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Big6 Model Makes a Big Splash at Wilson Elementary!

March 2, 2010

This past summer Wilson’s own Carol Smith (GT Specialist) and Debra Marshall (CISD Head Librarian) attended a workshop on the Big6 model to refresh their knowledge and update their training.

What is the Big6 model?

In a nutshell, research and problem-solving skills. In a much broader sense, the Big6 approach beautifully incorporates independent learning through 6 stages of research. Most people go through these stages (consciously or not) when they seek or apply information to solve a problem or make a decision. At Wilson, the teachers are working hard to engage students in learning to ask essential questions before beginning to research a topic, and they are teaching them to use the Big6 approach to ask questions, record them, research, selecting appropriate sources, and then learn to take notes, not just copy sentences from a source. Using a model for research helps Wilson become vertically aligned with research terminology, processes, questioning, note taking, and the importance of being the independent learners.

Why is Big6 Important?

Today’s world suffers from information overload. With so much information available, it is important for students to know how to find and sift through the data, pull out the most reliable and useful points, decide how to use it, and communicate it well to an audience. These skills are critical to becoming informed and proactive students and citizens. Both Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Smith are working hard along with the other classroom teachers to help ALL children gain these advanced research skills. Some examples in implementation are thinking maps, KWL charts, lists, discussions, direct instruction, and team teaching all explaining the concept and process of research using the Big6.

Another great resource implemented is the search engine Destiny for print and online sources. This search, unlike Google, will yield the books, encyclopedias, videos, etc. available in the Wilson Elementary library. The students can then go through Destiny to also search for National Geographic, History Channel, Fact Monster, NASA, Streaming Videos, etc. and save them to an individual resource list they make. They can share resources with others by using student email or making their list public. You can see Destiny if you go to Wilson’s school webpage and click on Library Resources.

Through methods like Big6, the teachers at Wilson are excited to continue to offer choices in learning as well as offer rigor and relevance to the students’ discoveries!

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