Why Six Hats - Special Education Council

Differentiating the Questions with Six Thinking Hats®
Franny McAleer
Education and Corporate Consultant
Instructor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
www.learnerslink.com, [email protected], 724-413-6001
The art of “Questioning” is at the heart of teaching and differentiation. SIX HATS®, using color to
illustrate metaphorical hats with divergent thinking traits, provides teachers and students with a
strategy that provokes inquiry and sparks fluency by categorizing types of questions. It enables
both teachers and students to think at higher levels by moving discussions from facts, to
application, to global connections and possibilities. Writing, reading, and speaking become
clearer and more precise. Research has shown an increase of one year’s growth for students
who write using the SIX HATS® strategy. So, put on the SIX THINKING HATS® and stimulate
thinking, questioning, and communication while having fun!
Critical and creative thinking (SIX HATS®) to differentiate instruction
Thinking levels – text, self, world
Presentation of SIX HATS®
Forced Associations for Vocabulary Enrichment and Problem Solving
Which HAT is it anyway?
Why Six Thinking Hats®
The foundation for differentiating instruction is the questioning processes. Six Hats®
is powerful because:
The colors and hats provide a visual that is easy to use.
Students ask quality questions.
Thinking is visible, focused and at higher levels of critical and creative thinking.
Instruction begins with concrete experiences, simple, more structured, then move
to independent, abstract, sophisticated levels.
Interdisciplinary connections integrate the curriculum increasing retention.
Problem solving, decision making, leadership and independence are developed.
Student led discussions, peer communication, and projects are focused and in
Cooperative groups and teamwork are effective and organized.
Introducing - The Six Thinking Hats® with Bloom
Facts, Information, Data, Missing Information, Remember(Bloom)
Feelings, Emotion, Intuition, Gut Feeling
Benefits, Values, Positives, The Good In It
Caution, Wisdom, Problems, Risks
Process, Summarizing, Conclusions, Overviews, Action Plans, Understand
Creativity, Possibilities, Alternatives, New Ideas, Create (Bloom)
The Six Thinking Hats® Theme - Living in Canada, Competition, Success, …
Key Word
What do you
know about
How do you
feel about
What are the
cautions of
What are the
New ideas
from ____?
Action plan
Text to text
Text to self
Text to world
Journaling with Six Thinking Hats®
Color in the hats and put this card in your folder to help you remember their meaning.
What do you need or
want to know as a
What do you like about your
piece? How could you make
problem areas work?
What were your
character’s feelings when
____? About ______?
What if ______?
What other writing strategies
could you use?
What part of the
story/piece concerns
you? What part does not
work for you?
What were you hoping to
accomplish in this piece? How
did you organize it? Does your
conclusion end the story
satisfactorily? What is your
plan for revision?
(Created by teacher in Schuylkill
Intermediate Unit 29.)
Six Hats has been transformational in the classroom
and boardroom. The research is presented in the
following slides showing why it is effective. This
research provides a reference for you and does not
have to be printed for this workshop.
We will learn the thinking behind each of the hats,
enabling you to go to your students with an energizing
thinking process that will take thinking to a new level!
Background for the workshop Why Six Hats® has been successful!
Dr. Edward DeBono’s Vision
Research of Dr. Stanley Pogrow
National Teacher Effectiveness Criteria (Charlotte Danielson)
Psychology Today research
Carol Tomlinson Differentiation 9 Strategies
NCLB Scientific Based Evidence in Reading Comprehension
Research article, ASCD
Research Article, PASCD
Your Brain, the Missing Manual, 2008
Reading Comprehension Research 5
Learning Centers, University of Virginia and Arkansas
Burgettstown School District Action Research, Superintendent and
Vision: Dr. Edward DeBono
"My one ambition is that around the world
there should be a few more young people
who come to say, 'I am a thinker.' I would be
even more pleased if some of them were to
go further and say: 'I am a thinker, and I
enjoy thinking.'"--Dr. Edward de Bono
Research of Stanley Pogrow
Dr. Stanley Pogrow, in the October Kappan, discussed an
essential feature of quality schools, effective traditionalist
and progressive ideas. His search to identify the most
effective resulted in the identification of two powerful
interventions detailed in The Forum, University of
Pittsburgh, Tri State Area School Study Council, (2007).
One relates to the development of thinking skills. The Higher
Order Thinking Skills project has systematically provided
thinking skills development to Title 1 and learning-disabled
students in place of remedial work and test preparation.
Over the past 25 years results include “three times the
growth in reading comprehension – even as it produces
gains in overall intellectual and social development.” (The
other relates to integrating art into the curriculum.)
