I’m the author of a middle-school book that will come out next week (Sept. 2, 2014) pertaining to September 11. Set in Florida, JUST A DROP OF WATER, tells the story of two thirteen-year-old boys and how their friendship is tested in the wake of September 11. As a former history teacher, I want kids to not only experience that tragic day through Jake and Sam, but explore the why of it all. How did this happen? Why? How can we prevent it from happening again. I have many discussion questions and extension activities posted on my website, as well, and three school locally have already picked the book up to use in the classroom. I hope you find this information useful. Kirkus gave the book a great review saying, “…just the supplemental material middle-grade teachers are looking for.”
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During the late 1980s and the early 1990s, an occasional journal article would question whether more homework was necessarily better, but those voices were few and far between. Most journal articles and popular books about homework took the safe position of being pro-homework and focused on strategies for getting children to complete homework. In 1989, Harris Cooper (now considered a leading expert on homework research) published an exhaustive synthesis of research on homework (1989a) that seemed to have little effect on popular practice and received little media attention. In 1994, a board member in the school district of Half Moon Bay, California, made national news by recommending that the district abolish homework. The board member "was widely vilified in the national press as just another California kook" (Gill & Schlossman, 1996, p. 57). The general media reaction was dismissive; the story was handled as cute and quirky, as if the idea of abolishing homework were just plain crazy.