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Packed with Potential: Engaging All Students with Learning Bentos


Participate and share: Interactive session
Recorded Session
Virtual Session
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Director of K12 Initiatives
The Source for Learning
ISTE Certified Educator
Ruth Okoye is an instructional technologist and currently the Director of K12 Initiatives at the Source For Learning. Ruth has spent over 30 years helping teachers learn effective technology implementation strategies. A frequent presenter on edtech coaching, information literacy, accessibility strategies, and using tech tools for formative assessment, Ruth contributes to the global conversation on these topics in both face-to-face and virtual environments. As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE), and a Microsoft Certified Trainer, she shares her passion for leveraging free tools as a digital equity strategy.
K-12 Education Specialist
The Source for Learning
ISTE Certified Educator
Karen Streeter is an instructional designer and currently the K-12 Education Specialist at the Source for Learning, where she coordinates professional learning opportunities for teachers. Karen coordinated the ISTE Edtech Coaches playground for five years. She has 25 + years of experience in public and higher education and served on the VSTE Board of Directors. A former Instructional Technology Supervisor, Ms. Streeter has a long history of presenting at state and national conferences. A Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) and Microsoft Master Trainer, she uses digital tools to level the playing field so that all students have access to sound instruction.

Session description

Learn to use the Bento Box Strategy to help students visually synthesize learning by creating a single image compiled from metaphorical "compartments". Experience creating digital Bento Boxes with edtech tools as engaging assessments. Explore strategies to implement interactive projects that summarize novels, history, and complex topics.

Purpose & objective

This session will introduce participants to the Bento Box instructional strategy, which can be used as an alternative assessment across multiple content areas. Participants will be led through an exploration of the strategy and then work through activities designed to help them create a project for their students to complete. We’ll also discuss creating project examples and rubrics. Using the Universal Design for Learning framework, we will discuss ways to scaffold the Bento Box strategy to allow for multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression to lend structure to the projects as students work on them.

Objectives: This workshop will:
> Introduce the bento box strategy as an alternative assessment option
> Increase participant understanding of student project design
> Review methods for creating project rubrics

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(3 Min) Introductions (Process/Schema Activation Poll)
(5 Min) Learn about the Bento Box Strategy and the benefits of using it for summative assessment projects
(10 Min) Review best practices for project design - scaffolding assignments, rubrics, and exemplars (Process/think-pair-share)
(15 Min) Tech tools and templates for Bento Box Projects (Process/hands-on exploration)
(5 Min) Strategies for publishing
(4 Min) Example 1 Walk-thru - English
(4 Min) Example 2 Walk-thru - History
(4 Min) Example 3 Walk-thru - Career and Technical Education
(4 Min) Example 4 Walk-thru - Science (Process/ share idea on Padlet)
(5 Min) Q & A and Closing

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Supporting research

Valenza, J. (2019, May 4). Building beautiful book bentos. School Library Journal.

K20 Center University of Oklahoma (n.d.). Bento Box Instructional Strategy Card. Learn K20 - Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from

Bales, J. & Saint-John, L. (2020). ‘Book bento boxes: Creative reading
response’, Scan, 39(3).

Kloss, K. Book bento is every bookworm's dream come true. (2016, May 2). [Elle Decor–blog].

Highfill, L. Replying to @MrsReberger. (2018, April 10). Here is my #BookBento HyperDoc [Tweet].

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Session specifications

Instructional design & delivery
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Professional developers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Templates will be available in multiple formats. To access shared templates, participants will need free accounts from: Canva ( and Microsoft or Google
Subject area:
Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.
For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.