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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

The Achievement Gap and NF

Two Really Interesting Articles and What They Mean to Us Surely you must all have seen some version of this article:www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/education/29scores.html The basic thrust is that the gap in test scores shows some differences depending on which ages and grades you are discussing, but the only moment where the white/minority gap really closed was in the [...]

Dealing With Partial Information

Preparing Students to Face Impossible Choices A person we know went off for a test the other day, yet it is not one that is likely to tell her what to do. She has discovered that she has the genetic mutation that makes her more likely to get breast cancer, but she has no sign of [...]

This Frustrating Site

You All Keep Telling Me How Hard It Is to Deal With This Site and I see the same thing myself. My own comments disappear, or appear twice. When I asked about why I was not hearing from you, I got emails and calls from those of you who have just thrown up your hands, [...]

Did You All See the 10-Years-On Report on Columbine?

I Ask Because One that I Read Seemed a Perfect Focus of Teaching About History This is based on an interview with two reporters whose book on the tragedy has just come out: www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/04/20/columbine.myths/index.html Here we have an event that took place in America just ten years ago, and which has changed security rules in high [...]

Digital Reports

Do You All Know Curriki, the website for sharing open source curricula? www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/ I get their enewsletter to keep an eye on an area that interests me at a distance. In the latest issue I read about kitzu.org/. Kitzu offers students and teachers pre-assembled "kits" on a wide variety of topics, from dance, to maps, to [...]

Respect

Debra Got It Exactly Right Speaking of boys and reading, she said: "they want magazines/books/people/activities that will help them become respected and good at something." That one phrase contains a book’s worth of insight. First, it is so obvious and clear. Who wouldn’t want that? And yet it is not "pleasure reading" as usually defined. [...]

Research on Boys

Did You All See This Article? Disney has hired researchers to learn about ages 6-14. I was struck by one observation — boys liking small improvements in skills, rather than identifying with the absolute ace champion. Contrast the open-minded thinking, the effort, the money spent on understanding boys with, for example, summer reading lists that [...]

What Is So Great About Primary Sources?

You Tell Me, Because I Don’t Get It I was visisting an elementary school recently, preaching the gospel of nonfiction. The principal nodded her head, agreeing with me all the way. "Yes," she said, "we want to start the kids on reading primary sources." Why? From this principal who is responsible for kids from third to [...]

Silence Is, Well, Silence

I Have Not Heard From You Much Recently and I wonder why. Are topics not catching your interest? The press of holidays? I notice that the area in which, outside of Monica and I sparing, you tend to fall silent is about teaching — how trade nonfiction is, or can be, or should be, used [...]

Passover and History

The Many Meanings of Past and Present (Please bear with me for a bit of personal memory to lead up to a larger historical point) One year when Marina and I were dating we suddenly decided to celebrate Passover. My family did a few times when I was growing up and I had always loved [...]