Royal Fireworks Press Blog

Mathematicians Are People, Too! by Robert Black

Posted on: 05/16/2019

Some of the world’s most eminent mathematicians led fascinating lives. One was the only legitimate child of a notorious poet, taught the rigors of math so she wouldn’t follow in her father’s footsteps. One was a career government official who only studied math as his hobby. And one became a celebrity by carrying a lamp […]

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The War in the Pacific: A Fictional Perspective by Robert Black

Posted on: 08/30/2017

My latest novel attempts to help us realize our place in history. The Eyes of the Enemy is both a war story and a family story, but with something extra as well. One thing I like about being an author is that I can bend the rules of reality in a story if it helps […]

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Lewis Carroll, the Original Mathematical Novelist by Robert Black

Posted on: 08/22/2016

Author Robert Black reflects on his inspiration for math in fiction. Whenever I give a presentation on my Mathematical Nights books, there’s one name that I always mention: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, mathematical lecturer at Oxford University during much of the Victorian era. You may know him better by his pen name: Lewis Carroll. From the […]

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The Importance of Philosophy by Sharon Kaye

Posted on: 05/11/2016

Philosophy is the story of brave thinkers who can change the world. Here’s a question for you: What is your touchstone book? The book that changed your life. The book that made you realize who you are and what you stand for. You may not have fully realized it when you read it, but looking […]

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We Must Advocate for Real Reading by Michael Clay Thompson

Posted on: 04/11/2016

If I ruled the world (I recently observed that this is increasingly unlikely), every school system in the United States would make a powerful literature program the centerpiece of its educational strategy. The opposite is what is happening; school systems are ditching real literature for dumbed-down textbooks, with exactly the effects on students’ minds that […]

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The Life-Changing Moments that Resulted in the MCT Curriculum by Michael Clay Thompson

Posted on: 03/30/2016

In my history with Royal Fireworks Press, there have been two momentous events without which the MCT curriculum would never have been possible. One was, clearly, my first encounter with Dr. Tom Kemnitz, the very embodiment of fanaticism about curriculum and the lives of children that I myself felt. The MCT language arts curriculum reveals […]

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Why Math Fiction? by Robert Black

Posted on: 01/13/2016

Sharing the Mathematical Experience I grew up in a mathematical household. Not only did both of my parents teach high school and middle school math, but my mother was the school’s “math coach”—the faculty advisor for the national, state, and local math competitions that students entered. One competition in particular always posed some strange problems, […]

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The Relevance of Walden Today by Anne Faigen

Posted on: 10/16/2015

When I began to write Finding Her Way, I had a distinct purpose in mind, grounded in my classroom experience. A teacher of high school honors English, I had always enjoyed the lively discussions related to my students’ reading of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Everything about Thoreau’s life intrigued them. Working a few weeks a […]

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The Problem of Evaluation by Michael Clay Thompson

Posted on: 08/17/2015

I’ve always had a certain mistrust of evaluation. Haven’t you, too? The warning signs are plentiful. Do you remember that wonderful paper you wrote that the professor misunderstood or criticized, not because it was bad but because it jangled his preferences? Do you remember the papers you tried to grade (think about that word: grade), […]

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Reading Is Not a Spectator Sport by Steve Loe

Posted on: 04/14/2015

In my novel The Glimpsing Book, one of the main characters, Henrietta, reflects: “The reader cannot just read words without truly thinking about them. It would be like eating without digesting. True reading is very active. A reader brings his or her own story to the author’s story. What a combination that makes! Millions of […]

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No Less than the Trees and the Stars by Stephanie Tolan

Posted on: 06/01/2014

We are grateful for Stephanie Tolan’s permission to post this powerful piece here. In the more than thirty years I have written and spoken about the needs of gifted children and adults, I have shared a lot of my personal life. But after the last piece I wrote (in The Deep End, December 2012), that […]

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Why Teach about Genocide? by Brian Crawford

Posted on: 02/07/2014

As a teacher, I always need to know why I am teaching a lesson before I teach it. It is not enough to engage students in work that is merely interesting; there must be some lasting understanding at stake. Having taught about and written a novel on genocide (The Weaver’s Scar), I have often wrestled […]

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Common Core and American Nonfiction: Some Thoughts by Michael Clay Thompson

Posted on: 12/02/2013

The Common Core standards have been adopted in the majority of states, to our relief or disappointment, depending upon our understanding of the standards. My impression is that some of the negative reactions to Common Core have not so much to do with the standards themselves as with how they are interpreted or implemented. Let […]

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Advocacy for Gifted Education Should Be a National Priority by James J. Gallagher

Posted on: 10/30/2013

As we seek support for educating gifted students, we must accept the fact that our advocacy efforts have been largely unproductive. At the federal level, the Javits legislation has been a bone tossed to quiet us, and state efforts have not been much better. We need a persistent and convincing effort to change our environment. […]

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The Venn Diagram: Is It Analysis? by Shelagh Gallagher

Posted on: 09/16/2013

Bloom’s taxonomy (and its re-articulation by Anderson, et al.) contains a wealth of detailed information about different levels of thinking. Unfortunately, the taxonomy is rarely presented in enough depth to appreciate its nuances. The purpose of this post is to take a closer look at the category of analysis. A picture of two balloons, one […]

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Assessing the Cult of Assessment by Michael Clay Thompson

Posted on: 05/01/2013

Those new to the MCT language arts curriculum might be puzzled by the absence of sets of stock worksheets and assessments, which other curricula commonly include as the things for students to do. Many programs feature activities that center around pencils, in which students sit silently to fill in blanks, connect matchings, write short answers […]

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