What New Teachers Need

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New teachers need a lot. There are lots of ways to know that. Start by asking one. I sit down with the newbies in my department each week for a one-on-one supervision session. I ask how they are. They tell me they’re tired.  I like to think that our rookies are well supported, but still:… Read more »

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Jeff Bezos Loves 4QM!

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It turns out that Jeff Bezos, billionaire owner of Amazon, the Washington Post, and tons of other stuff, is a fan of the Four Question Method!  Well, not really. We assume that he has no idea we exist. (Feel free to re-tweet this at him, or send it to his linked in if you have… Read more »

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More On “Essential Questions”

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Last week Gary wrote about the persistence of “Essential Questions” in our field, even though we know that they don’t help teachers plan or students learn. I’m going to tag along here with a short post on the same topic. During our recent workshop day with curriculum planners at Uncommon Schools I had a similar… Read more »

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Why the “Essential Question” Persists

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Jon and I had another excellent day with our friends at the Uncommon Schools charter network in Newark last week. It was particularly gratifying to see how deeply the Uncommon middle school team has embedded the 4QM and, in particular, storytelling into their planning and teaching. Uncommon History teachers in the middle grades now charge… Read more »

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4QM Reading Is For Teachers Too!

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I’m working with an MAT (Master’s in the Art of Teaching) student this year. She’s assisting in two of my classes, and in the spring she’ll take primary responsibility for one of them part of the time. She’s terrific: smart, engaged, thoughtful, and dedicated; I think she’s going to be an awesome teacher. One of… Read more »

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Three Ways to Tell (and Retell) a Story

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Here are three ways we can teach our students a story about something interesting or important that happened in the human world:  We can give them a reading (or video) that contains the story and teach them how to find that story in the reading (or video) We can tell them the story ourselves, out… Read more »

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College Board Code

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I’m teaching an AP course this year: AP World History. (I reverse the title so that I can call it “WHAP” in all my materials.) It’s been some years since I’ve been so intimate with the College Board, and this is my first AP course since Gary and I finalized our Four Questions and started… Read more »

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Student-Centered Storytelling

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Students can’t intuit history. They can’t know what happened in other times and places unless someone shares that information with them. Once they’ve learned enough history, they can begin to make educated guesses. But even then, they need to check reliable sources in order to confirm or, more likely, correct their guesses. In any case,… Read more »

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Why Stories Work

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At our workshops, Jon and I typically tease the audience with imaginary swag. We don’t have any — no pens, no mugs, no stickers. If we did, our swag would be T shirts that said “Story First!” on the front, and each workshop participant would get one. Alas, no T shirts either… So we believe… Read more »

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