Introductions - WCSD Curriculum and Instruction

Democratizing the DBQ
A System-wide Approach to Historical Thinking
for Social Studies and CCSS
Presented by:
Angela Orr, Nicolette Smith, and Katie Anderson
Essential Question & Objectives
How can we help all students gain important
content knowledge through the analysis of primary
and secondary sources in document based
– Develop a shared understanding of the instructional
cycle of a DBQ
– Identify necessary scaffolds to support students in
accessing documents in a DBQ
– Evaluate the ways in which DBQs meet the goals of
DBQs & Instructional Shifts
Smarter Balanced Testing Claims
The Consortium is committed to using evidence-centered design (ECD) in
the development of an assessment system. As a part of this design,
Smarter Balanced established four “claims” regarding what students
should know and be able to do to demonstrate readiness for college and
career in the domain of ELA and literacy.
• Claim #1 – Students can read closely and analytically to a range of
increasingly complex literary and informational texts.
• Claim #2 – Students can produce effective and well-grounded writing
for a range of purposes and audiences.
• Claim #3 – Students can employ effective speaking and listening skills
for a range of purposes and audiences.
• Claim #4 – Students can engage in research/inquiry to investigate
topics, and to analyze, integrate, and present information.
• We are providing a “snapshot” experience
today. To properly implement a DBQ, you will
need at least two weeks of classroom time
where the teacher and students are fully
engaged in learning experiences.
• A DBQ is not:
– A packet for students to work on independently.
– Something to be done entirely for homework.
– A time filler.
Primary and Secondary Sources
What are primary sources?
• Original records from
the past recorded by
people who were:
– Involved in the event
– Witnessed the event, OR
– Knew the persons
involved in the event
• They can also be objects
(artifacts) or visual
• They give you an idea
about what people alive
at the time saw or
thought about the
Examples of Primary Sources
• Diaries / Letters / Journals
• Speeches / Interviews
• Audio and Video
• Photographs
• Original literary or
theatrical works
• Original advertisements
• Magazine and Newspaper
Articles (as long as they
are written soon after the
What are secondary sources?
• Secondary sources are made at a later time.
• They include written information by
historians or others AFTER an event has
taken place.
• Although they can be useful and reliable,
they cannot reflect what people who lived at
the time thought or felt about the event.
Examples of secondary sources:
• Textbooks,
biographies, charts,
histories, newspaper
report by someone
who was not present
What is a DBQ?
• Collection of primary and secondary sources
• Often highlighting multiple perspectives
• Used to answer an overarching historical
• Includes writing and discussion
Structure of the Binder
• Document Based Questions (11)
• Teacher Toolkit
• Overheads
The DBQ Project Method
Step 1: Engaging the students – The Hook
Step 2: Building Context – The Background Essay
Step 3: Clarifying the Questions – Defining Key Terms
Step 4: Understanding the Documents – Close Analysis
Step 5: Grouping the documents – Bucketing
Step 6: Writing an Informational or Argumentative Essay
Step 7: (optional) Discussion
Anatomy of Each DBQ
Enhanced Version & Clean Version
Teacher Pages and Student Pages
Overarching Question
Background Essay with Questions
Pre-bucketing* & Analysis of Question
Documents (4-7)
Writing (Outline & Writing Samples)
Weighing Costs & Benefits
• Every choice a person (or government or
organizations) results in both costs and benefits.
• Both costs and benefits can include:
The Issue
• In 1956, the U.S. Congress passed the National
Interstate and Defense Highways Act. The bill
created what we now call the Interstate Highway
System. (What? What the heck did people do before highways? Was
that back in dinosaur time? )
• The interstate system was build over a 35-year
period and cost hundreds of billions of dollars
(90% of which was federal money and a gas tax).
• Complete a cost-benefit analysis of this project.
Sorting Activity
Costs of the Project
Benefits of the Project
If you lived in 1956, would you have supported this
government project to build interstate highways?
