Once again, I’m lucky enough to work with my colleague, Kim Crank, on written conversations with her APUSH students. We use this instructional method to introduce them to primary source documents they will use to complete document based questions.
Mrs. Crank and I collaborated and planned a written conversation activity for her APUSH students. We used the write-around method to facilitate our written conversations about their document based question. Mrs. Crank invited me into her classroom the day before the activity to go over the purpose and process for written conversations. The following day, the students came to the library and participated in rich conversations about various types of primary source documents.
This instructional method/activity is a wonderful way to allow students to discuss and think critically about a variety of texts. By participating in a written conversation, all students are given an equal voice and generally feel much more welcomed to comment, ask questions and reply to the comments and questions of their classmates. The APUSH students did an amazing job with this activity and even had great oral discussion during our small group share. The feedback we received from the students was very positive. They loved that this activity led into actually writing their DBQ and they appreciated that they could see the correlation in both parts of the assignment. All of the students said that discussing the primary source documents in this way allowed them to analyze, synthesize and understand them better than if they were working alone.