Templates For Thinking

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In this post Jon plugs an awesome book on teaching writing, and explains why templates are a great tool for teaching students to think. “They Say, I Say” On the recommendation of the presenter at an AP workshop I attended this summer I recently picked up a copy of They Say, I Say: The Moves… Read more »

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Books Are Not Enough

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It’s official. Our book, From Story to Judgment: The Four Question Method for Teaching and Learning History, is out in the world. Judge for yourself!  Whatever happens with the book — whoever reads it and whatever they get from it — writing it did a ton for us. Having to explain the Four Questions patiently… Read more »

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Primates Like Puzzles!

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We’ve known for a long time that primates like puzzles. In this post Jon explains how the Four Question Method leverages that reality for social studies classes, using examples from the 4QM Teaching book, From Story To Judgment. Reading About Monkeys As part  of this year’s back-to-school professional development at the school where I teach… Read more »

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4QM In Grade Five

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Gary and I are high school teachers, but as we’ve been expanding our 4QM work we’ve been doing more with the middle and elementary grades. This post describes some great 4QM curriculum written by Alex Hoyt, an award-winning fifth grade teacher in Hudson, Massachusetts. Read on to see how the Four Questions can make the… Read more »

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From Story To Judgment

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We’re in the process of collecting blurbs for our upcoming book about the Four Question Method. (Blurbs are those little quotations you see on the back cover or inside the front pages, where people who are not the author tell you how great the book is so that you’ll decide to buy it.) It’s been… Read more »

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We Wrote A Book!

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We did it. We wrote a book! About a month ago we sent the final chapter off to the publisher (John Catt USA). A round of copy edits, some decisions about cover and layout, and then we’re done with it. Feels like it did when my kids moved out. We did what we could. Now… Read more »

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“Why Are We Doing This?”

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One of my favorite moments in any class is when a student interrupts the lesson (always politely) and asks, “Mr, Bassett, why are we doing this?” In social studies there is a pretty broad consensus that students should do certain things. At the top of the list, if not the very top, is “read primary… Read more »

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Classroom Debates: For and Against

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I think I’ve finally reconciled myself to debate. I came by my skepticism honestly. Way back as a TA in grad school I remember reading a paper by a student in a political theory class that was chock full of arguments, good, bad, and indifferent. The sheer density of claims, with a half-hearted defense tacked… Read more »

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Student Judgment in the Classroom

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Social studies teachers love a lively student discussion: “The kids were really into that discussion about whether or not we should have school uniforms!” But I suspect that most of us don’t do a great job of letting students know if their lively discussion was actually backed with clear and rigorous thinking. Too often we… Read more »

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