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 »

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Clear Puzzles, Smart Students

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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 »

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4QM = Clear Questions

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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 »

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Conspiratorial Thinking: Q3 Gone Bad

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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 »

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Contested Election, Contested Questions

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It’s been an exciting few weeks, news-wise, here in the United States. A few weeks ago Gary wrote a post about 4QM-ing the news, and recent events have me thinking about that too. In particular, I’ve been thinking about which of our questions are most often contested, and which ones are less so.  The election… Read more »

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Helping Social Studies Inquiry With 4QM

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There are a lot of ideas for teaching inquiry-based history and social studies out there. That’s because pretty much everyone agrees these days that students should be exploring questions when they learn. But what’s missing from all the inquiry-based curricula we’ve come across so far is a solid understanding of question types. Some of the… Read more »

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Reading Curriculum

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By middle school, students who cannot read fluently and with comprehension need urgent help and attention. Students who cannot read historical nonfiction with fluency and comprehension — most students, when they first encounter it — urgently need the help of their Social Studies teachers. When they first encounter informational text about history and society, beginning… Read more »

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History teachers, especially new history teachers, have a really hard job: they’ve got to teach a lot of content, and they’ve got to teach it in a way that gets kids to think actively about it. It’s extremely difficult to do both things well, and anything that makes those tasks easier will be eagerly embraced.… Read more »

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4QM The News

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I don’t know about you, but I’m afraid of my phone. Email is fine, and phone calls from people I know are always welcome. But I’m in the habit of checking the news pretty much every time I pick up the phone. The habit is ingrained, so hard to break. Right now, reading the news… Read more »

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Going From “What” To “Why”

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History and social studies teachers are used to asking a lot of “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and hopefully why. At 4QM Teaching we contend that the first four of these are actually parts of what we call Question One:” What Happened?” And we believe that good history teaching starts with a good story… Read more »

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