Friday, February 3, 2012

DBQ for Everyone!

What are you looking forward to in terms of implementing the DBQ model
with your students? Do you have any challenges/ concerns/questions? This
was a follow up question from the School Day Seminar Session "Antebellum
American Religion and Reform in an International Context: A Church State
Establishment by Another Name?" I started to write my prompt reply to
this question, when I realized it would make a better blog entry.
Because the term was coming to rapid close, I very quickly put together
a DBQ using the mini-q binder as a model. I made my DBQ for a unit in
my Child Psychology classes. (This class is a heterogeneous, non leveled class that truly has an even mix of student achievers.) I was happy to find that upon asking my
students if they had used a DBQ before, several said yes. It took about
1 period to get through to the section 'Understanding the Question". It
was surprising to me that even after careful reading and discussion,
many students needed help with this section. This may be something that
some of us take for granted- that the kids really know what we are
trying to achieve. This idea of including an 'understanding' activity
in each unit I do has become a goal of mine. During day 2 we went on to'
prebucketing'. Naming the 'buckets' also took thoughtful classroom
discussion, but once the students had it down they really knew what we
were doing. Reading through the documents seemed enjoyable to the
students, and as we went through the questions I had prepared, I kept
reminding them that we were actually analyzing and forming opinions-
engaging to the kids! We got through 3 of the 4 documents in the second
day. Day 4 we concluded the documents. The students were interested in
what could actually be considered a document. I used a statistics
chart, a blog, a quiz with answers from WebMD and a photo of a
classroom. The final bucketing took a while for some of the students,
but it was worth the effort. They did not have much trouble matching up
the documents used to back up their opinions in the roadmap activity.
When it was time to fill out the outline guide, I had the students start
with the background and tell what we were studying and why we looked at
the documents. Stating the question and transferring the roadmap were
easy for them. It was at this point I had them write the grabber.
Paragraphs sections 2 - 4 were very do-able for them because the leg
work was done. They liked having something tangible from the documents
to use in backing up their opinions. The conclusion also seemed
accessible. Resulting essays were some of the best I had read from my
classes. Students personal opinions came through loud and clear and
were well documented. I must say that I highly recommend using this
method. It takes a lot of 'front loading on the teacher's part to get
it going, and also on the part of the students- but when it came time to
write, the work was well worth it!

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