Home > Class Requirements, Cognition, curriculum, Education policy, Ideas, Parent information, Psychology, teacher information > Sharpening the Saw – the Dreaded “Daily Board Question”

Sharpening the Saw – the Dreaded “Daily Board Question”

February 12, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

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

Oligopoly                                                                                 State

Corporation                                                                            Citizen

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.

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