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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Teachers Guides and Lesson Plans

I’d Love to Know How They Are Used

I see from my Google tracker that most of the folks who recently visited my own website came there to look at one of the teacher’s guides I have there (Witch-Hunt, I always see more interest in this book around Halloween). And I just got this from Curriki, a listing of free lesson plans related Japanese Americans serving in the military during World War II even as their families were interned tinyurl.com/yjtycvb So I’m led to wonder, how does word of teachers guides and lesson plans spread? Who uses them? How are they used? Sometimes I wonder if students, more ready to read websites that they find by searching then assigned pages, might be reading the lesson plans in hopes of getting credit while skipping work. Do any of you have experience with downloading or using teachers guides or lesson plans?
     I always hire other people to create these tools — I know how to write books, not how to break them down into classroom units. But I’d always hoped that teachers who used those guides would email back to me — telling me what worked, what didn’t, adding their own amendments and variations. To me a book is a first step, a guide a second, but the third is the experience of use out in the world. And that is what we authors never hear about — what was a hit for a teacher, what was tough going, what clever idea did the teacher think up herself. There really ought to be some kind of best practices clearinghouse so that everyone who uses the same book can compare notes with other users and create an expanding base of notes and comments. And that relates to librarians — I assume school librarians would be skilled at finding lesson plans and guides for teachers — but then you/they could also be a hub, sending information back to authors — a link between the writer and the classroom experience. And that is exactly what we need.