Series: Collaborating Across Disciplines


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards 6-\x80\x9312
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 4: 
    Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization,
    and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific
    expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-\x80\x933 above.)

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 5: 
    Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing,
    rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most
    significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should
    demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades
    9-10 on page 54.)

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Document-Based Questions: Warm & Cool Feedback
Lesson Objective: Practice writing Document-Based Questions for the World History AP Exam
Grades 9-12 / Social Studies / Revision
ELA.W.9-10.4 | ELA.W.9-10.5

Thought starters

  1. What are the rules for giving warm and cool feedback?
  2. Why is it helpful to students to set goals before asking for feedback?
  3. How do students use the AP Document-Based Question rubric?
The practice of having the students create their own writing goals to get their warm and cool feedback on is really great! I also like how the students are required to find the thesis in their partner's paper to give that partner a better understanding of what their own thesis is. This strategy for providing feedback is very productive.
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Great video! I have personally done DBQs as a student and it seems to be very helpful to be put in partners to collaborate ideas. The "warm and cool" feedback seems like a great way to critique students' work.
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This is wonderful! I am wondering if you have a blank version of the PDF worksheet to share. I see the student samples on the right side in Supporting Materials.
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I found this video to be very helpful as an aspiring future teacher of 9th-12th graders. Often times I have noticed that students at this age tend to be either confident in their abilities and willing to speak up and share their knowledge, or they are shy and unsure of their capabilities to the point where they are unwilling to expose themselves in a vulnerable position for criticism. Allowing for students to be placed in a "safe-zone" environment as presented in this teaching strategy where they begin to feel comfortable in their pair to not only allow for their own work to be analyzed for feedback, but to also feel confident enough to present "cool" feedback on their partner's work; without fear of backlash of any kind. As mentioned, the guidelines and rules given for this exercise also allow for the best possible outcome in terms of feedback, whether warm or cool, to evolve further into the better writing of the students. For this exercise is it best to maintain the same partnership between the students for the entire length of the semester/school year? That way the students build that relationship and confidence within each other to allow for successful feedback to better their DBQ essay responses and prepare them for the overall goal of the AP test. Or, is it more beneficial for the students to be paired with a different partner each time a new DBQ prompt is assigned that way they can also learn to build such relationships with other classmates as well?
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Marion, I too worry about the kids who have difficulty reading and comprehending what they read, and therefore have difficulty putting thoughts on paper. In our school, AP is open enrollment, therefore I enjoy a very diverse set of students who range in abilities. While it is true that I do not see special education students very often, every lesson needs to be accessibly to all students. This lesson was filmed toward the end of the school year, where students were very comfortable working together, learning together and helping each other. The pairs, at this stage in the year, are never the same, and always heterogeneous primarily to encourage collaboration amongst the students. Finally it take a year to teach my students the skill of analyzing vs. summarizing and many don't master this skill until the end of 10th grade. I like to use Sakichi Toyoda's 5 Whys technique, but geared toward analysis of a historical event. Where the students peel away the layers of why something is the way it is by asking 5 Why questions. It helps them see the root cause of an event, and how it leads to the event itself. Thank you for posting about the lesson!
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  • Document-Based Questions: Warm & Cool Feedback Transcript

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): We are going to move into our partnerships that we've

    Document-Based Questions: Warm & Cool Feedback Transcript

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): We are going to move into our partnerships that we've already established and you're going to give feedback to your partner about their writing.

    Jennifer Wolfe: This is the second day of a three day lesson on how to write a document based question for the world history AP exam.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Before we start, we have your essay on your desk if your have one. And you have your documents on your desk.

    Jennifer Wolfe: Yesterday, we spent reading examples of document based questions that I got off the college board website. Then I gave them the questions with the documents and they read them overnight and constructed an essay. So, today, they brought their essays in and they sat in their learning pairs and they gave each other feedback. We call it warm and cool feedback.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Today, we're going to continue with the warm and cool feedback that we started in English class yesterday, only now we are gonna use our document based question that you've been working on for about the last three days.


    Jennifer Wolfe: Warm and cool feedback is a way to give your students information about their work. Warm feedback tells them what they did well. Cool feedback shows them where they are weak and I find that using it with students lets them see exactly in their essay where they did or did not accomplish the task and it doesn't intimidate them because I'm not saying, "this is terrible." I'm not saying, "great! always great!" No. I'm giving them very specific evidence using their own words.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): We all wanna be better writers so we do better on the exam and you don't make me nuts.

    Jennifer Wolfe: The rules of warm and cool feedback are very simple. A student, before they give their paper to their learning partner - they pick two goals that they have for their writing.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): What you want to do is take a look at the document based question rubric and you want to decide on two or three things you would like your partner to read for specifically in your essay. What two or three areas do you think you did well on maybe and you wanna get some feedback on that or maybe there are areas that you had trouble with.


    Jennifer Wolfe: When they are attempting to pick their goals, the AP DBQ rubric is always in front of them. I expose the students to that rubric as much as possible because - on the AP test, they don't get the rubric. They have to have that internalized. The more it becomes second nature to them, that it exists, that I have to use it as a check list, that it's a guide for my writing - the better off they'll be on the test that day.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): What's one of your goals, Nathan?

    Student: To analyze the documents rather than summarize them.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Joanna.

    Student: To write a better thesis and explain them better using quotes.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Excellent. Besides using the DBQ rubric for your goals and reading your paper, I also want you to read your thesis - or what you think is your thesis - aloud.

