A Killer Week of 4QM History Lessons

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Up until last Friday, the rhythm of my units worked like this: opening days are for Question One: What happened? Story first! Then, maybe a couple of days in, when we get to an interesting interpretive puzzle, we dig in and answer Question Two: What were they thinking? Then, after some close reading, back to… Read more »

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The Power Of Pictures

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People who study memory know that drawing a picture is one of the best ways to remember something. But how often do history teachers use this powerful memory tool with their students? Most of us don’t do it often enough. An intentional use of student-generated images can help students to remember important historical events much… Read more »

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What’s The Question, Reader?

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When I was a brand new high school teacher — at age 39 — a colleague gave me some excellent survival advice. It had two parts. First, kids love moral dilemmas. Whenever you get a chance to introduce one into a lesson, do it. Second, the textbook is your friend. When you’re not sure what… Read more »

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How To Learn History In A Hurry

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We coach history teachers who use the Four Question Method for unit planning to start by defining the “story of the unit:” decide what actual content you will include in the unit, and in what order. (If the 4QM were reduced to a bumper sticker it would say, “Story First!”) But this imperative poses a… Read more »

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“Those Were Different Times”

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“Ridin’ in a Stutz Bearcat, Jim Those were different times” -“Sweet Jane” by Lou Reed The public reaction to the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush two weeks ago got me thinking about the phrase, “those were different times.” Bush 41 was the last of his generation to serve as president. He was a… Read more »

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The High Stakes Of Getting The Question Right

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Ms. R came to me with a problem. She teaches Social Studies in an alternative program at my school. Her students are an extraordinarily diverse group, but all have this in common: they’ve traveled a complicated road to get to her program. At the end of a unit on the American Civil War, Ms. R… Read more »

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4QM Featured in “The American Historian”

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The November 2018 edition of The American Historian, a publication of the Organization of American Historians, features an article titled “What’s The Question? Naming and Teaching Thinking Skills in Secondary History Classrooms.” Normally you’d have to be an OAH member to access it, but because you are on our blog page you can read it here!

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