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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

The Future of the Library — The Seth Godin Debate

Have you all read this: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/05/the-future-of-the-library.html Seth, as many of you may know, is a digital marketing guru with a large following. In that blog, he describes the existing library as a warehouse of dead books — with the librarian as custodian — and the new, now-coming-into-being, library this way: “The next library is a [...]

Your Comments on Adult and YA NF

Thanks to Myra and Linda for starting off the discussion of adult and YA NF, and to Sandy and Katie for joining in. Linda’s comment gets at the real frustration for those of us who write (edit, illustrate) non-fiction for younger readers. On the one hand, the very first question a publisher asks when we [...]

What Is the Difference Between Adult NF and NF For Younger Readers?

Earlier this year in his response to my article in the Horn Book issue on Nonfiction, Jim Murphy suggested that I was eager to be read and taken seriously by adults and reviewers in journals aimed at adult readers. I don’t think that was my motivation, but there is an interesting question for us to [...]

War — Current Events — AP

I was pleased to see this article in the Times: http://tinyurl.com/3wc46o5 An AP Teacher who realized that we are a nation at war — and have been for a decade — and yet our lives, and the lives of our teenaged students, and the flow of tests and test-prep in our high schools, go on [...]

The Realities

I spent yesterday teaching four blocks of 10th graders at a Massachusetts High School, followed by a professional development session with teachers from around the district. The sessions took place in the new and spacious library and I took advantage of the nearby shelves: when talking about Sugar, I scooped up all the books on [...]

What If We Destroyed Citizenship and No One Noticed?

I’ve written here about Teaching American History — the grant program established in the wake of 9-11 that brought historians out to meet teachers and give them new insights into American History, and also allowed teachers to travel to key historical sites. Well TaH is no more — slashed as part of the “Setting Priorities [...]

Facts and Coins

My younger son has crossed that magic moment when he can read and so is now confidently exploring his school library shelves. We’d read him plenty of books on his apparent interests — planets, the body, the brain, inventions — but now he can take the lead himself. What does he want to know? — [...]

New? An Idea From Science Teachers That Suits All of Us

Did you all see this article in the Times? http://tinyurl.com/3k2flct A new study conducted in freshman college science classes suggested that “‘As opposed to the traditional lecture, in which students are passive, this class actively engages students and allows them time to synthesize new information and incorporate it into mental model.’” Now I don’t want [...]

How Can Those NAEP Numbers Be True In the Age of AP? One Possible Answer

Last night I was talking about those NAEP test results with a friend who is adept at math. He pointed out that those astonishingly bad “advanced” results didn’t make sense even in terms of probability — just by pure bell curve distribution you shouldn’t end up with just 1% of 8th graders, say, scoring in [...]

NAEP Civics — Results Are Bad, But Interesting

Did you all see the results of the NAEP study on what 4th, 8th,and 12th graders know about civics — US History and Law? Here is a summary: http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/civics_2010/summary.asp Basically 4th graders are doing a bit better on knowing something (they hit “basic” or “proficient”) than when last tested in 2006 and 1998; 8th graders [...]