I recently stumbled upon the blog of a fourth grade teacher, Angela Bunyi, who keeps homework to a minimum. She writes to the parents, “I keep homework very light so that you can honestly keep reading and writing as part of your steady diet at home. This will help me more than any worksheet I may send home to you at night. Thank you for your support! If you want more resources for at home help, please email me!”
Mrs. Bunyi also has a blog on scholastic.com, where she posted an interesting piece on homework. She quotes from reading research that shows that students in the 90th percentile read, on average, 2,357,000 words per year. Students in the 10th percentile read, on average, 51,000 words a year.
6 thoughts on “We Need More Teachers Like Mrs. Bunyi”
She writes to the parents, “I keep homework very light so that you can honestly keep reading and writing as part of your steady diet at home. This will help me more than any worksheet I may send home to you at night.
Hey, who let a sane person in? And to think my daughter was punished, she lost plenty recess for…reading. Yes, you read right.
I wrote a whole post on this some time ago. In a nutshell, my daughter’s two main passions upon alighting from that school bus were reading and writing. When she was asked why she hadn’t completed her homework, she would be honest and reply, “I’m sorry, I got caught up in my reading and lost track of time.”
I kid you not. I actually received an email from that fifth grade teacher that my daughter has no business reading for four hours when she comes home from school because she needs to do the assigned homework, follow directions, learn to listen, blah blah blah. She reminded me that of course my daughter must complete the required twenty minutes of reading daily. Do any of you wonder why the fun part of homework is only twenty minutes while the tedium goes on all evening long?
Teacher didn’t assign a reading log, thank heavens for small favors. Doesn’t matter, we wouldn’t have done it anyway. I’m told on this blog that teachers need those logs as proof your child actually reads at home. She’s punished for reading. No further questions, your honor.
Thanks for sharing my article under Scholastic (Homework: Applying Research to Policy) and my note from the homework page on my class site. I wanted to add to your readers ongoing discussion about reading logs. I did away with them this year. I also did away with a specific reading time at home.
Why? First, I don’t want students reading to the clock. The thought of seeing “30 minutes” read for child after child in the daily reading log is really, really sad if you think about it. My goal is for students to get “lost” in their homework.
Second, I did away with reading logs because they were a pain for all involved. When I did use them, I found my best readers didn’t fill them out. Now I just meet with my kids during reading conference time to talk about their reading habits at home. When a student was on page 35 the day before and they are on page 75 the next morning, why push a log? I can do the math! The proof is with the pace of finishing books in your room each week.
And, on a final note, my son attends a school for the gifted. He is in kindergarten and has little to no homework this year. The most that has been required are long-term projects for their enrichment clusters (weekly multi-grade small group meetings on topics of interest). My son LOVES to learn and has rapidly excelled with this authentic learning environment.
Once again, you are a great teacher!!! This is what I say to my students’ parents, too, and because they are bilingual, they read in English and in Spanish and sometimes parents read to them and share with me their experiences!!!!!
Thanks for all your wonderful job, Angela!!!!!!!
Did you read Alfie Kohn’s article? His website is http://www.alfiekohn.org/tapesdvd.htm
I am a teacher and parent of several school age kids, I completely agree with little to no homework. I can’t believe how many parents have actually thought their child should have more homework! I try to point out that a child is at school all day where his/her job is to be an active learner. Why should they have to put in more time at home, if they have ‘worked’ a whole day at school? I have felt pressured by other teachers to give more homework but I remember how my own children have struggled with homework and I will not give in. I love Angela’s blog and was so delighted to find another teacher with the same viewpoint on homework…short but meaningful when necessary, but mostly…….just READ!!
I agree with you. We need more teachers like Mrs. Bunyi. Parents have the right to complain when schools assign too much homework but they often don’t know how to do so effectively.