What Do Social Studies Specialists and Directors Have To Say?
What I like about the DBQ project is that it takes this process of historical inquiry and analysis and breaks it down into six manageable steps that you can walk your students through. I have seen teachers become more confident in teaching the writing process because of these steps.
Teachers at North East ISD spend time explicitly using scaffolds during document analysis. They think out loud, and model marking the text before students are asked to analyze on their own. As a district, we meet several times a year and use protocols to analyze student writing samples. We monitor to make sure that our students are learning the process from sixth grade through 11th grade.--Millicent Reynolds, Director of Social Studies Education North East ISD (San Antonio)
We are very excited about the teachers having lessons that actually engage the students! Through the use of primary sources, we are hopeful that our students will learn to think about history and recognize the importance of this content. The "sit" and "get" approach has not worked in the past and has caused many children to hate history. --Pat Brasfield Middle Grades Literacy Coach, Savannah Chatham Professional Learning Dept.
"The DBQ training and materials are the best professional development for helping history teachers teach students to read, write, and think critically about historical questions. Our TAH teachers are "on fire" and now they have spread the word to their world history colleagues. It is great to see whole departments get behind this effort. As Common Core Standards begin to be implemented the DBQ will be a great foundational piece. Thank you to The DBQ Project for a relevant and needed program for history teachers."--Connie DeCapite, Director, FIRST, Fullerton Int. Resources for Schools and Teachers
"Our teachers love The DBQ Project! They leave the workshop energized and well-equipped to incorporate primary sources in their lesson plan immediately. The DBQ Project is an excellent workshop for World and U.S. History teachers on all levels." --Kim Weston, K-12 Social Studies Coordinator, Dekalb County, GA.
The Teacher Workshops are excellent, especially the follow-up workshop bringing in student work and having discussions centered around what our students produced. The primary source documents are excellent--a very good selection and it is easy to adjust and tweak the resources to fit the needs of our students.
Citing evidence is challenging for many students, so as part of the DBQ lesson, one of our teachers used the sample essay and had her students highlight/underline the evidence in the essay that answered the question.
Another one of our special education teachers was able to create her own graphic organizers and the "chicken foot" so her students could analyze the primary sources, create a thesis statement and eventually write paragraphs to answer the question!
Excellent for the Common Core!--Nancy Witt, Curriculum Coach, Teacher Specialist,
Glendale Unified School District, California
"The DBQ Project is one of the best professional development presentations in the country. DBQs are an excellent way to incorporate historical thinking with reading and writing, at all levels. Our teachers from elementary to high school use DBQs to reinforce their instruction. The DBQ Project workshop is down to earth, practical, and entertaining. It is a can't miss concept." --David Hazlett, Fountain Fort Carson TAH Grant Coordinator, CO
"Before now, the benefits of the Document Based Questions have been almost exclusively limited to the AP classroom. But, with The DBQ Project materials and training, all of our students are starting to benefit. Plus, with the focus on how Social Studies teachers can contribute to the Common Core and the emphasis on non-fiction informational texts, this is a great fit. We are only in the beginning stages of implementation, but I already like what I am seeing in classrooms. "--Stacy Moore, Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, Union County, NC
The DBQ project is clearly aligned with best practice. The materials support teachers in implementing the Common Core as well as engage students in interesting social studies content. The trainings provide teachers with strategies that are relevant when implementing a single DBQ project, but there are many best practice strategies that also can be used independent of the project.--Scotland Nash, Seattle Public School Instructional Specialist
"Of all the events we sponsored with our grant, nothing was as well received as The DBQ Project workshop. We had people from elementary, middle and high school participate and the enthusiasm was contagious. Teachers repeatedly said to me that the materials were the finest they had encountered and they couldn't wait to implement them in their instruction. – Chris Evans, Teaching American History Grant Project Team, Santa Clara County, Ca.
The DBQ Project engages and challenges students of all ability levels. We have been able to successfully use these materials with students in grades as low as fourth. Students like the openness of many of the dbq questions because it allows them to form their own opinions without a definite right or wrong answers. As an educator I can appreciate these opniions while still requiring students to support it with the documents.
As a curriculum coordinator I have seen many teachers implement dbqs in their classrooms. The process outlined by the DBQ Project provides step by step instructions to attain high quality results. One of the most valuable steps I have witnessed is the "thrash out". This acts a pre-writing activity and allows students to formalize their thoughts and gain more insight as they enter into the writing process.
--Mark Quinlivan, SS Coordinator, Laramie County District #1, Wyoming.
I appreciate that authentic literacy is woven throughout the entire instructional process when using DBQs. DBQs provide teachers with a wealth of primary and secondary sources, which is what Common Core Literacy Standards require teachers to use. The DBQ project has done the "searching and finding" of quality resources, which is the most time-consuming task for teachers. I appreciate how The DBQ Project has made this process accessible to all students with scaffolding available as needed for teacher use- no longer a "gem" just for AP students! This holds much promise for our district. --Lisa Ammons High School Literacy Coach, Savannah Chatham County Public Schools
"The DBQ presentation was a wonderful combination of pedagogy and methodology. All of the teacher participants indicated they were thrilled with the primary documents and demonstration on their use regardless of the grade level taught. The primary documents and the lesson plans available in the DBQ curriculum are useful in the regular classroom as well as the AP classroom and from third grade to high school." – Nadana Maddox, Osage County Interlocal Cooperative, OKTAH Grant Director
What Do Teachers
Who Recently Attended Our Workshops Say?
