Sharpening the Saw – the Dreaded “Daily Board Question”
One of the practices that I frequently use in the classroom to start a lesson is the “Daily Board Question”, which each student must address individually (at times collaboratively) in their Social Studies notebook.
Technically, the “DBQ”, which usually takes anywhere from two to ten minutes to do and discuss, isn’t every day nor is it a factual-recall question, but the activity serves a number of purposes:
A mental prompt or “anticipatory set”
To foreshadow the conceptual theme of the day or week.
To introduce new material
To review old material with a different analysis or perspective
To practice making coherent, logical, arguments based upon evidence
To challenge preconceived notions, assumptions, premises
Orientation to the mindset of the classroom instead of the passing period
Present a visual format (Diagram, Graphic Organizer, Taxonomy etc.)
Novelty – to stimulate interest in what comes next
Synthesis – to combine old concepts into new ones
Imaginative, counterfactual, scenario thinking and analysis
For example, the daily board question for today in Social Studies was as follows:
Which terms from Column A best match terms from Column B and explain WHY:
Column A Column B
Monopoly Sphere of Influence
Sole Proprietorship Empire
This question was useful for two reasons: first, it served as a basic review of terms from the two sections of our unit; secondly, it led the students to connect the terms in the form of an analogy.
The more I read about scientific studies on the brain and neurolearning, the more clear it becomes that the public schools need to bring more “right -brained” thinking skills into the classroom next to the traditional analysis, application and comprehension activities. We need to integrate synthesis, metaphors, analogies, alinear exercises and visual models with traditional methods in order to maximize student learning.