This is a complete handbook designed to teach students in AP European History classes to write precise, concise, and analytical historical essays.
The MOD Writing System is based on a modular, modeled approach to writing.
Modular: each lesson teaches students to evaluate and then write discrete elements of historical essays. Once students have mastered the elements, later lessons show them how to combine the elements to create a full essay.
Modeled: in order to produce good historical writing, students must first read good historical writing! Each lesson includes numerous good examples of the elements of historical essays, plus numerous full-length sample essays and paragraphs.
Please see the free teacher materials available here
for more information about the program.
The AP European History Writing Handbook includes nine lessons designed to be taught once a week for the first nine weeks of school. The lessons are:
Lesson One—Types of Essays
Students evaluate sample DBQ and FRQ essays and discuss the differences between historical writing and other types of academic writing they have done (ie. writing for English class). Curricular coverage included in documents is rituals and festivals in Europe from 1450-1750 and the decline of feudalism.
Lesson Two—Analyzing the Prompt and Document References
Students learn the vocabulary of essay prompts and the elements of a paraphrased, double-attributed document reference statement. Students evaluate and produce their own document reference statements. Curricular coverage in documents includes the Black Death and the 'calamitous 14th century.'
Lesson Three—Point of View
Students learn what point of view is and how the ACORNPEG acronym can help them in assessing point of view. They then analyze and evaluate sample point of view statements for modern documents and historical documents, and produce their own. Curricular coverage in documents includes views of the poor from 1450-1750 and Renaissance ideas of education.
Lesson Four—Pre-writing and Grouping
Students learn the procedures for grouping documents by first grouping everyday objects. Then they apply these principles to the documents of an actual DBQ. Curricular coverage in documents includes Western views on the mentally ill in the medieval and modern periods.
Lesson Five—Introductory Paragraphs and Topic Sentences
Students learn the elements of an analytical thesis paragraph, including broad thesis and sub-theses, with corresponding topic sentences for body paragraphs. First they evaluate written thesis paragraphs and topic sentences, then produce their own. Curricular coverage in lesson includes the Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, and English Pilgrimage of Grace.
Lesson Six—Writing a Basic Core DBQ
Students learn how DBQs are scored, and then score a sample DBQ using a rubric. They then learn how to synthesize all of the essay elements they have learned in previous lessons to produce their own Basic Core DBQ. Curricular coverage in the documents includes the Catholic Counter-reformation and the German Peasants' Revolt.
Lesson Seven—Basic Core Body Paragraph Practice Students further practice the body paragraph skills they learned in Lesson Six by writing one-paragraph responses to 'mini DBQs.' Curriculum coverage includes the age of absolutism and the views of women and children in Europe, 1450-1750.
Lesson Eight--Expanded Core Strategies
Now that they have mastered the Basic Core DBQ, students learn to apply expanded core strategies such as extra point of view, outside info, and sub-grouping. Curriculum coverage includes Prussian and Russian monarchs and European colonization.
Lesson Nine—Writing an FRQ
Students learn the main differences between FRQs and DBQs, then apply their previous knowledge of DBQ writing to the creation of an FRQ. Curriculum coverage includes Enlightenment thinkers.
Purchase of the handbook includes permission to copy a class set (up to 35). Instructional text is copyright 2011 by Carrie Floyd Cagle. Some DBQ excerpts in the document are original; others include citations and links to sources.