Happy New Year to all our readers! We wish you all the best for 2024. In this post we are looking back to one of our highlights for 2023: a visit to a fifth grade classroom that was using 4QM curriculum. In this post I’ll describe what we saw there and explain how the curriculum… Read more »

Read More

I recently had the pleasure of giving a workshop with our friend and colleague Art Worrell, the history curriculum leader for the Uncommon Schools network and co-author of a new book on secondary school history teaching. We were working with a group of social studies teachers in Indianapolis, and we opened the day with a… Read more »

Read More

Want Discourse? Ask Students Four Questions!

Read More

We often hear from schools and teachers that we work with that one of their main goals is to increase or improve the quality of student discourse. This is indeed a worthy goal: we want history and social studies classrooms to be active places where students are doing the intellectual work of our discipline, and… Read more »

Read More

Civic Education & 4QM

Read More

Is the Four Question Method applicable to civics education? Gary and I get this question a lot. As history / social studies people we’re often in contact with civic education advocates and organizations, and as a small organization interested in growing we’re sometimes advised to make a pitch for ourselves as civics educators. As a… Read more »

Read More

One thing we all learned during the COVID pandemic is that school matters. Test scores fell after the year of interrupted schooling in 2020-21, and anyone who was in the classroom during the 2021-22 school year can testify to the fact that students who were not in school the year before missed a lot of… Read more »

Read More

We just had a consultant come to my school to do a review of our social studies program. We got some useful feedback, which will help us to set our agenda for professional development and materials acquisition.  I noticed something strange, however. For classroom observations, they used a rubric, naturally. That rubric defined “rigor” as… Read more »

Read More

The “Effectiveness” Trap

Read More

I watched a very good teacher ask her students a silly question the other day. The lesson started with a background reading on World War II propaganda in the US. The reading contained information about the Office of Wartime Information (OWI), which FDR established by executive order in 1942 to coordinate the country’s propaganda campaign.… Read more »

Read More

Historical Thinking Skills With 4QM

Read More

Teachers of history and social studies on all grade levels know they want students to do more than just memorize facts; they want students to practice thinking about history as well. This is a valuable and important goal. Humans remember what we think about, so actually engaging intellectually with history will help students to remember… Read more »

Read More

The Four Question Method wasn’t explicitly designed to teach civics, but we think it does a really good job of it. In this post I’ll explain why teaching Question Two, “What were they thinking?” helps students to develop a critical civic disposition: listening to people who we expect to disagree with. FOUR QUESTION STRUCTURE The… Read more »

Read More

Last week, Jon wrote about Graham Delano, an awesome young teacher at Nashville Classical Charter School. Graham’s students had learned a story, but didn’t know how to begin retelling it. Graham called them back and identified the actors in their story — Native Americans, led by Chief Joseph, and the American military. That prompt allowed… Read more »

Read More