Big6 in Action: The Big6 in Israel

Author: Reuven Werber

My name is Reuven Werber. I work at Neveh Channah High School for Girls in the Etzion Bloc, Israel. Our school is a 9–12th grade high school for Jewish modern Orthodox girls in the Etzion Bloc-Jerusalem area. We have two classes in every grade level with a total of about 250 students. I am a Judaic studies teacher and ed-tech coordinator at the school. I work with a staff (English teacher, math teacher, and school librarian) to develop and teach an educational technology information literacy course for 9th and 10th graders. I provide ed-tech support and professional development for our staff (about 50 teachers). I also teach a number of courses in ed-tech information literacy skills at the Herzog Teachers College of Yeshivat Har Etzion at the Etzion Bloc.

When I discovered the Big6 on the WWW, I joined and participated in the Big6 mailing list. Later, I bought and read a few Big6 books. Building on this knowledge base, I began translating Big6 materials and applying them at Neveh Channah. Two summers ago, it was my privilege to meet Bob Berkowitz who was in Israel for an International School Librarians conference. Bob visited our school and saw some of our projects. He gave us some very helpful tips and ideas for future program development. He invited me to present some of our projects at the school librarian conference, which I gladly did.

Our program teaches the students to use the Big6 model to complete various curricular projects (in cooperation with the curricular instructors). The projects emphasize different aspects of the model. Each year, we try to apply the Big6 model in a year-end team project. Last year, students in our 9th grade classes did a large project on Jerusalem neighborhoods. The students split into teams of four—chose a Jerusalem neighborhood, gathered information about it from books, periodicals, CD databases, the Web, visits to the neighborhood, and interviews with its residents. The teams utilized the information to prepare PowerPoint multimedia presentations. The students loved the project, and devoted many hours beyond the allotted class time for working on it.

The site is documented at http://www.nevnet.etzion.k12.il/jerusalem.htm (in Hebrew).

Title: Neighborhoods in Jerusalem

Authors: (from Neveh Channah Torah High School for Girls, Etzion Bloc, Israel)

  • Tzila Yarhi
  • Miriam Weitman
  • Ita Munitz
  • Phylis Goldman
  • Reuven Werber

Subject Areas: Geography, history, holiday celebration (Jerusalem Day)

Grade: 9

Big6 Skills covered:

  • Big6 #1 – Task Definition
  • Big6 #2 – Information Seeking Strategies
  • Big6 #3 – Location & Access
  • Big6 #5 – Synthesis

Internet Uses:

  • Communication—Students send e-mail to teachers for advice, and to submit assignments.
  • Information Resource—Students search for Web sites and view information pertaining to the neighborhood.
  • Presentation—Students upload PowerPoint presentation to the school Web site. Final student work will be viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Goal: Study the geographical, historical, and demographic development of Jerusalem.

Content Area Objective:

  1. Understand the history, geography, and life of Jerusalem and its residents.

Big6 Objectives:

  1. Understand the assignment. (Task Definition)
  2. Formulate relevant research questions. (Information Seeking Strategies)
  3. Determine best sources for information gathering. (Information Seeking Strategies)
  4. Search for specific information about neighborhoods. (Location & Access)
  5. Construct a presentation on the neighborhood using Microsoft PowerPoint. (Synthesis)
  6. Write a two page report on one of the problems facing the neighborhood and outline possible solutions. (Synthesis)

Overview:

Two 9th grade classes of 31-32 students each, are divided into teams of four. Each team chooses a neighborhood in Jerusalem and gathers, sorts, and organizes information about that neighborhood. Each team prepares a presentation about its neighborhood using Microsoft PowerPoint, and each team project will be exhibited to the school on Jerusalem Day (a day commemorating Jerusalem”s liberation in 1967). Each team divides into two subteams of two students each. All subteams write a report on a problem facing its neighborhood today and propose some possible solutions. This lesson can be adapted to the study of neighborhoods, towns, or cities in any geographical location.

Materials (in Hebrew):

Activities:

  1. Each team chooses a Jerusalem neighborhood.
  2. Each team gathers information on the following:
    • Neighborhood name
    • Map of the neighborhood
    • Historical timeline of neighborhood from founding until present day
    • Demographic characteristics
    • Important buildings and institutions
    • Important personalities
    • Architecture and building styles
    • The neighborhood in art (drawing, photo, poetry, music, etc.)
      Additional points of importance and interest using the following recommended sources:

     

    • Textual: encyclopedias, books, periodicals
    • Digital: periodical guide, Jerusalem CD”s, online catalogue
    • Internet sources (see online list for ideas)
    • Additional: tours, museums, interviews, correspondence: e-mail and postal mail
  3. Each team synthesizes this information into a 10-20 minute presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint. The presentation is shown to the entire school on Jerusalem Day. The presentation should contain a cover slide, text, pictures, maps, audio and video clips, and a rich and diverse bibliography.
  4. Following the presentation, groups of two (from each team of four) write a report on their chosen neighborhood.
  5. Students upload their PowerPoint presentations to the school Web site.

Logistics

  Equipment:During the course of the assignment, the teams have access to two computer labs outfitted with frame relay connections (20 computers). In addition to scheduled class time, the labs are open and accessible throughout the school day as long as no other class is using them. In addition, four computer stations are available in the school library.Staff:

 

Two information technology teachers work with the teams in classes for two hours a week. One library media specialist works with the classes one hour a week, and two homeroom teachers are also involved in overseeing the project.

Evaluation:

The evaluation process will consist of three aspects:

  1. Reflective evaluation
  2. Peer evaluation
  3. Instructor evaluation

Evaluation instruments are based upon project requirements as outlined above.

Staff:

Comments:

It is important to create a Web page with some basic links for beginning the project. Extra credit is offered to teams who submit good Web sites to be added to the list.

Reuven Werber (reuw(at)mofet(dot)macam98(dot)ac(dot)il) is the ed-tech coordinator at the Neveh Channah Torah High School for Girls, Etzion Bloc, Israel.