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Here’s a text-only version of our April 2021 newsletter:
New video: Students ask questions about 1899 editorial cartoon
In our new video, you can watch a 10th-grade history class in action as they use the Question Formulation Technique to break down a complex editorial cartoon from 1899 that addresses the subject of American imperialism. Working remotely, the students and their teacher, Johnny Walker, do the work of historians — thinking critically about a primary source, asking questions, conducting a close reading of secondary sources, and reflecting on what they’ve learned.
Citizen U Primary Source Nexus
The video above is part of a free online course, Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Primary Source Questions, that we’re launching later this year thanks to generous grant support from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program. We’ll let you know more about this free course in future newsletters. In the meantime, check out the Citizen U Primary Source Nexus page, which has great resources for learning with primary sources. Here are two that feature the Question Formulation Technique:
- Teaching Now: QFT with a Primary Source (describing a fourth-grade cartography unit)
- TPS Spotlight: Right Question Institute (including additional video and resources)
Discussing math without fear
Christine Relleva, a high school calculus teacher, used the Question Formulation Technique on the first day of class. It turned out to be “the most rewarding first day in 30 years,” she writes. Relleva presented students with some curious graphs, and students learned to “discuss mathematical information without any fear.”
May 13: Free webinar with Emerging America
Emerging America is offering a free webinar series about ensuring the “full inclusion of all learners in history, civics, and social science.” Join RQI’s Sarah Westbrook on May 13 to explore strategies for engaging all students, including language learners and students with disabilities, in formulating their own questions. Sarah will be joined by experienced educators from Highland Park, Illinois, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, to present this webinar.
Have you used the QFT with people in the criminal justice system?
Our resources can be used by legal professionals and educators to build the self-advocacy skills of incarcerated adults and youth. We’d like to share your stories. Let us know how you’ve used the Question Formulation Technique in juvenile justice or adult correctional settings. Reach out to our legal director, Naomi Campbell, at email@example.com.
What we’re reading
Here are some stories that caught our attention this past month:
- TikTok is a thriving learning community—and may be the future of education — Fast Company
- Gifted programs provide little to no academic boost, new study says — The Hechinger Report
- As bad information spreads, Florida schools seek to teach digital literacy — NPR
- Misinformation, disinformation and hoaxes: What’s the difference? — The Conversation
- What parents in ancient cultures can teach their Western equivalents — KQED
At the Right Question Institute, we work to build a vibrant democracy where all people — even those furthest from power — can make their voices heard, participate in decisions, and advocate for themselves, their families, and their communities. Your donations help us do that. Your support helps bring free resources to educators and schools, and it helps spread practical, free tools that elevate people’s skills — so that more people can begin to navigate complex systems and advocate for themselves with increased confidence. Thank you for your support and friendship.