Using The News To Teach Explanatory Thinking

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Gary and I have been trying to finish the chapter in our book about Question Three, “Why Then And There?” It’s the most abstract and difficult of the Four Questions, so the chapter has been the hardest to write. Because we’ve been thinking about this Question so much we’re both also blogging on it. Gary… Read more »

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Question Three: The Resource Problem

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[Apologies in advance; this post is long. If you make it to the end and write me a note, I’ll buy you a drink when the pandemic is over. GS] Jon jokes at our workshops that it took me 18 months to convince him that there was a Question Three. The joke is largely true.… Read more »

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The assault on our nation’s capitol on January 6th was dramatic, frightening, and very unusual. That makes it a prime case for a Question Three puzzle: Why then and there? Question Three is all about patterns and disruptions of patterns. Consider: throughout our history there have been countless demonstrations in Washington, but as Senator Cory… Read more »

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Schools Can’t Fix This

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts put civics instruction at the center of its revision of the Social Studies curriculum frameworks published in 2018. Every 8th grader in the state is meant to study the institutions of the American republic and learn how they work. The governor signed a law that same year that will eventually require… Read more »

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I’m trying to learn Spanish. I use the free version of  the online language app duolingo, I watch the news in Spanish sometimes, and I write flashcards from an old copy of 500 Spanish Verbs. I can read Spanish fairly well now, and I can understand the spoken word alright if it’s slow enough, but… Read more »

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Clear Puzzles, Smart Students

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My wife, Marian, just got the best compliment a teacher can get. Last week, after the final Zoom session of her art history class, a student hung around to tell Marian that she had made her feel smart. She said that she hadn’t had that feeling in school before. She thanked Marian for allowing her… Read more »

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4QM = Clear Questions

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A month ago I wrote a blog post about how the Four Question Method can take existing inquiry based social studies curriculum and make it better. Most inquiry curricula lack a clear understanding of question types, so they often ask questions that don’t work very well in the classroom because they are ambiguous, or can’t… Read more »

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Conspiratorial Thinking: Q3 Gone Bad

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I confess that I might find it comforting to believe that a small group of shadowy insiders — the “deep state,” an international cabal, George Soros — is manipulating everything behind the scenes. Sometimes I’d prefer to think that someone, anyone, knew what the hell was going on and could do something about it. On… Read more »

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Contested Election, Contested Questions

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It’s been an exciting few weeks, news-wise, here in the United States. A few weeks ago Gary wrote a post about 4QM-ing the news, and recent events have me thinking about that too. In particular, I’ve been thinking about which of our questions are most often contested, and which ones are less so.  The election… Read more »

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Helping Social Studies Inquiry With 4QM

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There are a lot of ideas for teaching inquiry-based history and social studies out there. That’s because pretty much everyone agrees these days that students should be exploring questions when they learn. But what’s missing from all the inquiry-based curricula we’ve come across so far is a solid understanding of question types. Some of the… Read more »

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