Why is it important to look at major projects with a
cost-benefit analysis?
How can we use this idea to answer our DBQ
question: The Great Wall of China: Did the benefits
outweigh the costs?
Building Background
EQ: How can we help ALL students begin the DBQ with
basic background knowledge?
1. Beginning, middle, end of unit
2. Necessary vocabulary
3. Maps and/or timelines to orient students to time
and place
4. Textbook pages for basic background
5. Breaking down the question together
6. Teacher Pages for Docs (Read through some of
these to see if there is background information you
would provide to students in a lecture format.)
Background Essay
• Please read the background essay silently.
• Follow along as I read it aloud to you.
• Work with your group to answer the
Background Essay Questions.
Vocabulary Scan
• Look through the documents in this DBQ.
• Make a list of the terms you will need to teach
– Tier 2
– Tier 3
Modeling Document Analysis
Teaching Historical Thinking Skills
Demonstrating the struggle
Interrogating documents
Wondering/thinking aloud
Preparing students for small group analysis
Small Group Analysis
• Before answering questions:
– Source the document
– Talk about it (What do you notice? What sticks out
to you?)
• Work with group to answer questions.
• For each document, determine what evidence
supports costs? Which supports benefits?
• What potential roadblocks would students
have with this document?
What did we learn from
document analysis?
• What would you require students to do with
each document?
• How much class time would building
background and document analysis take?
• What roadblocks did you identify? How mights
we hurdle these?
Identify the analytical categories that develop your answer to the question. Insert
evidence from the documents into each category or bucket.
Great Wall of China Buckets
• What should we name our buckets?
– 2 or 3?
• Best way to take evidence from documents for
– Direct quotes, specificity, document letter,
Definitions for Writing Standard 1
• Argument - “Super Claim”: The overarching idea of an argumentative essay
that makes more than one claim.
– In some cases, an argument has a single claim, but in sophisticated writing
in the secondary grades (8-12 in standards), multiple claims are made.
• Claim: a statement that asserts a main point of an argument (a side)
• Reasoning: 2 parts – a) the “because” part of an argument and the
explanation for why a claim is made; b) the explicit links between the
evidence and the claim; the explanation for why a particular piece of evidence
is important to the claim and to the argument
• Evidence: support for the reasoning in an argument; the “for example” aspect
of an argument; the best evidence is text-based, reasonable, and reliable.
Adapted from UNC at Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences Writing Center
Reasoning Matters
• After you introduce evidence into your writing, you must
say why and how this evidence supports your argument.
What turns a fact or piece of information into evidence is
the connection it has with a larger claim or argument:
evidence is always evidence for or against something, and
you have to make that link clear with reasoning.
• We should not assume that our readers already know what
we are talking about. The audience can’t read our minds:
although they may be familiar with many of the ideas we
are discussing, they don’t know what we are trying to do
with those ideas unless we indicate it through reasoning.
Questions to Develop Reasoning
• O.k., I’ve just stated this point, but so what? Why is it interesting?
Why should anyone care about this evidence?
• What does this information imply?
• What are the consequences of thinking this way or looking at a
problem this way? (for evidence of a counterclaim)
• I’ve just described what something is like or how I see it, but why is
it like that?
• I’ve just said that something happens-so how does it happen? How
does it come to be the way it is?
• Why is this information important? Why does it matter?
• How is this idea related to my claim? What connections exist
between them? Does it support my claim? If so, how does it do that?
• Can I give an example to illustrate this point?
Adapted from Indiana University Writing Center
Reasoning Matters (Example)
Weak use of evidence
Stronger use of reasoned evidence
Today, we are too self-centered.
Most families no longer sit down to
eat together, preferring instead to
eat on the go while rushing to the
next appointment (Gleick 148).
Everything is about what we want.
Today, Americans are too self-centered.
Even our families don't matter as much
anymore as they once did. Other
people and activities take precedence.
