Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Big6 In Middle School: Teaching Information and Communications Technology Skills by Barbara A. Jansen

Spring is in the air which can only mean one thing in most of Alabama's public school libraries! Research. Paper. Season. It's an exciting time in the middle and high school library, but an anxiety-ridden time for those doing the research and writing papers.

Throughout the year I reach for The Big6 In Middle School: Teaching Information and Communications Technology Skills by Barbara A. Jansen to assist students and teachers with projects and research. But in the spring it is always within grasp. (The Big6 is a model of information problem-solving developed by co-authors Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, The Big6 in Middle School, xi).

This book features many types of research organizers for students and is chock-ful of information essential for school librarians.

One of my favorite tools is the Big6 Assignment Organizer for Grades 7-9. It is found on page 181 of the reference book. The first question asks the student to answer, "What am I supposed to do?" It seems a simple question, but students get stumped and they have to go back to their teacher if they can't answer it. The sheet continues with Information Seeking Strategies, Location and Access, Use of Information, Synthesis, Evaluation, and due dates. It is a tidy little organizer that keeps research on track for students. Many other presentation guidelines and planners are featured in the book that are extremely useful as well. I wish I could copy it here, but the cover of the book will have to do.

Here are some other useful tidbits in the book:

  • Correlation Chart Between Big6 Skills and State Curriculum Standards or Tested Skills
  • Checklists for Writing Assignments for Different Grade Levels
  • Lesson Plan Examples
  • Note-Taking Methods
  • How To's of a Class Project Wiki
  • Many Different Charts and Graphs

The book, published by Linworth, is available from different jobbers, Amazon, and your favorite online ordering spot. If you order now, you'll have everything you need to ease the stress of busy researchers.


  1. I LOVE the Big6, and have long believed we should be implementing this as a standard of research in all schools in our district. There's even a variation on the Big6 for primary grades called the Super3. Thanks for such an awesome post!

  2. Thanks for your endorsement of the book. I still use Big6 with our elementary and middle schools with a lot of student success. I am glad you find it useful, too! --Barb Jansen