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Dbq 19 what then is the american

April 27,8: The rubric for the DBQ was previously a more holistic essay that combined a strong thesis, and use of documents and outside information to support the argument. This has been transformed into a much more structured and formulaic skills-based rubric. The change has led to a healthy debate about the pros and cons of both types of essays, but in general the core of the essay has remained the same: If students continue to apply these basic writing skills, they are likely to earn 3 or 4 out of the seven total points for the Document Based Question.

In this post, we will explore one of these points students will be looking to earn to help their chances at passing the APUSH exam this May: According to the College Board, contextualization refers to a: Historical thinking skill that involves the ability to connect historical events and processes to specific circumstances of time and place as well as broader regional, national, or global processes.

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In my opinion, this is a skill of fundamental importance for students to utilize in the classroom. Putting events into context is something I always thought was important, but now that the College Board explicitly has established the skill, it has forced me to be more proactive in creating lessons and assignments that allow students to utilize this way of thinking. In order to earn the point for contextualization, students must: Situate historical events, developments, or processes within the broader regional, national, or global context in which they occurred in order to draw conclusions about their relative significance.

College Board AP Course and Exam Description, AP US History, Fall In other words, students are asked to provide background before jumping right into their thesis and essay and paint a picture of what is going on at the time of the prompt.

Although there is no specific requirement as to where contextualization should occur, it makes natural sense to place it in the introduction right before a thesis point.

Placing this historical background right at the beginning sets the stage for the argument that will occur in the body of the essay, and is consistent with expectations many English teachers have in how to write an introduction paragraph. I explain contextualization to students by using the example of Star Wars. Without this context, the viewer would not know what is going on, and might miss key events or be lost throughout the film.

This is what contextualization aims dbq 19 what then is the american do in student essays. It sets the stage for their thesis, evidence, and argument that is to follow. Historical Context One aspect of the DBQ rubric that can be a bit confusing initially is that students are asked to do this contextualization, but there is also another area which gives them the option to use historical context.

So what is the difference? Contextualization refers to putting the entire essay into a broader context preferably in the introduction. The latter sounds similar to contextualization and it is essentially the same skillbut historical context is only focused on the specific document being analyzed, not the entire essay, like the contextualization point. For example, if a document is a map that shows slavery growing dramatically from toa student might point out that this growth can be explained in the context of the development of the cotton gin, which made the production of cotton much more profitable and let to the spread of slavery in the Deep South.

In general, it would be difficult for students to earn the point if they are writing only a sentence or two.

Early in the year, I assigned students a DBQ based on the following prompt: Evaluate the extent in which the Civil War was a turning point in the lives of African Americans in the United States.

Use the documents and your knowledge of the years to construct your response. Wikimedia Commons This was the third DBQ we had written, and students were now getting brave enough to move beyond a thesis and document analysis and started attempting to tackle the contextualization point. However, the attempts were all over the map.

  • By doing this activity, students gain an appreciation for how historical context shapes events and decisions of the day;
  • Some DBQs have questions to help readers identify the main idea of each document and some DBQs have only the essay question.

The Civil War was a bloody event that led to the death of thousands of Americans. Of course this is a true statement, but is extremely vague. What led to the Civil War? Why was it so deadly? Without any specific detail, this student could not earn the contextualization point.

Slavery had existed for hundreds of years in the United States. It was a terrible thing that had to be abolished. Again, this is a drive-by attempt at earning contextualization. It mentions things that are true, but lacks any meaningful details or explanation that would demonstrate understanding of the time period in discussion. What led to the beginning of slavery in the colonies? How did it develop?

What made it so horrible? How did individuals resist and protest slavery? These are the types of details that would add meaning to contextualization. One student nailed it. In the early years, compromise was key to avoiding the moral question, but as America entered the mid 19th century sectional tensions and crises dbq 19 what then is the american popular sovereignty, Kansas, and fugitive slaves made the issue increasingly unavoidable.

When the Civil War began, the war was transformed from one to simply save the Union to a battle for the future of slavery and freedom in the United States. Now THAT is contextualization! It gives specific details about the beginning of slavery and its development.

It discusses attempts at compromise, but increasing sectional tensions that led to the Civil War. The writer paints a vivid and clear picture of the situation, events, and people that set the stage for the Civil War.

Strategies for Teaching Contextualization to Students Analyze Lots of Primary Sources One of the best ways to prepare for the DBQ is for students to practice reading and comprehending primary source texts, particularly texts that are written by people who use very different language and sentence structure from today.

This helps them understand and analyze documents, but it also can be helpful in practicing contextualization.

Ensuring Your Students Earn the Contextualization Point on the DBQ

Looking at different perspectives and points of view in the actual historical time periods they are learning is key in allowing students to understand how the era can impact beliefs, values and events that occur. One thing that has been especially successful in my classroom is to collect a handful of student attempts at the contextualization point and share them with students. Students then get to examine them and look at effective and less effective attempts at earning contextualization.

Dbq 19 what then is the american

Often the best way for students to learn what to do or how to improve is to see what their classmates have done. Incorporating In-Class Activities The course is broken into nine distinct time periods from to present. In each period or unit students are assigned activities that force them to put a specific policy, event, or movement into context. Students had to write sentences that asked them to put these events in historical context using the Cold War.

This allowed students to understand that each of these seemingly unrelated historical events were shaped by the tension between the United States and Soviet Union: By doing this activity, students gain an appreciation for how historical context shapes events and decisions of the day.

Wikimedia Commons Teach Cause and Effect in United States History It is very easy to get caught up as a teacher in how to best get lots of minutia and factoids into students heads quickly and efficiently.

However, if we can teach history not as a series of independent and unrelated events, but as a series of events that have a causal relationship that impact what happens next, this helps students grasp and understand contextualization.

For example, in the lead-up to World War I, students create a timeline of events that led to America entering the conflict.

As students examine the torpedoing of the Lusitania, unrestricted submarine warfare, the Zimmermann telegram, etc. This is what contextualization is: Examine Contextualization with Current Events I know what you are thinking, I have one school year less if your school year starts in September to get through to Present and now I am supposed to make this a current events class as well?

The answer is yes and no. Will stuff from the news pages be content the students need to know for the exam: However, it is a great opportunity for students to understand that our past explains why our country is what it is today. Cubans, upset with what they perceived as U. Looking dbq 19 what then is the american how the past shapes current events today helps students understand this skill, and it also helps them gain a deeper appreciation of how important history is in shaping the world around them.

Wikimedia Commons Any time changes happen, there is a temptation to be reactionary and reject them. I have found that by being more deliberate about helping students understand historical context, their engagement and understanding have improved significantly. Why does this matter to me? By making connections, students can see that history does not every happen in a vacuum. Our shared narrative is a series of events and ideas that continuously evolve and build off of each other. When students gain a firm understanding of how the past impacts their lives today, it makes learning way more meaningful and fun.