelling program do you use? Words Their
Way? I know you are busy with TCAP, but if you have any suggestions
in that area, I would appreciate it.

Kim Margetjak



I copied and pasted a response I gave for the same question from a post last fall. Here you go:

The printables for reader's notebooks can be found from a former Scholastic Teacher Advisor, Beth Newingham. Here is her direct link that includes a copy of each page from the Fountas and Pinnell reader's notebook:


And thank you so much for your kind words. It means so much to me that you took a second to lift me up. I just continue to be amazed at how kind teachers can be...again, thank you and I am humbled.


Nancy P

I was lucky to come across your website when I was looking for cool things to do in my own room. I also teach in a portable. Your virtual tour gave me a few ideas about how to set up my room to make it appear to be a bit larger than it actually is. You have an exceptional web page and I appreciate all of the links and info. you have for others to see.
I tried to find the link to the free download for the readers notebook - but was unsuccessful. My school district doesn't have lots of money - and I would like to see what they notebooks actually contain before asking to order them. Could you send me a link when you have a free moment?
You have inspired me to be better - I thought it was important that you knew that.

Nancy Patton
Tonganoxie Elem. School



You are free to use whatever you like in any way you like. I'm just happy to help you out, and think we just can't share enough in this profession. The only thing I would ask you is that if you use something I have borrowed from another teacher (ex-Heather Renz), please give that teacher create.



Barbara Rogers

Mrs. Bunyi, I would love to use several of your items on my website for the rest of this year and for next year. I stopped in to visit your site several times during the summer and at the beginning of the year....have not been to visit many times since school started....you know how that goes! You have done some wonderful things this year with your children!

Thank you for sharing so generously!

Barbara Rogers
Center Hill Elementary School
Olive Branch, MS
4th grade



Yeah, that is the only one that doesn't work. But the kids get the general idea... I just joked that our heads would be equivalent to a super-sized earth compared to the "moon".



Janice Hersh

Good evening and thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas!

I have a quick question regarding the moon phase transporter. I made one exactly like yours, but I cannot figure out how we should be able to see the full moon. Every other phase is right on, but for the full moon my head (the Earth) is blocking the light. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.



I just wanted to thank you for your wealth of knowledge and willingness to share. I am a student teacher in fourth grade right now and look forward to your posts each week. Will you continue to blog elsewhere when your time at Scholastic comes to an end? I hope so because you give so much to all your fellow educators.

Thanks so much!




If you teach math, you should check out the site Anna suggested under my "Organ dissection" post (eek, that sounded weird). Really cool stuff!




Thank you so very much for all of your wonderful ideas. I am certainly going to use some of them. I will definitely send you some pictures of my class so you can honestly tell me what you think.
I really like you and your website. You're ideas and everything are wonderful. I'm so glad I found you on the web. I teach 5th grade math in Georgia and welcome any ideas that you have. Can't wait to hear from you again!



When I was a literacy coach, I was an 11 month employee. This meant I spent one month having fun "decorating" rooms by request. It was my all-time favorite part of the job. Well, minus the dust bunnies encountered. Here are some of my tips:

~ I suggested/convinced several teachers to get rid of their kidney table. It is a clutter magnet and feels so impersonal when you are working with kids in a small group. I opt for the floor in a close circle.

~ My class rule is to clean your desk off before we leave the room. I have a student desk, and my students keep me accountable. "Your desk isn't clean, Mrs. Bunyi." They don't even know that they are helping me. My desk is clear 95% of the time.

~ If you have read my post on organization, I swear by my portable file totes. They are the best things on this planet. You just can't have a mess with these awesome tools.

~ I recommend one of those smaller filing cabinets for papers.

~ I am a dedicated fan of paper clips. Everything gets sorted quickly and efficiently. Larger piles of papers in paper clips helps.

~ Create a habit of what goes where for the every day things. For example, the second I receive my attendance sheet, I use a magnet and place it on my door for the following day. Think about your essentials. Do they have a place to go? If not, organize a plan and practice it.

~ Take a camera. Photograph each section of your room. For any sections that look cluttered, I would recommend sorting and moving. What can you get rid of? If you have seen pictures of my room, it is nicely decorated but totally free of any clutter.

~ Everyone needs a junk drawer. Mine is very hidden. At the front of the room, I have a really nice white cabinet. The top drawer includes "junk" and the bottom is where I sometimes "throw things". Allow yourself a place for this, just don't let it be out in the open. My closet can be a very scary place indeed.

~ And finally, I use embarrassment to help me. We do receive a lot of visitors to the room. What is the first thing they see when they come in? Make that angle count. For example, a newspaper reporter came into our room Friday with my principal. They stayed by the door, spoke to me for a couple of minutes and left. From their vision they could see a nicely decorated meeting area with our couch, nice lighting, and plants. Had they looked in our closet, they would have been horrified. Just horrified.

Have you looked at our class page yet? It has a video tour of our room. That may help you see how we set up our 600 square feet worth of space.

Feel free to write me with specifics, or even send me photos of your room. I think I have a good eye for this sort of thing. :)


Lana Clark

My name is Lana Clark and I'm a fifth grade teacher in Georgia. I found your Scholastic blog today because I'm looking for help organizing my classroom. I am usually a very organized person, but can't seem to get there this school year. I also got rid of my teacher desk and only use a kidney shaped table for my station. I have found that this saves space, but by the end of every single day the table is loaded down with papers, books, etc. I can't find anything I'm looking for during the day. Do you have any suggestions I would really appreciate any help or advice you can offer me.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Lana Clark

Angela Bunyi

Hey Amy,

I had to do an email search, but I remembered someone coming from your school to visit earlier in the year. I was so happy to see it was Marie L. We've had a lot of visitors, but I can honestly say Marie stood out to me. She seems to be an excellent 3rd (?) grade teacher, and we really clicked. I think you are in good hands! Based on her, I bet you are surrounded by other excellent teachers as well. :0) That makes a big difference when you are switching grades.

But to answer your question, with our break next week- I have a visitor date on March 31, but it is already scheduled with a large crowd from 3 different counties. I will email you with some other dates as well. We'll work something out.


P.S. Enjoy your break!!!

Amy Gullion

Hi Mrs. Bunyi,

My name is Amy Gullion. I was just told by my principal that he would like for me to teach 4th grade next year. I have taught 1st for 4 years and am very nervous about this transition. I was doing some research to try and prepare myself and came across your website. It is awesome. You seem to be a phenomenal teacher! I would love to pick your brain or even come see your classroom. Do you think we could work something out? I would greatly appreciate anything you could offer!

Thanks again,

Amy Gullion
1st Grade Teacher
Stewarts Creek Elementary

Angela Bunyi


That's great to hear, and I hope you receive your grant. That is how I got mine. Sort-of. My teacher friend has a set of 10 through a grant and let me borrow them. She has the set now, and I am okay with that. You only need a set to teach them how to use it. After that, a single GPS device works (rotating it out on a daily basis). I have a Magellen Explorer 100. You can find this on Craigslist for 30 dollars or so. Just look for one that says 5-10 feet accuracy. More than that is worthless.


P.S. I believe Mrs. Dunn, your team leader, came to our room (based on my email search). Tell her I said hello!

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.

Recent Posts


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Angela's 4th Grade Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.