This is Lesson Two of the forthcoming AP US History Writing and Skills Handbook,
which covers specificity and detail in historical writing in general and on short answer questions (SAQs) in particular. The lesson can be used in-class with students to initially teach responding to short answer questions and as a reference throughout the year. It will download as a zip file, which includes an editable Microsoft Publisher file and a non-editable PDF file (which almost any computer user will be able to view and print). (Click here
for instructions on how to open zip files.)
Sub-sections of the lesson include:
*overview of sections of the AP US History Test
*importance of specificity and detail in historical writing
*practice re-writing vague statements to be specific and detailed
*introduction to SAQ types
*examples of poor and good responses to SAQs
*full instructions for responding to SAQs
*practice responding to SAQs
Content coverage in the lesson is from Period 1—1491-1607.
The APUSH Writing and Skills Handbook is designed to teach students in AP US History classes to use historical thinking skills to tackle primary and secondary sources, stimulus-style multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, Document-Based Question essays (DBQs), and Long Essays (aka LEQs). It is fully aligned to the College Board’s AP US History Curriculum Framework
and disciplinary practices and reasoning skills.
The handbook uses techniques from the MOD Writing System, 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.
Purchase of the lesson includes permission to copy a class set (up to 35). Instructional text is copyright 2014-6 by Carrie Floyd Cagle. All non-original text in the lesson includes citation information.
Other lessons from the AP US History Writing and Skills Handbook include:
Lesson One: Note-taking
Lesson Three: Preparing for a Unit Test
Lesson Four: Introduction to DBQs
Lesson Five: Analyzing Documents and Prewriting a DBQ
Lesson Six: Thesis and Contextualization Paragraphs
(offered as a free sample)
Lesson Seven: Basic DBQ Body Paragraphs
Lesson Eight: Writing a Full-length DBQ
Lesson Nine: Writing a Causation LEQ