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The Six Thinking Hats -- A Teachers Resource Guide to

Using the Six Hats in Your Classroom

Developed and Presented at the Second Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Undergraduate Scholars Conference
by
Kathleen Drevitch, Rae Lynn Kosarik, Jennifer Minner, Sarah Steele

Table of Contents
Introduction

How to teach The Six Hats to your students

The Six Hats Authentic Assessment

Integration of The Six Hats in other content areas

Constructing your own Six Hats Key Ring

Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats is a tool that has been used by people in the business world and
the educational community. This methodology of thinking was invented by Dr. Edward De
Bono. He is considered an expert in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of
thinking as a skill. He has written sixty-two books which have been translated into thirty-seven
languages. Dr. de Bono has earned, (M.D., Ph.D.), degrees in medicine, psychology, physiology,
and philosophy, and Rhodes Scholar. He has held faculty positions at the universities of Oxford,
Cambridge, London, and Harvard.
Dr. de Bonos Six Thinking Hats is a tool that can empower teachers of any grade and
or subject matter to motivate students to use critical thinking and problem solving skills, while
expressing inner creativity. You can teach the Six Hats to your students by focusing on a
specific thinking skill. Students associate the colored hats with key words and questions that will
direct or redirect their thinking resulting in a richer learning experience. By implementing the
Six Hats to every lesson, teachers can help students explore their own potential by taking an
active role in their learning and enhance their creative thinking!

The Six Thinking Hats (by Dr. Edward de Bono) -- How to teach the Six Hats
to your students!

Materials:
1. White, red, yellow, black, green, blue poster board for Six Hats
2. White, red, yellow, black, green, blue shower curtains
3. Magnets for the back of the hats (optional)
Getting Started:
1. Before teaching the hats, you need to construct all of your hats. Cut out six hats from the
poster board.
2. 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.
Procedures:
Day One:
1. 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?
2. Introduce a new hat to the children each day. This way they wont be overwhelmed.

3. 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.
4. 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.)
Day Two:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Day Three:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. When dismissing the children, ask them white, red, and black hat questions to see if they
can say which color hat question that is.
Day Four:
1. Review the white, red, and black hats. Ask the students to tell you if you are asking
white, red, or black hat questions.

2. 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.
3. 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.

Day Five:
1. Review the white, red, black, and yellow hats. Have the students ask questions and tell
what hat question they asked.
2. 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.
3. Have the children begin asking green hat questions to their classmates.
4. 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.
Day Six:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. When dismissing the class, ask a few students to create a blue hat question.
Day Seven: Culminating Experience
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Everyone should have a turn. Let the children know that if they are struggling, they can
ask for help.
Tips:
1. Do this at the end of the day. The children get very excited and motivated.
2. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes at the end of the day for the HATS.
3. Suggested time is about seven days, one hat per day and a culminating experience.
4. Ask about five questions when teaching each hat. If they do not seem to understand,
wait and ask more questions.
5. 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.
6. Each day remember to put out the new shower curtain hat.
7. This works with any age level. My second graders really understood and used the
concept!
8. Have fun, and do not be afraid! Jump right in!
The Six Thinking Hats

White Hat
The White Hat calls for
information known or
needed.

Black Hat
The Black Hat is
judgment-the devil's
advocate or why
something may not work.

Red Hat
The Red Hat signifies
feelings, hunches, and
intuition.

Green Hat
The Green Hat focuses on
creativity: possibilities,
alternatives, and new
ideas.

Yellow Hat
The Yellow Hat
symbolizes values and
benefits and why
something may work.

Blue Hat
The Blue Hat is used to
manage the thinking
process.

Introduction: Construct the six different colored hats out of large pieces of construction paper.
On each of the hats, choose a word that describes the types of questions each hat focuses on. For
example, the White Hat calls for information known or needed, so Facts is a good word to
place on the White Hat. Some examples for the other hats are as follows:
Red Hat- Feelings
Black Hat- Caution
Yellow Hat- Benefits
Green Hat- Creative
Blue Hat- Thinking about Thinking
Display The Six Thinking Hats in the room for the students to see. This will immediately
get the students thinking, without anything even being said. They will have many questions right
from the start. Prior to each week, construct hats for each child in the class. For example, a White
Hat (with facts written on it) will be made for each child during the first week. A Red Hat
(with feelings written on it) will be made the second week and so on.
Procedures:
Day one of each week: Explain to the students that the hats are going to help them to think on a
higher level. Briefly introduce the hats, utilizing the word placed on each hat. Choose a subject
that can easily incorporate the hats. Science is a good example. Then pick a topic, relating to that
subject, to base the questions on. The relating top may be insects. Explain to the students that

