Archive for In the Classroom

Click Here for Free Teaching Guides: Jigsaw Jones, Better Off Undead, and The Courage Test

The good folks at Macmillan have worked hard to support teachers as they seek to effectively use books in the classroom. To that end, I’m grateful that they’ve produced a number of free teaching guides for my books. 

Just a click away.

Thought you might want to know.



Available in paperback this October!

The Courage Test Teaching Guide


Published in Hardcover on October 31st!

Better Off Undead Teaching Guide 


Available in both hardcover and paperback!

Jigsaw Jones: Case from Outer Space Teaching Guide 

Oh, and before you go . . .


You can click here for a special combo Teaching Guide for Bystander and The Fall. Two for the price of nothing!

Free “Jigsaw Jones” Teaching Guide: Just Click the Link!


Copy-and-paste the link below for a free CCSS Teacher’s Guide for my new Jigsaw Jones chapter book, The Case from Outer Space. Thanks to the good people at Macmillan for making it happen. Sorry about the extra step of copying and pasting — you’ll really work up a sweat! — but it’s the best I can do.

That’s it, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Carry on!


The Perfect Friend

My friend, writer Kate Klise, took this photo of a poster she saw during a recent school visit.

It’s pretty perfect, a great message to throw up on a wall.



QUOTE FOR THANKSGIVING: For Teachers & Everyone Else

We’ve all heard a lot about the “echo chamber,” the perils of hearing only a narrow field of opinions, calcifying our unchallenged opinions into dogma.

On the other hand, there’s Thanksgiving dinner with the relatives!

“What was that you said, Uncle Frank?”


Anyway, I came across a great quote by journalist Walter Lippmann and wanted to share it. Actually, I had to track it down to its source, a book titled The Stakes of Diplomacy (page 51). When I first googled the quote, I kept coming across variations, all credited to Lippmann. It got to the point where I wondered, “What did he actually say?” No one seemed to care.


A good thought for all of us to keep in mind. I actually saw it in an article I edited many, many years ago for a Scholastic educational catalog. It was about cultivating higher-order thinking skills in the classroom. Ideas about convergent and divergent thinking, and so on.

It was a good concept then, and necessary today. Public discourse — democracy — thrives when shaped by a variety of informed opinions.



Free Teacher’s Guide for THE COURAGE TEST — Only a Click Away!

The good folks at Macmillan Publishers have created a free, downloadable Teacher’s Guide for The Courage Test (just published today!).

That’s right, sing it with me:


“Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday, dear Courage Test!

Happy birthday to you!”


From the guide:

“This guide is aligned with Common Core Standards for 6th grade but can be applied to grades 4–7. To attain specific Common Core grade level standards for their classrooms and students, teachers are encouraged to adapt the activities listed in this guide to their classes’ needs. You know your kids best!”

couragetestfrontcvr-199x300Thanks for your interest and support. Teachers and media specialists are so important to the process of bringing books and students together, I really don’t have the words to express my indebtedness. My survival as a writer — this crazy career — depends on you. My hope is that teachers will share this book with students, and use it in your classrooms.

Just CLICK HERE and the Teaching Guide is yours, as easy as that!