Thursday, October 6, 2016

Digital DBQ Might Change Your Life

Digital DBQ might change your life

Y’all know I LOVE a top-ten list, right?

I got to attend the Digital DBQ training (twice!) this week and I am DYING to try it with actual kids! If you didn’t get to go yet (or if you need a cheerleader for Digital DBQ anyway), please see my list below!

Top Ten Things I Love-Love-Love about Digital DBQ

10. You can blow up all the in-color images, huge, and dig into them. No more squinting at blurry copies of copies of copies or illegally scanning them into your computer. Everything is in color (except, you know, stuff that was photographed in black and white). Hooray for analyzing maps, photographs, artworks, and graphs!!!

9. You don’t have to teach the WHOLE thing digitally. If you can’t get a computer lab for a whole week, you can teach it blended -- do SOME digitally and SOME paper-and-pencil. I can even do some digitally as a whole-class, on the projector!

8. It gives me access to DBQs I may not have in my building. Like the Texas Mini-Qs. Or Salem Witch trial (which isn’t in older versions of the US Vol 1 Binder). High school teachers -- you just won the DBQ PRoject Lottery! Check it out....

7. It READS STUFF ALOUD to kids. With REAL ACTORS (not a Siri-sounding computer voice). I love that it reads the background essay and documents out loud to kids. I might even do that with the whole-class, in my projector!

6. It lets me differentiate easily. I can choose which kid gets which supports/accommodations. I can give my ELL learners a more-scaffolded Doc Analysis sheet and my regular kids a regular doc analysis sheet. I can decide that Student A, whose 504 says she reads a lot slower than her peers, should get  one less document. I can decide that Student B, who struggles with writing, gets the Guided Essay while other students work with the traditional outline. AND I DON’T HAVE TO DO ANY EXTRA PREP BUT SOME CLICKS! Woo-hoo!!

5. It mimics the FSA test. Kids take the FSA via computer and have tools like the ones available in Digital DBQ -- like highlighting, underlining, and note-taking. Kids can even click the boldface words and get definitions! It’s web-based so you don’t have to download anything. It even saves all the kids’ work every 3-5 seconds, so their work won’t disappear.

4. More writing support! The “Essay Builder” feature will let kids take their buckets and chickenfoot and helps them to construct their essay one chunk at a time. It gives them more prompts and more structure. Hooray for better writing!

3. More writing flexibility! Students can add or remove “buckets” -- and their chickenfoot will automatically add or remove chicken “toes” accordingly. This lets them have more flexibility over their essay structure so it’s not so rigid

2. You don’t have to input all your students into the system. All you have to do is give your kids a link (write it, put it in Portal, text it, project it) and have them login with their R2.D2 logins. No name-entering!!!

1. It’s JUST like the regular DBQs -- it looks the same, the documents and hook exercises and everything are the same -- it’s even the same font.  You still have the “student pages” and “teacher pages”. It’s not “one more new thing”. It’s the same, comfortable, familiar thing -- but on a computer!

A few quick notes... Our district has a one-year subscription to Digital DBQ. We need to try it out -- with our kids --- to decide if it’s worth paying for next year. AND if we DO decide that it’s worth paying for -- we have to show it by having our kids actually use it.

We are having Digital DBQ training this upcoming Wednesday, Oct 12 during the PD day for elementary and middle school teachers. This training will be offered both north county and south county, both morning and afternoon. If your principal will give you permission, we’d love to see you there! We hope to offer another evening training on this, too. We will let you know when it is scheduled!

Digital DBQ looks like an awesome tool! I hope it is as awesome for you as I think it will be. The only way to know is to try it out with your kids!

As always, I love to hear from you! Email me at

No comments:

Post a Comment