I have a large number of AP students this year (36).  I am thinking of breaking them into groups of 3 at least for a while and allowing them to collaborate on the first DBQs via Google Docs.  I usually start with the DBQ on comparing Chesapeake and New England colonies (From the Doing the DBQ book from the College Board).  Has anyone tried anything like this?  Pros?  Cons?  Partly I am driven by survival mode. 12 DBQs to evaluate makes more sense than 36.  Partly, I want to encourage more collaboration in light of everything I'm learning about web 2.0 and learning in the 21st century.

 

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I think collaboration on analyzing the documents would be great.  They could work together to come up with the key ideas/concepts/etc. for each document (maybe a group APPARTS for each doc).  They could also work on coming up with a list of outside information together.  For the first couple of DBQs, I would probably even have them collaborate on coming up with the thesis statement.  However, I still think (and I feel your pain on this) I would have each student write their own DBQ and submit it.  They need the practice of writing, and they can only improve on this by doing it themselves.

In the beginning of the year, I sometimes break the class into teams to "compete" on a DBQ to prove how each doc can be used in different ways.  I have students prep the documents in teams for how each doc answers the thesis question and background info and then we round robin through the DBQ and the team that has the most (correct/ accurate) interpretations of the documents wins.  I haven't had students write the DBQ we compete over, but it sets the tone of using docs in various ways and makes interpreting the docs more of a puzzle or game than a chore when students start interpreting/ writing on their own.  Also, since some of my students come from pre - AP and others from academic level history, it is a good way to have those who already know about DBQ's informally work with the newbies

 

Thanks!  Sounds like a great way to begin some collaboration on DBQ.
I have been wondering about how to work this out too with almost 78 APUSH students in two classes it's going to be impossible to read that many DBQs..has anyone else ever had students grade each other's DBQs and just review them for inconsistencies? I know that my kids liked grading each other's because they said it helped them understand what different scores looked like.
I have done that Jamie.  I have taken the students through some sample DBQ student responses available from the College Board's website so that they kind of understand the difference between various scores.  Then, I've had them grade each others.  I still look at them as well.
I have them grade each others sometimes too.  Not sure if you would want to do this or not, but I had them submit their DBQs on GDocs and then they could comment right on the DBQ.  Again, I did this after we had done a few together, and after they had written a few on their own.  I feel they need to get my feedback on what needs to be done before they can really offer constructive comments for each other.
That was my plan as well.  We usually do the first DBQ (Cheapeake-New England) together and then they have a better idea of what is expected.

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