They work! I've used both the regular DBQ's and the Mini-Q's in both World History (regular and honors 9th grade) and AP US History. They fit in well with my APUSH curriculum, but the real test came last year with my 9th grade World History class: the DBQ's were the only way I could engage my class in writing. They felt empowered, they had fun, and they learned how to write using evidence and analysis.--Pam Hering, Teacher, Ballard High School, Seattle Public Schools
The DBQ project brings extra enthusiasm into the classroom. Students get so excited to read each document provided and use evidence from the document to argue their answer to the questions. Thrash-outs/debates have become more interesting and persuasive essays are more thorough. --Amber Obert, Kuna Middle School, Kuna, Idaho
"You did a training about 2 weeks ago that I attended. OH MY! I love DBQ's! I have to say that I seriously had the best day teaching ever! The kids were totally engaged and on task. Even the kids who "check out" were spot on. If anyone ever questions 5th graders being able to do this (with scaffolding), they are wrong! I want to copy and paste this day! I am so inspired!"
--Kim Voge, Teacher, Yorba Linda, CA
The Mini-Qs for World History are perfect for developing CCSS primary source reading skills and I really appreciate how well they fit into my curriculum as seminar discussions as well as essays.
My students became very comfortable with primary documents after using the mini-q structure over the course of a semester and I was able to give them larger readings that they may not have had the ability to do previously.--Alicia Hale, Seattle Public Schools
"What invaluably useful information for making higher level reading content available and digestible to lower level reading students. This will be used throughout the year for developing reading and analytical thinking for my regular world kids." – Teacher, Dr. Phillips High School
What don't I love about the DBQ Project?
1. Best, easiest to implement professional development with FUN, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, passionate facilitators.
2. GOOD for ALL students!
3. It helps me meet the requirements of Common Core/State Standards without compromising my desire to teach critical thinking for LIFE.
4. Good history pedagogy!
--Mel Johnson, Coronado High School, Colorado Springs, District 11
I had 2 previous students visit today. They asked if I still did "DBQs". When I said yes, they said they were the best thing we did in class. They helped them in High School more than anything else. One of the students said that if they had not done DBQs he never would have been able to do the writing he was assigned. Way to go DBQ Project!!!--Jill Breslin, Elementary and Middle School Teacher, Shasta Union Elementary, CA
"Far exceeded our expectations; one of most valuable learning tools; practical workshop – the expertise of coordinators and rich experiences excited and motivated the attending teachers – this is a must for all learning levels in the classroom – enrichment far beyond the high school experience – we must have a DBQ follow-up." – Teacher, West Orange High School
"This workshop was incredibly valuable – it will be very helpful in meeting the literacy goals of the district and FCAT. It’s great for reading strategies in terms of scaffolding and improving literacy." – Teacher, Cypress Creek High School
"This was an activity that was at the highest levels of historical scholarship and pedagogy. The information will be quite helpful in raising the intellectual levels, critical thinking, and writing skills of our students."
– Teacher, Freedom High School
"The resources provided were sorely needed in order to foster continued historical thinking and writing growth in both regular and advanced Social Studies students. The hands-on collaborative approach allowed us to share insight and application possibilities within our classes. The growth and improvement in my students’ writing style, skills and abilities is an anticipation I am eager to experience based on content and resources from this workshop." – Teacher, University High School
"So much emphasis is placed on critical thinking. This workshop was absolutely vital in training teachers to challenge social studies students of all levels to analyze documents and write a persuasive, factually-based essay." – Teacher, Ocoee High School
"Phil and Chip created an environment in which we as teachers were able to challenge pre-recovered notions on student learning and learn strategies to challenge students. The big drive will be for us to improve student writing. This workshop provided me with excellent skills to reach both struggling and gifted students. This in-service was dynamite! The best I’ve ever been to! Really! – Teacher, Winter Park High School
"Most valuable workshop I’ve attended in years. The training breaks down the anatomy of a DBQ. Helps make using DBQ’s in 'regular classes' possible. Good stuff – especially now that many high schools are offering open enrollment in AP classes." – Teacher, Edgewater High School
"I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, both because of the skill and knowledge of the presenters and the time spent collaborating with colleagues. The overall content of The DBQ Project inspired me to reevaluate how I differentiate my instruction. Overall, I am very pleased with the materials, and even more pleased with the inspirational ideas, approaches, and attitudes that Chip and Phil shared." – Teacher, St. Mary's School, Medford, Oregon
"I just wanted to provide feedback regarding the value of the DBQ resource purchased by MPS (Mesa Public Schools) for us to use. In preparing my students for the writing portion of the AZMerit, it was evident they were putting to use the strategies taught by DBQ throughout the year. It started out pretty ugly at the beginning of the year owing to the complexity of the documents and the requirements of the writing assignments but we stuck with it and their writing samples this semester have improved exponentially. I am quietly confident my students will pass this portion of AZ Merit despite they are from extremely low socio-economic backgrounds, single parent homes, etc.
I just want to add that my students LOVE DBQ as much as I do. They are mad if we don't do it on any given day. It's one of the most frequently asked questions I get each morning while lining up: "Are we doing DBQ today?" When we finish up a mini unit, they want to know what is next. I had the same students last year (yes, 6th grade will mark 3 years with the same group) and writing was met with groans and eye rolls. Not now! They have risen to the challenge of the increased complexity and try to out do their last writing assignment score. Not a bad effort!
I can't thank the creators of this program more. Whoever was responsible for getting DBQ for MPS, I want to thank them profusely. We love it!" – Rhonda Collins
Lehi Elementary, Mesa Public Schools, Arizonan