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Teaching the Big 6 through your library website

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1 Teaching the Big 6 through your library website
Karen Shull, Librarian Christian Brothers Academy

2 What is research What research is not: finding facts - either online or in a book – to answer questions for a worksheet or “report”. Starts with an essential or probing question Project depth depends on 2 factors: Teacher’s questions Student’s ability to analyze, synthesize, and form new questions. Bloom’s Taxonomy

3 Why teach Big 6? Can be used to solve problems, find information, answer questions Is process driven - Scientific Method for seeking information Incorporates critical thinking skills Changing world The "Big6™" is copyright © (1987) Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz. For more information, visit:

4 Paradigm shift Today’s world demands a different set of information skills. In the past, it was enough to master facts. Now, colleges and employers want people who can find, analyze, and communicate information at a sophisticated level. They want people who are information literate. Today’s students are facing different challenges than students 10,15, or 20 years ago.

5 Teaching information literacy
Must be taught within the context of classroom lessons Lessons in isolation – no real information need – will be useless

6 What is the Big 6? Decision-making methodology
Developed in the mid-1980’s in Syracuse, NY K-20 applicability Used with ANY content area Analytical tool

7 the google generation where are the skills gaps? (quoted)
There are two particularly powerful messages emerging from recent research. When the top and bottom quartiles of students – as defined by their information literacy skills - are compared, it emerges that the top quartile report a much higher incidence of exposure to basic library skills from their parents, in the school library, classroom or public library in their earlier years. p “Information Behavior of the Researcher of the Future”

8 the google generation where are the skills gaps? (quoted)
It seems that a new divide is opening up in the US, with the better-equipped students taking the prizes of better grades. At the lower end of the information skills spectrum, the research finds that intervention at university age is too late: these students have already developed an ingrained coping behaviour: they have learned to `get by’ with Google. p “Information Behavior of the Researcher of the Future”

9 what are the implications for policy makers? (quoted)
Emerging research findings from the US points to the fact that these skills need to be inculcated during the formative years of childhood: by university or college it is too late to reverse engineer deeply ingrained habits, notably an uncritical trust in branded search engines to deliver quick fixes. This will require concerted action between libraries, schools and parents. p.32 “Information Behavior of the Researcher of the Future”

10 Step 1: Task definition Define the problem
Identify the information needs This is where the student learns to define the scope of the project The "Big6™" is copyright © (1987) Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz. For more information, visit:

11 Step 1 results Understands how to analyze and question the nature of a problem. Discerns areas that need clarification. Thinks creatively regarding areas of investigation. Sets scope of investigation appropriately. Generates key content questions for the investigation. Understands and can list information formats appropriate to area of investigation.

12 Step 2: Information strategies
Determine the type of sources that will be most useful: Book Journal Databases Internet People Prioritize sources

13 Step 2 Results Understands and can list possible sources of information appropriate to the investigation. Understands the difference between Internet sites and databases. Understands the pro’s and cons of various information sources, and can prioritize effectively.

14 Step 3: Location and Access
Locate sources Print materials Internet as access to databases Internet as research tool Find information Use valid search terms Advanced searching

15 Step 3 Results Understands how to search the library catalog and retrieve physical objects such as books, as well as electronic items. Understands the reason to use a book source. Understands the purpose of an encyclopedia. Understands how to choose an appropriate database. Understands how to access, navigate, and successfully search a database.

16 Step 3 Results Understands how to use the function of a database to results to self. Understands when the Internet is an appropriate choice. Understands how search engines and directories differ, and when and how to use each one. Understands Boolean, phrase, proximity, and other advanced searching strategies for both databases and web.

17 Step 4: Information Use Engage Extract Read materials
View pictures and media Listen to audio files Interview people Extract Make good notes Cite information sources

18 Step 4 Results Skims for the main idea when first researching.
Looks for key ideas, facts, quotes. Appropriately decides to invest in slower, more in-depth reading; understands the necessity to do so. Understands the difference between fact and opinion. Understands how to authenticate/credential information taken from the web, and the importance of this step. Learns to use footnotes and other bibliographic tools to find more information.