In fact, the evidence shows that most
American families no longer eat
together, preferring instead to eat on
the go while rushing to the next
appointment (Gleick 148). Sit-down
meals are a time to share and connect
with others; however, that connection
has become less valued, as families
begin to prize individual activities over
shared time, promoting selfcenteredness over group identity.
Why is this a weak
use of evidence?
Discuss with the
people next to you.
• For each piece of evidence you “bucket,” make
sure you clearly state your reasoning.
• Over-Arching Argument: The benefits of building the
Great Wall of China outweighed the costs.
• Claim 1: The Great Wall of China was of extreme benefit
to the Chinese people living in the border areas.
– Evidence: People living in border areas lived in walled cities
“well protected by high walls, deep moats, catapults, and
thorns” (Doc. B).
– Reasoning: Without walled cities, the Chinese people might
have been easily attacked by barbarians like the Xiongnu.
“In a persuasive essay, you can select the
most favorable evidence, appeal to
emotions, and use style to persuade your
readers. Your single purpose is to be
convincing”… Argument, on the other
hand, is mainly about logical appeals and
involves claims, evidence, warrants,
backing, and rebuttals…”
From: Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks
Questions to Ask About Writing
• How much?
– Always a full essay?
– Paragraph?
– Outline?
• For what purpose?
– Culminating assessment of understanding?
– Preparation for a discussion?
– Formative assessment of writing? Of gathering
Chicken Foot Writing Outline
• Introduction
– Basic background
– Argument with 2 primary claims
• Claim Paragraph 1
– Restate claim
– 2 pieces of evidence with reasoning linking to the claim
• Claim Paragraph 2
– Restate claim
– 2 pieces of evidence with reasoning linking to the claim
• Conclusion
– Although statement/counterclaim (note a piece of
evidence from other side), then restate your argument.
– Wrap it all up.
Elements of a Proficient DBQ Essay
Background (time, place, story)
Restatement of the Questions
Definition of Key Terms
Super Claim and Roadmap
• Claim
• Evidence with Citation
• Reasoning Linking Evidence to the Claim
• Restatement of Super Claim
• “Although” Statement (acknowledgement of
• Main Evidence & Reasoning that Trumps “Although”
• Explanation of why the question is important
DBQ Writing Rubric to Modify
Writing Samples
• Use it to model
• Have students assess the sample items
• Adding/modifying evidence and reasoning to
DBQs for Discussion
• Consider using DBQs as a jumping off point for
great discuss strategies:
– Structured Academic Controversy
– Socratic Seminar
• Accountable Talk
• How do DBQs help students build a coherent
body of knowledge on a subject?
• How do DBQs help us to slow down and go
• How do DBQs help us to shift instruction?
• How do DBQs promote historical thinking?
• How are we going to implement DBQs into our
own classrooms?
Related Resource
• Basil Alignment Project: The Great Wall
– Describes the construction of the Great Wall
– Includes text-dependent questions
– Includes vocabulary ideas
– Includes a writing prompt (based on textual
• These two resources together could allow
students to use the Great Wall of China as a
case study in Chinese culture.
Professional learning for
6th grade teachers
6th grade Social Studies:
A Primer
6-12 Research Based
Discussion Methods
Fall Class: 9/16, 10/21,
11/18, 12/10
Spring Class: 1/20,
2/17, 3/17, 4/14
Tuesday 2/4
Tuesday 3/4
Mondays 1/27, 2/24,
3/24, 4/28
Fall (30 max)
Matley Sierra &
Spring (30 max)
Matley Sierra
(35 max)
Tuesday 10/8
6-12 Argumentative
Writing for Social Studies
Tuesday 3/11
Matley Sierra
(35 max)
6-12 Engaging and
Effective Academic
Vocabulary Instruction
Matley Sierra
(30 max)
Saturday 5/3
Please contact us with any questions:
Angela: [email protected]
[email protected]
Nicolette: [email protected]

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