Teacher Effectiveness, Charlotte Danielson
Appropriate interactions between teacher and students and among
Use of questioning and discussion strategies that encourage many
students to participate
Engagement of students in learning and adequate pacing of instruction
Flexibility and responsiveness in meeting the learning needs of students
Integration of disciplines within the educational curriculum
Effective communication, both oral and written with students, colleagues,
paraprofessionals, related service personnel, and administrators
Paul MacCready Ph.D. one of the greatest engineers of the 20th
"First I would introduce Edward de Bono's thinking courses in all schools."
MacCready is the Inventor of the world's first human and solar-powered
aircraft and car, President of Aerovironment Inc. Monrovia, CA.
Sheldon Lee Glashow Nobel Prize Laureate for Physics (1979)
"Dr. de Bono's innovative thinking methods have been tried and tested by
many pupils and professionals, and they do seem to help people to be
more creative and original. I saw the system in action at an impasse
during a seminar of Nobel laureates. When a Random Word (one of de
Bono's thinking tools) was injected into the discussion, the problem
was quickly resolved.“
Psychology Today
… commented on Six Hats® claiming, “We owe
DeBono a debt for constantly reminding us
that thinking is a skill and can be improved.”
When we put on our thinking hats, we have
not one, but six.
Differentiation Strategy 1 of 9: Adjusting the Questions
Teachers adjust the sorts of questions posed to learners based
on their readiness, interest, and learning profiles.
All students need to be accountable
for information and thinking at high
Some students will be challenged by
more basic thought questions
Others will be challenged by a
question that requires speed of
response, large leaps of insight, or
making remote connections
Teachers can vary the sorts of
questions as one means of assessing
student progress and readiness
Motivation increases with success
In oral settings, all students can
learn from a wide range of responses
Target some questions to particular
students and “open the floor” to
Use open-ended questions
Use wait time before taking answers
Use thinking partners before giving
Encourage students to explain and
defend their answers
Adjust complexity, abstractness,
degree of mental leap, time, and
connections required between
topics, based on learning profiles of
the student
Carol Tomlinson, ASCD, How to
Differentiate Instruction in a Mixed
Ability Classroom, 1995
Roles of the Teacher
Instructor -- Facilitator -- Audience
Solanco School District
Quarrysville, PA
"Our work with DeBono's SIX HATS® has been a
great base for improving our work with higher
level thinking. I often hear references to those
darn "White Hat questions", so deadly in large
numbers. The awareness created from the SIX
HATS® has been valuable.
Suzanne Herr, Principal
Solanco School District, PA
Educational Leadership, Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development,
Research article: If we make thinking
visible, we can teach it and improve critical
and creative thinking.
Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development, ASCD
Interdisciplinary Connections
Interdisciplinary connections improve learning
and retention. Six Hats® provides
interdisciplinary process connections.
ASCD, Robin Fogarty
Reading and Writing Using Six Thinking Hats®
Reading Comprehension -- “Truths about comprehension: good readers are purposeful
and active when they read. They read for a purpose and they're always thinking and
working through the text. Their brains are very active while they are reading.”
(Implications for Scientific Based Evidence Approach in Reading Eunice Greer, NCLB
Research) Six Thinking Hats® is a tool that supports this at all grade levels.
There are six strategies that improve comprehension. The Six Thinking Hats® is tool that
develops the first five. These are teaching children
1. to monitor their comprehension;
2. to use graphic and semantic organizers;
3. to create organizational pictures of the text content;
4. to answer questions about what you've read;
5. to generate questions about what you've read;
6. to recognize the story structure.
+ Learning Centers
Six Hats is a tool in ASCD resources – Learning
Centers, handout on pages 6 and 7 PowerPoint
University of Virginia and University of Arkansas
Learning Center PowerPoint
Brain Research
Brain research indicates improved
learning with color and when the activity is
playful, resembling a game. It also looks for
patterns which Six Hats® provides.
Prior knowledge is activated when new learning in
connected with the lesson or task.
Strategy in The Brain, the Missing Manual, (2008)
pages 176-177
College of William and Mary
Students benefit from experiences when they
ask at least two questions related to a content
area in a week.
Dr. Joyce VanTassel Baska
Burgettstown School District Research
Writing with the HATS® to Focus, Clarify, and Improve your Writing
Let’s see what happened in seventh (7th)
grade at Burgettstown Middle School in
Jacque Goodburn’s classes.
Pennsylvania Language Arts Academic Standard 1.5
Burgettstown Writing Research Project
Six Hats® group -- Three heterogeneous classes, 60 students, 10 of
whom are learning support.
Control group -- Three heterogeneous classes, 63 students, 10 of
whom are learning support
The prompts were PSSA writing assessment released prompts.
Informational Narrative Persuasive
Microsoft Word Tools to determine writing quality using an
objective tool – Flesch-Kincaid readability
Although readability formulas cannot capture all aspects of
quality writing, they can be used to evaluate the length of
sentences and the
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
1- Informational 2- Narrative 3- Persuasive
Flesch-Kincaid Results
For the informational and the
narrative prompts, the students
using the Six Hats® were writing an
average of a half-year ahead of the
control group students.
