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 »

Read More

Sometimes Textbooks Get It Right

Read More

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 »

Read More

Using The News To Teach Explanatory Thinking

Read More

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 »

Read More

Question Three: The Resource Problem

Read More

[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 »

Read More

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 »

Read More

Schools Can’t Fix This

Read More

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 »

Read More

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 »

Read More

Clear Puzzles, Smart Students

Read More

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 »

Read More

4QM = Clear Questions

Read More

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 »

Read More

Conspiratorial Thinking: Q3 Gone Bad

Read More

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 »

Read More

Stay Up to Date

Like what you've read so far? Never miss a post. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get updates, workshop dates and more.

Sign Up