Hexagonal Thinking

Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy wrote about hexagonal thinking recently, and it's a powerful way for kids to consider the connections between ideas and nuances in word meaning as they're exploring a topic of study. 

Fifth grade teacher Stephanie Fontaine at Siegel decided to use it in her classroom as a way to review some work in social studies, and I want you to look at the connections her students made between ideas as disparate as immigration, Ellis Island, Henry Ford, yellow journalism, labor unions, and constitutional amendments. 

This may seem very similar to concept maps, and you wouldn't be wrong. But the nature of a hexagon means you've got multiple opportunities to connect ideas or concepts in ways that can be very close or farther apart. And you could give the same set of hexagons to different groups of kids, as Stephanie did, and the connections are going to be different every time. Because while the connections are important, it's the conversation, thinking, justification, explaining, and attention to precision behind those connections that develops the habits of mind our students need. 

Hexagonal thinking can be used in any subject area - or across them - to really push student reasoning and logic. You could introduce hexagons at the beginning of a unit of study, and adjust the connections as you go, or use them at the end to review and solidify thinking as Stephanie did. You could also leave the hexagonal connections posted in your classroom throughout a unit and ask students to write out their justification for or disagreement with specific connections. There are SO many possibilities for deep, critical thinking with this. 

Shapes and words in the hands of a skilled teacher and eager students. What a beautiful thing.

Here's to simply teaching well,

No comments

Post a Comment