This is the final activity in our DBQ design project. It began with exploring historic thinking skills and ends with students designing their own DBQs for inclusion in a class published iBook.
During the last few classes we have had 45 min sessions in the Mac lab (only a few students have their own Macs with iBooks Author). Students have arrived with their prewritten text, source material, images and YouTube video links. They used a total of about 2 hours of lab time to complete rough drafts their chapters. They shared their chapter files with me and following class, I compiled their chapters into a single iBook. Link to a PDF version 27MB pdf.
I’ve arranged to have the iBooks draft file loaded on to iPads for the students to use. In Class 14 we will proof and peer review our chapters and take one last trip to the Mac lab to use iBooks Author to do a final version. After the final edits, I’ll upload to iTunes. Net result – a student publication in just a few hours of lab time (with all research and writing done in advance)
Update Exploring History: Vol II is now available free at iTunes
After spending a few weeks exploring the different avenues available to me for my DBQ, I am finally on a focused track to the finish. After switching my topic from the more obscure food history topic to the much more document rich Marshall Plan, my issue was not where to find documents, but just the opposite.
There were so many great documents, I found myself following lead after lead on possible directions to take the assignment. While I learned a tremendous amount about the Marshall Plan, the state of Europe after WWII, and the different opinions throughout U.S. and Europe about the plan, I didn’t feel like I was getting any closer to completing the assignment. But I was finding photos, documents, and getting more information. Through this research I was able to narrow my focus and choose an angle on which to focus: the differing views on the Marshall Plan from Europe, Russia, and at home in the U.S.. My next challenge was to step away from the history and just look at the documents. What was I trying to say? What were the documents telling me? I finally focused on assembling documents that could tell a story. Once I had a clear narrative of what I wanted the students to see, the guiding questions practically wrote themselves.
Next up for me is to add the last few pages into iBook Author and begin to fine tune the look and feel. I will have my classmates review the work to ensure the documents and questions create a clear narrative that will guide the students to address the enduring questions of the unit.
This assignment has been exciting for me on two main levels. First learning how to write this type of assignment for my students will be something I will continue to work on throughout my career. I am a big believer in having students think like historians. The other facet is just how much I enjoyed researching the history surrounding the Marshall Plan. Reading all the documents and seeing all the photos was like a DBQ itself. I will continue to practice, learn, and hopefully inspire my students to do the same.
This week we will wrap up our first drafts of our DBQs for inclusion into our collaborative iBook. During the first 2/3s of class students will finalize their content and be sure to have their DBQ reflection written. Then in the last 1/3 of class we will transfer content to iBooks.
The iBooks will be designed using iBooks Author in the Mac lab. Students will bring digital versions of their DBQs to the lab – including all image and sound files, text files, citations and URLs. Here’s a quick guide to managing your files to get ready for iBooks Author: Get Started with IBA
I’ve created a YouTube channel with some short tutorials that students may wish to refer to. See iBooks Author Tips
Image credit: Image from page 94 of “History of the Bassandyne Bible, the first printed in Scotland with notices of the early printers of Edinburgh” (1887) William T Dobson,
Students introduced to the Choices Program. The program’s curriculum units draw upon multiple primary source documents and culminate in a rigorous student-centered role-playing activity. Students will take part in a Choices lesson entitled Human Rights: Competing Visions of Human Rights – Questions for U.S. Policy. Working cooperatively, students will examine the evolving role that human rights has played in international politics and explore the current debate on U.S. human rights policy.
The goal of this class is to experience the role-play as teaching method. Students will be introduced to (and receive) a hands-on curriculum that uses primary sources, case studies, videos, and role-play simulations to engage students in an exploration of the concept of human rights and the challenges of international enforcement. The curriculum also introduces students to various human rights actors, and examines the current debate on U.S. human rights policy. Emphasis is placed on helping students develop the skills and habits needed for active citizenship.
The lesson was delivered by guest teacher – Tim Graham. Tim is currently a teacher at Cleveland High School in Portland, OR. He has taught social studies for 11 years in the Portland Public Schools district, working at Roosevelt, Benson, and Franklin high schools in addition to his current placement at Cleveland. He has attended teaching seminars with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. He is currently a Choices Teaching Fellow. Tim maintains two class blogs – Modern World History and IB HOTA.
Assignment due Nov 23
Write a reflection on your experience with the DBQ design assignment.
- It should be posted on this blog by Sunday 11/23.
- Include an image to make it pretty.
- Note that you are not posting your DBQ, but what you learned from your work on it.
What did you learn from the experience of trying to design a DBQ?
Here’s some prompts you might consider (but you don’t have to answer them all):
- what was your goal? was it achieved why or why not?
- how it might be used in class?
- value (or lack of value) as a learning experience.
- challenges, successes, lessons learned.
- how you’d approach it differently the next time.
- ways to improve or replace the assignment.
Image credit: Flickr / “human rights day” by Catching.Light