The dbq
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“The DBQ”. (Document Based Question). Where to Start……. Read the Question Try to answer the question in your head before you even look at the documents Re-Read the prompt and keep it in your mind Skim the documents Make notes on the documents.

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“The DBQ”

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The dbq

“The DBQ”

(Document Based Question)


Where to start

Where to Start……

  • Read the Question

  • Try to answer the question in your head before you even look at the documents

  • Re-Read the prompt and keep it in your mind

  • Skim the documents

  • Make notes on the documents


The dbq

  • The first and biggest mistake that many students make is in reading and answering only part of the prompt.

    • How successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved.


The dbq

How successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved.

What EXACTLY does it mean to ….

analyze

evaluate

assess the validity of

compare/contrast……?


Verbs in prompts

“VERBS in Prompts”

  • Go back and look carefully at the VERB in the prompt. This word will tell you what you are expected to do. The following is a list of commonly used verbs and explanations for the tasks they indicate.


Analyze

“ANALYZE”

  • Explain how AND why something occurred. Any question that uses “how” and/or “why” is an analysis question even if the word “analyze” is not in the prompt.


Assess the validity of

“ASSESS the Validity of..”

  • How true is the statement?

  • The statement doesn’t have to be all true (it could be true in one instance or circumstance and false in another!)

    • !!!…get this explained and you will certainly reflect the complexity of the prompt!


Evaluate

“EVALUATE”

  • You will need to rank several events or factors then decide which is most and which is least significant.

  • See the word “value” in evaluate…you will have to make a judgment here and defend your answer


To what extent

“To What Extent”

  • This prompt frequently requires you to specify a cause and effect relationship and then..

  • State and explain which causes were more important.


Compare and contrast

“Compare and Contrast”

  • To do this correctly you need to discuss BOTH similarities AND differences between two events or periods. It is important to both in a balanced way without shortchanging either.


Discuss or consider

“Discuss or Consider”

  • These are frequently used in free response prompts but MAY appear in a DBQ

  • They should be written as analysis essays.


Basic definitions

“……basic definitions”

  • Define any terms in the prompt that you will need to explain.

    • EX: a recent essay prompt asked students to assess the validity of this statement:

      • “Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals.”

        (Jot down some “democratic ideals” and be prepared to explain how they are democratic. Failing to do this will lower your score!)


Readers know their history

Readers Know their History

  • Don’t review history, critique it.

  • Don’t grocery list documents and explain what they mean, use them together and/or separately to support your response.

  • You do not have to use EACH one, just MOST.


How to analyze documents

How to Analyze Documents

  • You will see a sample list of documents you MAY see on the AP TEST.

  • The principles of how to analyze documents apply to ANY document they may give you.


Do you know what you are going to do

“Do you know what you are going to do?”

  • Know your task (analyze, evaluate, etc.)

  • Be sure you understand the complexity you must reflect..

  • Skim the documents for an overview

  • Read them carefully and make notes


The dbq

  • Read the prompt AGAIN

  • READ the documents with your tentative thesis in mind….(it might change...be flexible with yourself!)

  • Make notes of your first impressions, where you may use each DOC, how you can group them, etc.


Documents you may see

“Documents You May See”

Visuals

  • Pictures and photographs

  • Cartoons

  • Posters

  • Diagrams and/or flow charts

  • Maps

  • Charts

  • Graphs


Documents you may see1

“Documents You May See”

Printed Materials

  • Newspaper

  • Magazine or pamphlet

  • Book

  • Poem


Documents you may see2

“Documents You May See”

Personal Documents

  • Speech

  • Letter

  • Diary


Documents you may see3

“Documents You May See”

Political Info

  • Party Platform

  • List of groups supporting legislation


Documents you may see4

“Documents You May See”

Public Records

  • Laws, proclamations, executive orders

  • Court decisions

  • Legislative Debate, Congressional Record, speech in Congress, testimony before a congressional committee

  • Government agency report

  • Others


Your full essay response

Your “Full Essay” Response

  • Follow standard writing rules (Thesis, topic sentences, evidence, etc.)

