DBQ Design Assignment

zut pour les zepplins

Working as individuals or in 2 person teams, students will design a DBQ question suitable for inclusion of our DBQ iBook (available at iTunes).
See Class 4 for recommendations for DBQs and Teaching with Documents.

I’ve posted some recommendations for best websites for finding primary documents.
American History  | World History

This extended assignment meets two of our course requirements as noted in the syllabus (146 KB pdf)
#1: Resources Assignment
#5: iBook showcase

The DBQ Design Assignment will be accomplished in 3 phases:

Step 1: Develop a proposal which will be submitted for peer review.
You should be prepared to deliver a 2 min pitch to class. (not a written assignment to be turned in)

Due date:  9/23.

Then we did a bit of “speed dating” of our ideas for the DBQ Assignment. Students formed two lines and had 2 minutes to pitch their DBQ design idea to each other and share some feedback. Then one line shifted and we repeated the pitch exchange. In all students pitched their idea three times.

The goal of this phase is to gather feedback from peers regarding the following:

  1. You have an interesting generative / essential question worth answering.
  2. Your initial appraisal indicates there are suitable documents available. (Documents could be multimedia).
  3. You have an idea for how students will use your DBQ to build Common Core skills. “What does it say, how does it say it, what’s it mean to me?”

Step 2: Following class feedback on 9/23. Student should send a brief description (via email) of their proposed DBQ to the instructor by Sat 9/28. He will give you feedback when we meet on 9/30 at the Nikkei Center.

Step 3: Students will share their revised idea as a blog post here at EdMethods by Sat Oct 5th. It should explain how you intend to address the 3 questions above. Students are expected to review and comment on at least two of their peers ideas by Sat Oct 12th.  

Step 4: Students will open an account at Learnist and use the site to post their DBQ. 
Due date: Oct 26

Learnist is a web-based curation site with built in social media tools – it can collect and comment on videos, blogs, books, docs, images or anything on the web.

Your Learnist board should be tightly focused on documents that help students answer the DBQ’s generative question. Each document should include one or two scaffolding questions which help the student to use the documents to answer the DBQ’s generative question.
For a sample of a Learnist board see your instructor’s Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII 

Your peers will be able to make comments after each document on your Learnist board to help you focus the DBQ. Since Learnist is open to the public, you can expect that others outside our class may comment as well.

Phase 3: Students will finalize their DBQs for inclusion in our iBook showcase.
Details here.

Image Credit “Damn the Zeppelins”
George Eastman House Collection
Accession Number: 1973:0126:0026
Maker: L’AT D’ART PHOT.-Bois-Colombes
Date: ca. 1915
Medium: gelatin silver print, hand applied color
Dimensions: Overall: 8.7 x 13.6 cm

Lesson Study Reflection: Share Out of Ideas!


Today in Ed Methods, we went over our Lesson Study assignment. Each person wrote their own plan on a topic they hope to teach in the future. We paired up based on similar topics, which was nice because we could see similarities and differences in our plans right away. Then we did a share out to the class so everyone could hear everyone’s ideas. It was a discussion-filled class for sure that did not need much prompting from the professor, which to me is a good sign (it means we are thinking!).

I really enjoyed that the lesson plans were all varied, ranging from world history to specific congressional roles in the U.S. It was interesting to see how much people varied their writing style. Some were super detailed on a specific lesson for one day, while others did a broad scope on a unit. What I did notice that almost everyone’s lesson dealt with the (sometimes-daunting) Work Sample. I think it is okay that everyone zoned in on that, it shows that we are excited and wanting to prepare for it.

The discussion of the lesson plans was almost more beneficial than the writing of the plans actually. It was quite funny because while I was writing my plan, I kept thinking how I wished someone was near me so I could bounce ideas off of them. Then I get to class and I have eleven colleagues throwing ideas and suggestions at me! It was great!

At times, the sharing felt like a long process though. It was hard at certain times to see how someone else’s lesson related to mine. I also noticed that people struggled to give concise summaries of their plans (I included!). I think it is because we are all educators at heart and educators just seem to be a bit more longwinded. We want to make sure everyone is clear on what we are saying which means a detailed explanation, of course. Other than the summaries though, I think we had a great higher-level discussion. It is so beneficial to talk with our peers because we understand both theory and classroom reality, and can therefore give more detailed feedback. The feedback was not simply “that sounds like a fun activity.” Instead, the feedback went deeper by discussing how students will probably respond and potential speed bumps that could occur.

This assignment allowed me to gain some good ideas from my peers on activities to try in my future career. I especially like it when people share their simulation ideas because I am big on simulations in classrooms. To me, lectures and simulations are a great way to solidify knowledge.

Before class was even out, I found myself contemplating how I could do the assignment differently next time. I know I want to be more specific next time, picking a specific lesson instead of an overarching unit. Discussing the unit was helpful because it gave me a direction to head in, but now I am ready to figure out the specifics and start to lay down actual plans to carry out. I also want to be more mindful of including formative assessments because I noticed many of our lessons did not include much of either kind of assessments (formative & summative). Sometimes assessments (especially formative) are the hardest to create because it is difficult to boil down a whole lesson into a specific (and usually brief) summation/quiz. I know they are just check-ups on student learning but I still struggle to find specific things to gauge their processing of the new information.

Overall, I am feeling more ready for lesson planning in the future!

Photo cred: StefCooke on http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-write-a-lesson-plan/