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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

A Great Day For Numbers, (Im)Probability, and Thinking

Do you all know the great political-statistical analysis column 538? It runs in the New York Times and author Nate Silver makes use of his sophisticated knowledge of statistics and skill with computers to make political analyses and predications. But this week he turned his insight to the totally unexpected last day, hours, and even […]

Learning Outcomes — How Can Parents Fit In?

Now that I am teaching at Rutgers, I have to prepare, or revise, the syllabi for my courses twice a year. Right near the top of each of these we are required to list Learning Objectives, and Learning Outcomes. And I have been hearing from near and far that this second term, “learning outcomes” is […]

Information VS Nonfiction, or The Element of Surprise

As you all know, the Sibert is given for the best ALSC-age “Informational” book, such as the new CC standards deal with “information” literacy. So why that choice of term? In one way we might grant the ALSC committee that created the Sibert with an astute awareness of the problem with the world “nonfiction” — […]

Poverty and Change

As you may have read, the number of Americans living in poverty is at its highest level in 52 years, and median household income is lower than it was a decade ago, the first time that has happened since the Great Depression: The numbers are even worse when you ask who is in poverty […]

Common Core, Beginning or End?

The world is noticing. All around me I see new attention to the CC Standards and the Nonfiction Literacy strand within them. Perhaps it is the new school year, but educators of all stripes are trying to figure out what to do — which means that even book publishers are starting to (mistakenly) ask prospective […]

We The People, US History 7th Grade — Your Suggestions?

Here is the plan for the 7th grade US History 1 we created at 276, Iany comments, criticisms, suggestions, and — oh ye librarians — ideas for books that we might use within this structure would be most welcome: As all of you know, US History 1 is this mad dash to get to the […]

Now For Some Good News — And Your Ideas

I have been having the great thrill of working with Teri Ruyter and her staff at P.S./I.S. 276 in Manhattan. This is a beautiful new public school on the lower tip of Manhattan facing the Museum of American Jewish history, Battery Park, and the harbor — an ideal location for teaching about America, American history, […]

Amnesiac Nation

Some time ago I passed on word that Nevada was not funding training for Social Studies teachers. Well from the East Coast here comes word of what happens as that kind of thinking extends into schools. A town in Massachusetts decided last spring that, since Social Studies is not tested (in a way that has […]


The TV was on here all morning yesterday, we would listen in segments as family members read the names of relatives killed ten years ago. Marina and kept being surprised by our tears — it was not anything that someone said that caught us, just the basic humanity — so many lives, ordinary lives, scored […]

NF and Banned Book Week

I’ve been asked to speak on a panel about Banned Books, and that made me think about where NF fits with the whole question of book challenges, censorship, etc. I bet that nearly all the Banned Book displays and discussions center on novels — the books parents object to, which get hauled off of shelves […]