This is the approach I needed as a history teacher, a school principal, and now training teachers in a master’s degree program. The 4QM book, From Story to Judgment, should be in the hands of every social studies teacher and any program that trains them. It provides absolute clarity around the key questions that drive social studies instruction and gives fantastic ideas for how to teach them in a rigorous and engaging way. It brings the “both and” approach that all good teaching requires by balancing learning the narrative and facts with developing deep, historical thinking skills that are essential for our students.”

James Verrilli, Dean, Relay Graduate School of Education, Co-Founder North Star Academy, Uncommon Schools

The four question method is the swiss army knife of history teaching: it gives me four tools, each with multiple uses. It cuts through all the red tape I have in my head about planning, and gives me and my students a clear and smart way to think about what we’re learning.

Alexander Hoyt, 5th Grade Teacher, Hudson Massachusetts public schools, winner of the Richard Aieta Promising New Teacher Award, Mass. Council of the Social Studies, 2019.

The four question method helps me understand why a lesson doesn’t work, and helps me plan lessons that work the first time. Most importantly, it gives me a blueprint for planning lessons that give students at all levels the keys to historical thinking and a sense of mastery.

Jennifer Morrill, History & Social Sciences Department Chair, Newton South HS, Newton MA

This is a most impressive scheme. I love its elegance, efficiency, and communicability.

Peter Seixas, Professor and Canada Research Chair,University of British Columbia. Director, The Historical Thinking Project, and author, The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts

Jon and Gary are the biggest champions of social studies instruction out there! Not only do they celebrate the hard work of history teachers, but they make teaching such a complex discipline seem so much less daunting. The Four Question Method has revolutionized the way we think about developing curriculum and teaching students to think critically like historians.

Rebecca Lord Gomez, Senior Manager of History, Grades 5 – 8, at Uncommon Schools Network

The Four Question Method is nothing short of a pedagogical breakthrough. Shiffman and Bassett are master teachers – this is an approach by teachers for teachers. It is practical, clear, and gets at the heart of why we teach history – to enable students to understand, reason, and think critically about their world.

Scott Gordon, CEO, Mastery Network of Schools (Philadelphia/Camden)

Bassett and Shiffman have hit a home run. With engaging writing, clear logic, and vivid examples, they demonstrate how four questions can be used to guide all social inquiry. The four question method is an invaluable tool for educators at all levels and for anyone interested in clarifying their thinking about the world around them.

Timothy Frye, Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Politics, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, Co-Director, ICSID, Higher School of Economics, Author of Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia, Editor, Post-Soviet Affairs

The 4QM workshop gave our whole department a clear and practical framework for talking about what content will be included and where as we launch our curriculum review. Teachers responded very positively, and we are using the 4QM framework to guide our review and revision process.

Jill Story, History Department Chair, Masconomet Regional High School

4QM Teaching led a summer workshop with our high school history department that transformed the way they think about planning and teaching. The teachers loved it, and have embraced follow up coaching and workshops as a key element in a cycle of continuous improvement.

Orin Gutlerner, Chief Academic Officer, Match Charter Public Schools

[The Four Question Method] makes history more clear and helps me think.

Tenth Grade Student

I 've started liking history a lot more! I used to have to study for hours and hours for tests, but now that I am actually taught the subjects, rather than just memorizing them, I have been much more successful and enjoy the subject.

Tenth Grade Student

The way of using the storyboard as a limiting structure is brilliant...Structuring the unit questions as you do naturally provides scaffolding and incorporates critical thinking and differentiation naturally within the process.

2018 Workshop Participant

As a new teacher (with little history background) I found this really beneficial. I often struggle with ‘what’s important’ and get hung up on facts. I backward plan, but still struggle. I think this strategy will help my planning immensely.

Chelsea, first year teacher

Fantastic inquiry method, engaging program.

2017 Workshop Participant

These questions are MUCH better than the ones I've been using.

2021 Workshop Participant

Pretty Impressive, Right?

You've heard what 4QM workshop participants have said. Now create your own testimonial. Contact us about working with your school or district, or attend one of our workshops.