The Power of Representative Events

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One of the most challenging problems history and social studies teachers face is managing the enormous scope of content that we are responsible for teaching. One teacher we worked with a few years ago referred to that content as “a behemoth.” The Four Question Method gives teachers a way to tame that behemoth: by focusing… Read more »

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Quick Question Three

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In this post Gary describes some quick ways to get students thinking about Question Three: “Why then and there?” Question Three — why then and there? — is the hardest of the Four Questions. The Russians had a revolution in 1917. We can tell the story easily enough after consulting a decent textbook. We can… Read more »

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4QM Can Improve Your Existing Curriculum

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One of our favorite things about the Four Question Method (4QM) is how it helps social studies teachers to sort through and make better use of existing curriculum materials. We were reminded of this at a recent workshop when an eighth grade teacher said that he’d been using SHEG materials for years, and they sometimes… Read more »

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How Storyboarding Helps Learning

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In this post Jon describes how a storyboarding activity helped his students to make sense of lecture notes they’d taken on the Spanish Empire. This week in my tenth grade AP World History class we were learning about the Portuguese and Spanish Empires of the 15th – 18th centuries. I gave the same lecture on… Read more »

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In this post Gary describes two quick ways to get students practicing the historical thinking skills of narration and interpretation. In our new book, From Story to Judgment, we describe gold-standard activities — we call them “inquiry labs” — for practicing the Four Questions and the historical thinking skills associated with each of them: narration,… Read more »

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We history and social studies teachers know we should be asking our students to think about the history they’re learning, not just memorize it, so we often ask questions that look like thinking questions. But many of these questions don’t actually require the kind of historical thinking that we say we want students to do.… Read more »

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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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