How to teach the Six Hats® to your students!
- White, red, yellow, black, green, blue poster board for Six Hats®
- White, red, yellow, black, green, blue shower curtains
- Magnets for the back of the hats (optional)
- Before teaching the hats, you need to construct all of your hats. Cut out six hats from the poster board.
- Write the words below on the hats: (I found these words to be the easiest for the children to understand.)
White hat-Facts Yellow hat- Good Red hat-Feelings
Green hat- Create Black hat-Caution Blue hat- Understanding
3. Cut six shower curtains into large hats, approximately 6 feet by 5 feet. These will be used for the children to stand on while learning about each hat.
- Pick a topic in which the entire class is interested. (Gym, sports, bugs, toys, candy, etc.) I used gym/sports. What child does not like gym?
- Introduce a new hat to the children each day. This way they won’t be overwhelmed.
- Begin by holding up the white hat. Ask the children, what word is on the white hat? Tell the children you are going to ask them all white hat questions. For example, Who throws the football during a football game? What is it called when you score a point in football? Every time a child answers the questions correctly, tell them to come stand on the hat with you.
- Next, tell the children that they need to ask the questions now. Tell them they can only ask white hat questions. Have them ask to one another. Once they ask a white hat question they can come up on the hat. (Continue until everyone has a turn.)
- Review the white hat. Ask the students white hat questions and have them ask white hat questions. Introduce the red hat. Hold up the hat and ask the students what word is on the red hat? Tell the children all of these questions are red hat questions. Begin asking questions.
- For example, How do you feel when you are hit with a ball in dodge ball? How do you feel after gym class? Continue asking questions. If the children seem to understand, let them begin asking questions. Every time a child answers a question correctly, they can stand on that hat.
- When dismissing the children to retrieve their things for home, review the hats. Ask them red and white hat questions and have them tell you if it is a red hat or white hat question. This helps to see if children truly understand.
- Review the white and red hats. Next, ask the students to tell you if you are asking them white or red hat questions and have them ask you questions.
- Hold up the black hat. Ask the children what the black hat means. Then begin asking black hat questions. For example, why should you be cautious in gym class? What should you be careful about when running with your shoes untied? After asking the students questions, if they understand move onto letting them ask the questions. Every time a child asks or answers a question, they may come and stand on that hat.
- When dismissing the children, ask them white, red, and black hat questions to see if they can say which color hat question that is.
- Review the white, red, and black hats. Ask the students to tell you if you are asking white, red, or black hat questions.
- Hold up the yellow hat and ask the students what the yellow hat means. Begin by asking all yellow hat questions. (Inform the students that this is the opposite of the black hat.) For example, What do you like about gym? Why do you like playing kick ball? Etc. Keep asking questions until students appear to understand. Then allow them to ask the questions. Every time they ask or answer a question, they can stand on the hat.
- When finishing the review of all of the previous hats, ask questions to see if they know what color hat question you are asking; however, this time tell them that they have to answer the question and tell the color of the hat.
- Review the white, red, black, and yellow hats. Have the students ask questions and tell what hat question they asked.
- Hold up the green hat and ask the students what the green hat means. This hat is more difficult to understand, but persevere and they will comprehend the process of creativity. Ask only green hat questions. For example, how could you create your own ball for a game of kick ball? What if I was running around during gym class and my friend pushed me, what should I do? (Ask plenty of green hat questions to make sure the children understand.) Make sure the students are coming up to stand on the hat when they answer or ask a question.
- Have the children begin asking green hat questions to their classmates.
- Finish by asking the students hat questions. Tell the students you are going to ask them questions, and they have to first answer it and then tell what color hat question it is. Ask white, red, black, yellow, and green hat questions.
- Review all of the previous hats. Ask the students a few questions and have them answer. Ask a few students to ask questions and have fellow classmates answer.
- Move to the last hat, the blue hat. This is the most complicated hat, so just go slowly. Hold up the blue hat as you stand on a chair/table. Ask the children what I may see that is different now? You are trying to get the students to look at things from another perspective, nicknamed out of the box. Tell them to pretend they are a bird in the sky looking down. Get them to look at things deeply and differently. If desired, stand next to a child and let them stand on the chair to experience looking at things differently.
- Ask the children what the blue hat means. Begin blue hat questions. For example, explain to me how to play Martian, Martian? Ask them to sequence the events in their prior gym class. Continue asking them questions, and then let them proceed with the questioning.
- When dismissing the class, ask a few students to create a blue hat question.
Day Seven: Culminating Experience
- Review six hats by asking the students all different colored hat questions. (Make sure you cover all of them.) Have the students answer and tell which color hat it is.
- Pick a student and tell him/her to ask a particular color hat question. For example, Ask a green hat question? This will also check for complete understanding.
- After reviewing, tell the children we are going to play a game. Pick a particular place like Kennywood. Call six children up and have them pretend they are at Kennywood. They can only speak being the particular color hat that they received. They are not limited to questions; they can make statements as well.
- Continue this with other children and other places. Have the children who have had a turn hand their hat off to someone new and pick a new topic.
- Everyone should have a turn. Let the children know that if they are struggling, they can ask for help.
- Do this at the end of the day. The children get very excited and motivated.
- Allow fifteen to twenty minutes at the end of the day for the HATS.
- Suggested time is about seven days, one hat per day and a culminating experience.
- Ask about five questions when teaching each hat. If they do not seem to understand, wait and ask more questions.
- If you have a large area, put all six shower curtain hats out, present a question, and have the children run to the corresponding question.
- Each day remember to put out the new shower curtain hat.
- This works with any age level. My second graders really understood and used the concept!
- Have fun, and do not be afraid! Jump right in!
Student-Tested, Student-Centered, Energizing, Hands On, Research Based