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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Courtesy of Mr. Dewey: Poetry

Of course poetry is not generally seen as NF — by patrons (and unless it is poetry about nature or an event — Joyce Sidman for example) — but in Dewey-land it is. Last night in my Materials for YA class we reached poetry, and that lead to an interesting discussion of Out of the […]

The Flipped Classroom and the Flipped Book

I teach at least one class online each semester at Rutgers and had felt pretty comfortable with that system. I soon realized that the big challenge for online is that because students (and the teacher) can join in on a discussion thread at any time, you lose the traction that comes from an immediate back […]


I live an interesting life: I get to research and write books that put me in touch with academic experts; I teach at Rutgers so I get to hear from colleagues like Ross Todd and the CISSL group about the latest research on, say, how young people use information; I write for young people so […]

Common Core Compliance — Real and Fake

I gave another Common Core professional development talk yesterday, this time to some 100 folks, mainly middle school ELA teachers, some Social Studies teachers, some librarians, even some Special Ed instructors. The day taught me a lot. For those of you who have not really delved into CC, there is one term you need to […]

Jeremy Lin and the Common Core

My 91 year old mother called Saturday to compare notes on Jeremy Lin with my 11 year old son. That officially confirms his status as a phenomenon — beyond basketball, beyond sports. If by any chance there is a reader of this blog who is not “up” on the latest pun on his name, and […]

The Military and Us — A Problem

As some of you know, several years ago Patty Campbell and I edited War Is, a collection of interviews and stories about the experience of war. Our purpose was to give teenagers who faced a decision about entering the service — and, though we did not at first think of this, the families of those […]

Scorecard, Scorecard, Can’t Tell Your Players Without a Scorecard

My nonfiction class is going swimmingly, and I am learning as much as the students. Yesterday we had two guests, the great reviewer and critic Dr. Betty Carter, and Kathleen Krull, whose “Lives of” books are all over library shelves. Kathleen said something very interesting about herself — which one of the students then amplified. […]

Show Don’t Tell, or Tell What You Know

The title of this blog is the most familiar instruction in writing classes throughout this land. And even way before you turn on your computer to revise your latest effort at the Great American Novel, way down in Elementary School teachers encourage students to include “details” to build up the story. It as if our […]

Read This Article — And Think About What It Means

This headline article in today’s Times is a must read: The very short precis is the headline — the education gap today is more one of class than of race. As one Stanford professor put it, “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than […]

Hi Sally — and the General Store

Yesterday’s guest in my Non Fiction class at Rutgers was Sally Walker, who is not only a fine writer of books for younger readers, but a lively guest speaker. In fact I’m afraid our discussions, comparing notes, bits of disagreement proved all too entertaining for the class. Sally’s stories of working at the Smithsonian, then […]