DBQ News: Online Support Series
February 2023 - DBQ and Mini-Q Alternative Endings
Do we have to write an essay? Not necessarily!
The DBQ Project is unapologetically a writing program. We are also a social studies program, a literature program, and a literacy program. Most importantly, the DBQ Project resources are inquiries. Inquiry-based learning not only piques students’ curiosity and engagement but also leads to deeper learning! The DBQ Project offers structured and scaffolded lessons to guide students through this inquiry process culminating in an evidence-based writing exercise. But, writing a 5-paragraph essay is not the only way for students to demonstrate their learning and articulate their arguments. Writing can take many different forms. Have you considered creating an alternative end product for a DBQ or Mini-Q your students are working through? If you are a choice board person or love project-based learning, this is for you!
EXAMPLES OF DBQ ALTERNATE ENDINGS
One-Pagers and Infographics
One-pagers and infographics are visual, graphic representations of information on a single page. Using this alternate ending students can use images, words, textual evidence in response to the DBQ question. Requirements could include a well-developed thesis statement, background info, 2-4 buckets each supported with textual evidence, and an argumentative statement for each. Variations of this type of end product could include newspaper front pages or advertisements.
Blogs and Discussion Boards
Blogs and discussion platforms allow students to express themselves as they see fit. Rather than having students write a full argumentative essay that answers the DBQ question, have them create blogs or post their thoughts on a discussion board or platform. Each blog or post can be unique, allowing for more authentic writing because they naturally foster a student's voice, style, and thoughts. Variations of this type of end product could include posting on Padlet or creating and posting a Flipgrid.
Debates and Scored Discussions
Debates provide opportunities to practice critical thinking, writing, listening and speaking. Try having students verbally share their opinion debate style using the documents and background in DBQ. Different debate strategies include four-corners debates, philosophical chairs, Socratic seminars, fishbowl and pinwheel discussions, Harkness tables, or one of our favorites, the Socratic Smackdown.
Story Boards and Comic Strips
Storyboards and comic strips are a great way for students to visually demonstrate their historical understanding of a DBQ. You can go with the traditional paper/colored pencil storyboard strips or use an online platform, such as StoryboardThat. Requirements for a DBQ storyboard might include an introduction and a conclusion frame, at least one frame for each bucket, visuals, and an explanation for each frame with evidence from the documents. An annotated timeline is another possibility here for a more chronological DBQ.
Unit-Specific End Products
While the above suggestions could be used with most DBQs and Mini-Qs, sometimes units lend themselves to more creative end products. For example, the "fall" of Rome mini-Q looks at the collapse, or death, of an empire. After analyzing the documents, have students complete an autopsy report on the Roman Empire. Historical report cards and "hall of fame" plaques are a fun way to evaluate individuals in history, such as Alexander the Great or Sam Houston. Students could create recruitment posters to stay at Valley Forge or travel posters touting the benefits of Constantinople or living in the Soviet Union. Scrapbooks or photo essays work great for the journaling DBQs. The possibilities and creativity are endless.
TED Talks, Podcasts, & Digital Presentations
For your more creative students, and time permitting, these types of alternative endings provide students with a way to demonstrate their learning, and arguments, in a 21st-century way. These are more complex and definitely take more time, so keep that in mind if students go this route. But, the visual and verbal production allows students to bring in their own voice, style, backgrounds, and personalities. A DBQ/Mini-Q also serves as the perfect jumping-off point for the different History Fair categories.
A choice board is a grid of different end products that allow students to choose a way to demonstrate their learning and make their argument about a DBQ.
To the right is an example of an elementary choice board. Imali created this for the "How Did the Buffalo Shape Arapaho Culture?" Mini-Q using a few of the alternative endings mentioned above.
Celebrating Black History Month
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
DBQ-U 101 Self-Paced Introductory Course
DBQ101 is a self-paced professional development course that familiarizes teachers with The DBQ Project Method and teaches them how to make the process engaging and powerful for students. It is designed to replicate our full-day introductory workshops. Participants will work through the steps of The DBQ Project Method at their own pace, pausing to reflect and practice along the way. Teachers will first experience a DBQ from the student perspective, learning what it is like to learn with a DBQ, before transitioning to the teacher perspective to learn how to build a unit and support their students. Two winter windows are open for registration at no cost to online subscribers. Each course window will remain open for one month to complete. Winter courses will launch on FEBRUARY 14, and MARCH 14. (If these windows don't work for you, we can also set up a course just for your district or school.)
*ECBOCES has some stipends available for completion of the self-paced course. Reach out to Megan Eikleberry at email@example.com if you have questions.