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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A few weeks ago Gary and I were talking with a client who is responsible for history and social studies curriculum and instruction in grades 5 – 8. She was explaining why social studies has to fight for instructional minutes with ELA, and one thing she said really struck me. She reported that some curriculum… Read more »

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Sometimes Textbooks Get It Right

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In my last blog post, I complained about the way our textbooks address Question Three, Why then and there? I also promised that I’d stop complaining in the next post (this one) and tell you about a textbook that actually gets Question Three (mostly) right. But first a story… It was 2002. I’d just become… Read more »

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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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