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Feedback set for short-answer writing on a historical topic.
Rubric for short-answer writing on a historical topic.
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Writing is often viewed as a summative evaluation of student learning. However, having students practice the skills of constructing a written response is a powerful process that can support historical thinking. We know that students need to be able to defend positions on historical topics and analyze primary sources, as both skills fit squarely in the domains of the C3 Framework and the US literacy standards for history and social studies. But where do you begin?
As a Social Studies teacher, your focus should be on the content of your domain, not on teaching students how to write. There is a balance, though, in teaching students how to respond to Document-Based Questions (DBQs) while keeping the focus on social studies learning.
Consider the following strategies before, during, and after students write responses to a DBQ in order to strengthen their historical analysis skills:
The more opportunities students (and teachers!) have to practice these skills in isolation, the less daunting it will be to perform them as part of a high-stakes DBQ assessment. Implementing activities such as these in small increments will provide a safe environment for students to hone their DBQ skills while exercising their knowledge of Social Studies content. By synthesizing these elements, you’ll set them on the path to thinking like historians.
For more ideas on how to incorporate DBQ skills into the Social Studies classroom, check out 10 Activities to Practice DBQs and Historical Analysis Writing.