For the persuasive prompt, which was
completed last, the students using
the Six Hats® were writing almost a
year ahead of the control group
Benefits for the Teacher
•Consistency for writing process
discussions/writing workshops
•All classes receive the same message
•Grading becomes objective and focused
•Six Hats® has the benefit of helping students to
organize their ideas and begin to see what they are
thinking before beginning to write. Students see where
their strengths lie and where they need to focus their
efforts to gain control of their thinking.
Benefits for the Teacher
•Teachers are expected to reach
students “where they are” and to
individualize instruction. With Six Hats®,
both student and teacher can agree on
the starting point for instruction. (NCLB)
•In time, students learn self evaluation and independence
•Higher ability students can review independently, freeing the
teacher to spend time with students requiring one-on-one
•Students can anticipate their grade more accurately
Benefits to Teachers
• Ownership of the words remains with the
• The student can see what is missing
independently and decide how to correct their
• This places the teacher in the position of being
a facilitator of a student’s own thought rather than
the person who simply tells a student what to
Benefits to the Students
• Students can clearly understand what the English teacher
means by a well-developed piece. They have a better idea
of when their work is ready to share.
• Students can revise their own draft with less direction.
• The Six Hats® system helps students get started in
prewriting and it helps them see where they need to add
• The Six Hats® is a life long learning and communication
tool that also teaches students how to present constructive
criticism to peers in a non-threatening manner.
Benefits to Both Student and Teacher
• The writing process is focused.
• As reviewers of writing, it is more specific to tell a writer to add more
of the yellow hat or to address the black hat concerns.
• It is less confrontational to tell a student to balance the black hat
concerns with evidence of other hats than it is to simply say to a
student “try not to be so negative.”
• Constructive criticism to improve writing focuses on the hats rather
than addressing the writer who may take suggestions personally.
Project-Based Learning
Six Hats® are embedded in the critical
thinking, project-based learning format of
What teachers say about Six Hats®?
" A special thank you for introducing me to the thinking hats and opening me
up to becoming a better teacher by teaching my students to think about
thinking." Jena Brodhead, Easton Area School District
I am using the SIX HATS® daily. I refer to them to get the children thinking in a
certain direction. What I like about this program is that it gives the
students a direction to think towards by the questions on the hats. In the
primary grades especially, the students need to develop specific thinking
areas. I did an activity where they had to pick a wish and then use white
and black hat thinking about the wish. They did a great job. This is the first
program I have used that starts students in the direction of thinking
critically. They loved the activities especially the green hat. I'm happy
with where I'm going especially as I use this with PSSA (state
assessment) preparation. Debbie Miller, Wilkes Barre School District
What teachers say about Six Hats®?
"After attending the workshop, I was excited about going back to my
classroom and trying out the Six Thinking Hats with my ESL
students. I found it easy to simplify and adapt to their proficiency
levels and they responded with enthusiasm to the visual and tactile
presentation of the hats. They were motivated to answer questions
and were able to demonstrate increased comprehension of the
story. Even my most reluctant student was more responsive to
questions. Though many of us are already doing some of the things
Franny spoke about in the workshop, The Six Thinking Hats provides
a way for us to create a more muiltisensory learning environment,
giving our students a greater chance for success. I found the SIX
HATS workshop to be dynamic and inspiring. The Six Thinking Hats
concept is a valuable teaching tool that can be adapted to many
areas of learning." Karen Lau, ESL Teacher, Luzerne Intermediate
What teachers say about Six Hats®?
"We love the hats. Tara and I introduced our students to them right away on
Friday. Our Academic/Honors students were skeptical. My Applied
Communications class LOVED them. Since then, with a little
encouragement, we have had nothing but success with the hats. Tara’s
Journalism class is attacking the school magazine all with hats. My Applied
class designed and implemented a new independent novel unit utilizing the
hats. My Honors Speech and Debate class has implemented a new peer
comment format that revolves around yellow, black, and green hat
ideas. My Honors III class is exploring The Red Badge of Courage with the
hats. The red hat is especially helpful because they are putting themselves
in a few of the characters’ shoes. They also linked the current Jessica Lynch
debate (hero or not) to the novel with the hats. I’ll admit, although your
talk was informative and fun, I had doubts about getting the students to use
it. After one day, my Applied students were correcting each other during a
green hat session with, 'We’re wearing our green hats now. Save the black
hat comments for later.' Amazingly no one was offended and the class
continued working. I just wanted you to know how excited we are to share
in this great method and how much we appreciate your instruction in
it." Renee Sorensen, Teacher at Tunkhannock High School
Additional information and

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