    Jennifer Wolfe: Ninth graders are not great at recognizing what a thesis is. Even if I give them student samples where I know there is a thesis - they oftentimes don't know where it's located. So, this way. I have them read it aloud, and then their partner will respond to their read aloud.


    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): So, I'd like you try that first and then, once you have done that you may exchange papers. I'm gonna give everybody a sheet of paper. I would like you to make a t-chart on this paper.

    Jennifer Wolfe: The person who is receiving the feedback has a piece of paper out, with a t-chart on it - with warm at the top and cool at the top of the other side of the t-chart. I don't need them to write in complete sentences - I tell them, "don't focus on that." What are you hearing that needs to be fixed in your paper.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): So tonight, when you've forgotten about this class - when you go home and you pull out that paper to rewrite this essay - you know what's going on. Okay? What you're gonna do is, you're gonna get into your learning pairs and what's the first thing you are doing?

    Student: Reading your thesis aloud?

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Ok. Do it now.

    Jennifer Wolfe: The DBQ is especially difficult for 9th graders because the reading level is very high. They're reading text in its original language and they have to organize these documents. It really stresses them out.


    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Is there anyone missing a partner? Anybody missing a partner?

    Jennifer Wolfe: They pass the papers - their essays, to their partner. And they read what they think is their thesis aloud.

    Student: Religion is often the answer to many conflicts within government policies and social hierarchy.

    Jennifer Wolfe: I do a little thing where I ask the one who's more tired to read to the one who's less tired. That way, that student is engaged, he becomes energized and he's active.

    Student: The religions, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism are all based off one central belief in a higher godlike figure and they all must follow a set of guidelines in order to be accepted into heaven and the afterlife.

    Jennifer Wolfe: They do the reading of their peer's paper and then once that's been done, they then take away warm and cool feedback handout which we give them and they fill out the prompts.


    Jennifer Wolfe: Once they have completed all of the feedback - both warm and cool feedback on the sheet, then the students do the sharing process.

    Student: How you explained how each religion emerged and how they worked was really good and how you expanded on it with background knowledge helped a lot. And your sentences was - you kept it interesting.

    Jennifer Wolfe: They are asked to use evidence out of their partner's writing to back up their feedback. It helps them focus on the areas which are weak or, in fact, strong in their writing.

    Student: And for cool feedback, I said, "how could you fit all your ideas and analyzation into a smaller frame of time? It seems like you took a really long time on this and you’re not gonna have enough time for the actual thing when it comes."

    Jennifer Wolfe: It's a vulnerable process. To write. And especially when you're a 9th grader and you're very self-conscious. It needs to take place in a space that's safe and that has very clear rules and definitions.


    Student: All my bodies don't connect to my thesis, how can I reflect my thesis onto all my other paragraphs?

    Student: Sometimes I like to write my whole essay out first and then I like to see how my thesis reflects on my essay.

    Jennifer Wolfe: It's often less intimidating for the kids when they work in pairs. As opposed to me at the desk with them individually. They have become very familiar with one another - they've learned to trust one another - so they're willing to take risks in the partnerships.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): So, what can Matt do for you right now?

    Student: I could help him organize his essay better - his thesis so maybe he has more ideas of what he can do to go forward with his essay.

    Jennifer Wolfe: The only direction they get is to organize all of the documents in a way that makes sense for their response to the question. Whatever their thesis is, the organization of the documents would reflect that.

    Student: Using outside information about Zoroastrianism -

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Oh great! Good, Nathan.


    Student: - he's summarizing the - tied it to his analysis when he starts -

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Nice. And how do you know he has analysis in their, Andrew?

    Student: Well, he starts to answer the question that he says he'll answer in his thesis right here. When he starts talking about all the details from the documents.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Okay, but does he summarize or does he analyze?

    Student: He summarizes in the -

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Show me - yes, great.

    Student: - and then he - his analysis starts -

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): "Monotheistic religions like Judaism and Christianity are easier for people to follow because they only need to know one god and they also justify the existence of the supreme ruler like an emperor or king." So, you're saying the religion and the political structure were parallel - or they mirrored one another. Yeah, ok. "For example, a document about Islam, the third Abrahamic religion would provide more insight into how similar these three religions are - about their roots both in teachings and locations." That's interesting that you say that and I think that's a very valid voice. That was great. And I'm really proud of you for seeing the difference between analysis and description. That's hard.


    Jennifer Wolfe: When it's one on one or you're in a pair, that's a nice close warm place where they can do some good writing, where they can get feedback that's helpful and not critical so that they can become better writers.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): Tell me in the text where you see where the poor might be attracted to his teachings.

    Student: It says, "blessed are the poor and disparate for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." It's saying people from all walks of life have the opportunity to - it's gonna be okay, basically.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): And, in particular, who is his message for? Who's the audience for this sermon?

    Student: The lower class. So it appeals to the lower class.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): And it's telling them, hang in there. In your next life, you'll reach salvation.

    Jennifer Wolfe: Once they have completed all of the sharing process, they then give the papers back to their partner and then they go home tonight and they will revise based on what they've heard. When they hand it in to me, they will get the warm and cool feedback sheet and the revised essay but I also asked for the one they shared with their partner as well. So I can see if their was changing or growth or what they did to meet their partner's expectations or feedback.

    Jennifer Wolfe (in class): We read, we reflect on our reading, we revise our readings and writings and then we rewrite. Right? Everybody's good? Okay. Thanks a lot everybody.



School Details

School 7 Oceanside Senior High School
3160 Skillman Avenue
Oceanside NY 11572
Population: 1741

Data Provided By:



Jennifer Wolfe


Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement