The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) developed by the Right Question Institute is both a simple, practical teaching technique and a philosophy of learning that empowers ALL learners to discover questions for themselves.
Keep at hand all seven items in the Emerging America Lesson Design Toolkit to support strong lesson plan development. You will also need copies of applicable academic standards and, of course, your text set, and any other support materials for the lesson. Refer to each tool to broaden choices for you and for students. The tools help make precise and clear the language in lesson objectives, instructions for assignments, rubrics, graphic organizers, and other handouts.
A Tool to Challenge Misconceptions
The point of the RAN Chart is for students to research and confirm or correct their ideas for themselves! (Thus the RAN Chart improves on the old "KWL" chart.)
Step 1: Draw the RAN Chart on a whiteboard or smart board, or build from note cards or post-its. Ideally, leave the RAN Chart up through throughout an investigation. Create categories to help categorize the important ideas and information of the topic.
The Stripling Inquiry Model represents the inquiry process graphically to help students make sense of the inquiry process. The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program has helped to popularize the model. Find an in-depth discussion of inquiry and links to additional models and resources at Emerging America's Inquiry Strategies page.
A way to spur inquiry and close observation is by examining one quarter of the primary source at a time.This six-minute exercise gives students a chance to focus in on particular details of the source. Having students write notes about each quadrant helps students to generate ideas and text fragments they can use in their writing; the partial view makes it easier for students to make notes without self-criticism.
The Library of Congress teacher Primary Source Analysis Tool helps students learn the skills of inquiry. The Library of Congress Teachers page suggests prompts to analyze: maps, film, oral histories, newspapers, political cartoons, books and other printed texts, sheet music, photographs and prints, manuscripts, and sound recordings. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html
From Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project, this powerful site offers more than 60 curated lists of books on social justice and multicultural points of view for children, young adults, and educators. Book lists are organized by topic areas–including Changemakers, Disabilities, Immigration (and specific immigrant groups), Organizing, and Voting Rights!
Part 1 (Text sets): Finding Primary Sources on Immigration and Disability History
What are you looking for? Text Sets (3:29 mins) - Link to Part 1 video
This first video explains what a text set is and gives examples.
Emerging America's lesson plan template features a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) grid borrowed from Social Studies & Exceptional Learners (see below). It is designed to support teaching of Social Studies. Three columns call for strategies that support the UDL instructional framework (see description in Accessing Inquiry clearinghouse).
Maps, Knowledge, and Power in Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Maps are a representation of geographical space. As such, they are valuable as a source of information. Yet their makers can also use them to control or alter perceptions of that same information. In the 14th and 15th centuries, cartography, or the science of map-making, changed rapidly due to the explorations of the Americas. Use the maps below to trace some of these changes.
Mappa mundi, Hereford, c.1300