Mini-Qs, Micro-Qs, and Quick Writes

DBQ Online Support Series Newsletter - October 2021

Incorporating Document-Based Skills and Strategies within Daily Instruction

Looking for ways to utilize the resources and skills embedded in a DBQ? Looking for ways to incorporate more writing into your daily social studies lessons? Document-based questions (DBQs) are often used as a way to access a student’s historical and analytical thinking skills and argumentative writing abilities. Using engaging questions and primary sources from a variety of perspectives, DBQs can be used as a way to teach, not just assess, historical content, literacy, and thinking skills in a student-centered approach. This month's DBQ Online Support Series takes a look at scaffolding the DBQ into smaller activities and lessons through Mini-Qs, Micro-Qs, and DBQ "Quick Writes."
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What is a Mini-Q?

Mini-Q lessons are shorter (3-7 documents) than traditional DBQs. They also help students understand the process of close analysis, interrogation of documents, and argument writing. A Mini-Q takes students through the entire DBQ process, but in a scaffolded way that provides all kinds of supports for students to work through close reading, document analysis, historical & critical thinking, and evidence-based writing. Each Mini-Q is written twice to differentiate between the highly scaffolded “enhanced version” and the less scaffolded “clean version.” This means Mini-Qs work for students of all skill levels.

What is a Micro-Q?

A Micro-Q is a shorter, more scaffolded Mini-Q. A Micro-Q still takes students through the full DBQ process, consisting of a Hook Exercise, a condensed Background Essay, a brief pre-bucketing exercise, analysis of a single document or two, simplified bucketing, and the writing of an evidence-based argumentative paragraph. Micro-Qs are great for students with emerging skills by providing even more support and less text than the Mini-Q. Micro-Qs are also great for those topics that you just can't spend the amount of time on that a Mini-Q requires.

What is a "Quick Write"?

A DBQ “Quick Write” is a short DBQ-type lesson. It is short, meaning 1-2 class periods or 30-45 minutes at home in a virtual setting. A “Quick Write” is not a full DBQ, which encompasses multiple historical thinking skills, not to mention literacy and critical thinking. A “Quick Write” focuses on one or two skills, usually around one document or step of the DBQ process, for students to learn and develop in isolation. "Quick Writes" conclude with a short, writing activity. Using a football analogy, a full DBQ is Friday night’s football game, where all of the skills learned have to be on display. A “Quick Write” is the weekday practice on one skill, technique, or formation.

"Quick Writes" and DBQ Online

Thinking is hard work and learning how to think takes practice. So does reading and writing, and when done well, helps a student clarify and demonstrate their learning. To that end, we want students to write, regardless of the size of the assignment. The Student Essay page in DBQ Online will provide a writing page for the student to complete whatever type of writing is assigned and allows them to submit that to the teacher directly in the platform.

View the video and/or PDF below to see how to create and customize a DBQ "Quick Write" in the DBQ Online platform.

Creating DBQ Quick Writes

DBQ 101 Asynchronous Introductory Course

DBQ101 is a self-paced professional development course that familiarizes teachers with The DBQ Project Method and teaches them how to make the process engaging and powerful for students. It is designed to replicate our full-day introductory workshops. Participants will work through the steps of The DBQ Project Method at their own pace, pausing to reflect and practice along the way. Teachers will first experience a DBQ from the student perspective, learning what it is like to learn with a DBQ, before transitioning to the teacher perspective to learn how to build a unit and support their students. Four fall windows are open for registration at no cost to online subscribers. Courses will launch on September 14, October 12, November 9, and December 14. Each course window will remain open for one month to complete.

What Caused the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria of 1692?

Between June 10 and September 22, 1692, 20 people were put to death in Salem, Massachusetts for witchcraft. It has long remained one of the more troubling events in American history. What caused neighbor to turn on neighbor? What was at the bottom of the hysteria that so frightened this colonial town? This Mini-Q will present some possible answers.

Was Grimm TOO Grim?

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, also called the Brothers Grimm, are well known for their folk tales. They collected these stories in Germany in the early 19th century. At the time the tales were published, some people were upset. They felt these were not proper stories for children. In this Mini-Q, you will read some of the tales from the Grimms’ original book. You will then decide whether they are appropriate for young readers.

Is Chocolate Good for Côte d’Ivoire?

Chocolate is one of the world’s most popular treats. It is made from cocoa, and the African country of Côte d’Ivoire is one of the world’s largest cocoa growers. This Mini-Q is about the effects of the cocoa industry on Côte d’Ivoire.

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The DBQ Project

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