19 Step 4 Results Uses appropriate technology to facilitate note-taking.
Understands the concept of plagiarism, and understands the penalties for infractions. Understands and follows copyright rules, using information in an ethical manner. Understands the purpose of citation, the various citation forms and how to use them, including parenthetical citations; can produce citations with or without a citation generator.

20 Step 5: Synthesis Organize Present
Divide information and analysis into logical sections Present Develop an appropriate product Website Essay Newspaper article Play, poem, or story Film

21 Step 5 Results Understands how to prioritize the information found.
Understands how to integrate his own analysis within the presentation. Has a comprehensive knowledge of different effective presentation tools. Decides appropriately on the use of a presentation tool. Uses standard conventions of spelling and grammar as needed in presentations. Proficient in proofreading own work; understands the necessity to do so.

22 Step 6: Evaluation Judge the product Judge the process
Are you satisfied with your work? Will your teacher/supervisor be happy with it? Judge the process What could you have done better?

23 Step 6 Results Critically examines the quality of work.
Analyzes own strengths and weaknesses prior to handing off work. Strategizes for next project from the experiences of current project.

24 Methodology Technology: Smart Board/projector
Start with blank Step One box Librarian has copy both of the project and teacher objectives Students are prompted to answer 1.1 and 1.2 of the Big 6 1.2: Keywords in project assignment are identified and expanded, generating questions; also, information types identified Same procedure for Steps Two and Three

25 Students brainstorm – librarian captures group work .

26 Students generate content for Steps 1 & 2 – questions from all classes are melded into one web page

27 Using the web site Teaching the Big 6 through practice, not theory
Students work out Step 1 in a group atmosphere Ideally, classroom teachers would grade students on Step 1 proficiency by their senior year Research tools Project page Databases MLA, MS Word help

28 Setting the bar Big 6 is ineffective if students are given too much information Instructional design is key Bloom’s Taxonomy UBD: Understanding By Design

29 Ask open-ended questions
Students need to be able to define effective criteria for themselves Engaging curiosity stimulates thinking Student engagement rises when learning is self-motivated; real learning is both more likely to occur and be remembered More complex levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy are utilized Plagiarism is much less likely with open-ended questions

30 Extending the lesson Challenging your teachers:
How can you use compare/contrast? Can you build a database with research results? Research and discussion should lead into asking and probing essential questions

31 UBD: Understanding By Design
What do you want your students to be able to do? (Identify desired results) How will you know when they can do it? (Acceptable evidence) Plan your instruction with the end in mind

32 Goal Responsibility of K-12 to set thoughtful intellectual patterns
Most teachers agree that students should graduate with information literacy skills Analyze proficiency at your campus - grading Big 6 is a decision-making tool for conducting research Big 6 provides sound structure for intellectual inquiry

33 Example: Senior Papers
Philosophy: Each student will select and discuss ONE of the following: In philosophy, ideas do not die; they go in and out of fashion. In philosophy, the questions are more important than the answers. Morality/English/Information Literacy: Problem: You will write and research a paper in which you will demonstrate your understanding of a moral issue as it is articulated in Roman Catholic magisterial documents, and interpreted in a significant literary novel or play and a visual text.

34 Example of freshman paper
Topics for the Final Assignment Paper I. Discuss Robert Boyle's experiments and the place of natural philosophy in England's Royal Society. II. Discuss William Harvey's physiological work in its intellectual, institutional, and political contexts.

35 Wrap-Up Information literacy is a primary skill of the 21st Century
Research shows techniques learned K-12 will be dominant later in life Online access promotes students actually using the process

36 Contact Karen Shull, Libarian Christian Brothers Academy, Syracuse
Google “CBA Markert Library”

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