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The Big6

Page history last edited by Laura Stemler 9 years, 8 months ago

The Big6

Created by Michael Eisenberg and Robert Berkowitz in 1988




Sampling of Information


This model is currently in use with a number of web resources available for educators interested in using the Big6  


Big6 Kids

Big6 Resources 


There have been a few research and case studies done on the Big6, needless to say they found that using the Big6 greatly improved test scores and metacognitive skills in students.  The test scores were a result in a change in curriculum 

The Big6™ and Student Achievement–Report of an Action Research Study  

ALA Big Six InformationSkills as a Metacognitive Scaffold: A Case Study


I selected this process because the model is incredibly in depth and well defined.  I do prefer the Little Twelve to the Big6, which are the small steps within the Big6 steps as they give a better explanation of the Big6 steps.  The steps seem to take the student easily from one task to the next, like baby steps so the students can easily follow along.  These baby steps and detailed explanations with the Little Twelve make it a very effective model. 





Curriculum Alignment


There are six key steps for the Big6 (bolded in the table below) but these steps can be split into smaller steps called the Little Twelve (Hughes, 2003).


Key Steps Standards for the 21st Century Learner

 1.     Task Definition 

1.1.  Define the information problem 

1.2.  Identify information needed in order to complete the task (to solve the information problem)

1.1.3, 1.2.1

 2.     Information Seeking Strategies 

2.1.  Determine the range of possible sources (brainstorm) 

2.2.  Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities (select the best sources)

1.1.4, 1.1.5

 3.     Location and Access

3.1.  Locate sources (intellectually and physically) 

3.2.  Find information within sources

1.1.8, 1.3.2

 4.     Use of Information 

4.1.  Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch) the information from a source 

4.2.  Extract relevant information from a source

1.1.6, 1.1.7, 2.1.1, 1.3.3

 5.     Synthesis 

5.1.  Organize information from multiple sources 

5.2.  Present the information

2.1.1, 2.1.4, 3.1.4

 6.     Evaluation 

6.1.  Judge the product (effectiveness) 

6.2.  Judge the information problem solving process (efficiency)

3.4.1, 3.4.2





(following Jamie McKenzie's Scaffolding for Success found on http://fno.org/dec99/scaffold.html)  


The Big6 provides excellent scaffolding, meeting most of the requirements of McKenzie's Scaffolding directions are very specific and provide an in-depth explanation of the process the students must complete.  However the Little Twelve, though well defined, may seem intimidating to students due to the sheer length of steps.  The directions are very specific and provide an in-depth explanation of the process the students must complete.  However the twelve step process, though well defined, may seem intimidating to students.  The steps do keep the student on task but depending on the topic they may not be inclined to stay on task, as again the steps may seem tedious and overwhelming by some.  Though the steps may seem somewhat tedious, if the teacher helps keep the students moving through them they should be able to maintain momentum.  



Audience Comprehension


The Big6 can be used with K-12 students however Eisenberg and Berkowitz created a second model for K-3 students called the Super3

The only information for differentiation found was an article by Barbara Jansen (2009), where the author provides a list of the Big6 steps and a number of ways to differentiate instruction.  Some ways are:



1. Task Definition




What do we need to do?



• Students identify areas of interest for a topic and write individual questions, which can be added to a common set of questions.



2. Information Seeking Strategies



What can we use to find what we need?


• After identifying best sources, teachers will guide students to those materials on their reading levels.


3. Location & Access 



Where can we find what we need?


• The library media specialist can help by matching individual students to a variety of audiovisual sources, such as video or audio, which will address their learning styles. The teacher and library media specialist can work with individuals and small groups to teach, review, and remediate location and access skills as needed.


4. Use of Information


What information can we use?


• Students can choose a note taking strategy that meets their needs such as trash-n-treasure, electronic recording, dictation, drawing, and sharing the pen.


5. Synthesis



How can we show what we learned?


• Students can choose the note taking organizer that fits their learning profile such as data chart, cluster diagram (connected bubbles), note taking boxes, note taking folder, and Kidspiration computer software.


6. Evaluation


How will we know if we did well?

• Students choose from a variety of products to show their results and understandings, such as KidPix slide show, journal entry, reader's theater script, podcast, book made with Microsoft Office PowerPoint or Microsoft Office Publisher, diorama, story, play, and StoryMaker.  Students can choose from among several ways to evaluate their success and efforts such as checklist, narrative, dictation, short answer, and rating scale with symbols (ex. happy faces).



Homepage | I-Search | The Big6 | Pathways to Knowledge 

Similarities, Differences, and Conclusions | References

Last Updated 2009 

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