Alternative essay assignment

Many reported to me that they especially liked the ability to write about a topic of their choosing. Giving students this choice no doubt had a positive impact on student motivation.

They surely worked many hours on this assignment and while in-class engaged in endless hours of reflection and revision. In Part II of this post, I will describe the challenges I faced in placing these alternative writing assignments before my students. I will also describe the alternative writing assignments I plan to place before my students next year. And I will describe the alternative writing assignments that U. History teachers elsewhere AP U. History teachers included place before their students. Peter Paccone is a San Marino High School social studies teacher with 30 years of teaching experience.

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The DBQ document-based-question is an essay question that calls upon students to develop and support an argument using provided historical source material aka documents as evidence. Click here to view a classic DBQ question. The SAQ short-answer-question calls upon students to answer three questions pertaining to the same topic, with each question to be answered briefly, specifically, and accurately and in far fewer sentences than a DBQ or LEQ.

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Click here to view ten different SAQ prompts. But first, let me explain: Why I Did This? I simply believe that a great way for students to do this is to write about it.. Develop a passion for writing about history. Those kinds of writing assignments, in fact, seem to cause students to lose interest in history.

40 Alternative Assessment Ideas for Learning

Write something original rather than something copied off the internet, which is what typically happens with the DBQ, LEQ, or SAQ as the internet is flooded with answers to these kinds of questions. Make the learning of history more relevant and engaging. Lo Patrick M. Lo on the day the St. Lo was sunk as a result of a kamikaze attack during the Battle off Samar October 28, Patrick further assumed that he was writing his letter after having been fished out of the water and while recovering aboard the USS Dennis, en route to San Francisco from Palaus.

As you write, you may well get new ideas or think about ideas in slightly different ways. This is fine, but check back to your map or plan to evaluate whether that idea fits well into the plan or the paragraph that you are writing at the time.

How does it link to the ideas you have already discussed? For every paragraph, think about the main idea that you want to communicate in that paragraph and write a clear topic sentence which tells the reader what you are going to talk about. A main idea is more than a piece of content that you found while you were researching, it is often a point that you want to make about the information that you are discussing.

Consider how you are going to discuss that idea what is the paragraph plan. For example, are you: listing a number of ideas, comparing and contrasting the views of different authors, describing problems and solutions , or describing causes and effects?

An Alternative to the Traditional Literary Essay - Folger Education

Note: Some paragraphs can include two plans, for example a list of problems and solutions. While this is fine, it is often clearer to include one plan per paragraph. Look at your plan or map and decide on the key concepts that link the different sections of your work. Is there an idea that keeps recurring in different sections?

This could be a theme that you can use to link ideas between paragraphs. Try using linking words outlined above to signal to your reader whether you are talking about similar ideas, whether you are comparing and contrasting, and so on.

An Alternative to the Traditional Literary Essay

The direction that your thinking is taking in the essay should be very clear to your reader. Linking words will help you to make this direction obvious. While different types of essays have different requirements for different parts of the essay, it is probably worth thinking about some general principles for writing introductions , body paragraphs and conclusions.

You're welcome! Let me know if you need more resources or have questions about the ones I've shared.

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Home About Templates and Resources. Monday, January 15, For shorter documents, I like using Google Drawings so students can insert images or emojis in addition to underlining or highlighting text. For emojis, I like using Emojipedia. A low tech alternative for group document analysis is using poster paper and passing it around to different groups of students to build upon.

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  4. This strategy is also great for supporting students that struggle with literacy since they can read what other students have written and annotated. Do you have other alternatives to writing DBQ essays in your classroom?