  • Cite the documents but do not waste time paraphrasing them

  • Readers are divided in reporting which they prefer: citing doc within the writing or parenthetically.....for this class, we will use (Doc. A) until you get comfortable incorporating the documents into your writing.


Back to the basics

Back to the Basics ….

  • It all comes down to

    • Your knowledge of American History

    • Your ability to recall ACCURATE facts from American History

    • Your ability to write a decent essay (and for DBQ, to incorporate the documents into that amazing essay)


Thesis

Thesis

  • A single, declaratory sentence …

  • That “answers” the prompt …

  • With a clearly and simply stated…

  • ..hopefully original opinion!

  • A good thesis never restates the prompt.

    • The thesis is the single most important sentence in your essay. Make it count.


The dbq

  • After reading the whole prompt, marking the verbs and conjunctions, and sketching out how you intend to proceed. . .

  • Answer the prompt in a simple sentence.

    • For instance, consider this DBQ prompt:

    • How successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved


The dbq

  • What do you think about this prompt?

  • Was the time period 1875 to 1900 a period of labor success?

  • Or was it a time of extreme hardship and struggle for organized labor?

  • YOUR OPINION IS ESSENTIAL!

  • And your opinion must be clear.

  • So. . .


  • The dbq

    • Let’s say that you think this time period was not a period of labor success.

      • Write a simple statement that answers the prompt with your opinion. Like this. . .

      • “The last 30 years of the 1800s nearly destroyed organized labor. “

      • Or. . .

      • “These years were a period of extreme struggle for organized labor.”


    The dbq

    • It’s extremely important to get your thinking clearly into a simple “answer” to the prompt.

      • Do NOT restate the wording of the prompt.

      • Rather than saying “the time period 1875 to 1900,” say “the last decades of the 19th century” or “the three decades following the Civil War.”

      • Rather than saying “organized labor,” refer to “labor unions.”


    The dbq

    • Now that you know your opinion, you need to write a sentence that is both complex and specific.

    • One way of doing this is to begin your thesis sentence with the word “although.”

    • This may seem odd, but recent AP grading rubrics award high scores only to essays that “address the complexity of the question.”


    The dbq

    • One of the easiest ways of doing this is to write a sentence that looks like this:

      • “Although the last decades of the 19th century were periods of intense labor organization, they nearly destroyed the labor unions.”

        • Or. . .

    • “Although the post-Civil War period saw increased labor organization, it was also a time of government persecution of labor unions.”


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    • Writing this kind of thesis sentence sets you up from the very beginning to :

      • acknowledge the “complexity” in the essay prompt

      • Your opinion / your “answer” to the prompt, goes in the second half of the thesis sentence


    The dbq

    • APUSH essays may have an introduction “paragraph” that is 2-3 sentences (this is OK)

    • The thesis sentence should be the last sentence in your introduction “paragraph”

    • Take a step back from your thesis and write a few general sentences that could introduce the thesis (you may want to save this step for later)


    The dbq

    • The general topic of this prompt is organized labor.

      • Using one of the earlier thesis sentences, the introduction might look like this:

      • Labor unions had existed in America since the early days of industrialization and had grown in number prior to the Civil War. Although the post-Civil War period saw increased labor organization, it was also a time of government persecution of labor unions.


    Good writing requires practice

    Good Writing Requires Practice

    • Essay worksheets may be useful in the beginning

    • Competition can be fun

    • Critical Analysis can be fun if you don’t take criticism personally!


    Review your writing

    Review YOUR writing

    • Review your old “essay” practice

    • Be critical of yourself FIRST

    • Take a deep breath and review what your peers had to say about your writing

    • Do you think they fairly critiqued your effort?


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