over the next six weeks, at the beginning of science class, they are going to learn a new thinking
hat. Begin by teaching the White Hat. Share some sample White Hat questions with the
students and allow them to respond. One question may be, What insect does a caterpillar turn
into? Another question may be, What are the three main body parts of an insect?
After giving sample questions, tell the students that they will receive their very own hat, if they
ask a White Hat question correctly. Give them time to think of a question. Next, have them
ask their questions to the class. Have the others students signal thumbs up or thumbs down.
If correct, place a White Hat on their head. If wrong, guide the student to think of a better
question. Then give them their hat. This is a good way to informally assess each of them.
Day Two of each week: On the following day, give each child an index card with their name on
it. Explain to them that they will play a round of Hat Tricks. Have them work with a partner to
think of a White Hat question. Give them a few minutes to come up with one. Go around the
room and have students ask their questions. Again, have the rest of the class signal whether or
not the question is accurate. If correct, give each child a stamp. Repeat until all students have
their turn
Do this on the second day for each of the six hats. During the first week of teaching the hats,
only White Hat questions can be asked. Once more hats are introduced; different colored hat
questions can be incorporated. The teacher can ask a variety of hat questions and the students
will have to identify which color hat the question asks. Every time a student answers correctly,
give them another stamp on their stamp card. After the six weeks are finished, count the total
number of stamps on student cards. The student with the most stamps will win a Top Hat
Prize.

The Six Hats Authentic Assessment

Directions: Place a check beside the appropriate hat color question that the student answered.
Integrating Six Thinking Hats into every lesson deepens comprehension and allows students to
take an active role in learning.

Students Name

White

Yellow

Black

Red

Green

Blue

Hat

Hat

Hat

Hat

Hat

Hat

Sample Reading Lesson

The following is an example of how Six Thinking Hats might be incorporated into a daily
lesson.
RATIONAL AND BACKGROUND
The reason for teaching the lesson is to give students a better understanding of how important
interacting with text can enhance comprehension, expand vocabulary, model fluent reading and
enhance oral language.

LESSON OBJECTIVES
TLW The learner will develop an understanding of how to interact with Cloudy with a Chance
of Meatballs.
P.I. When presented with the story the students will verbally answer preset questions that fall
under each of the Six Thinking Hats. This is an individual activity during the lesson.
TLW The learner will enjoy read-aloud anthology Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
P.I. While listening to the story, the student will be able to monitor his or her own
comprehension as they hear the story read aloud.
TLW be able to describe what they are picturing in their heads as the story was being read to
them. This is an individual activity during the lesson.
TLW The learner will display his or her understanding of listening comprehension.
P.I. When given a piece of paper the student will draw a picture of his or her favorite part of the
story then verbally explain what they drew to the class. This is an individual activity that is done
after instruction.
STANDARDS
Connection to State Standard: The Pennsylvania Department of Education Academic Standards
for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening that is appropriate to this reading lesson is 1.6.3
A. Listen to others
1

Ask questions to aide understanding.

Connection to State Standard: The Pennsylvania Department of Education Academic Standards


for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening that is appropriate for this reading lesson is 1.6.3
B. Listen to a selection of literature (Fiction)
2

Relate it to similar experiences.

Predict what will happen next.

Identify and define new words and concepts.

Connection to State Standard: The Pennsylvania Department of Education Academic Standards


for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening that is appropriate for this reading lesson is 1.6.3

D. Contribute to discussion
5

Asks relevant questions.

Respond with appropriate information or opinions to questions asked.

Identify and define new words and concepts

Display appropriate turn-taking behaviors.

RESOURCES & MATERIALS


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Read-Aloud Anthology
Vocabulary words
Overhead transparency
Umbrella
Paper and crayons
Teacher model
CONCEPTS
The students learn how interacting with text that they are reading can enhance
comprehension, fluency and vocabulary.
PROCEDURES (Part A)
A. Motivation & Introduction
1. Tell students I have an object inside my think bag. Your task will be to guess what the
object is inside my bag. Just reach your hand inside the bag and touch the object, no
peeking! The object inside the bag will be the topic of todays lesson. Once you touch the
object, I want you to make a prediction as to what the object is. Please do not shout out what
you think the object might be. Keep it to yourself until everyone has had a chance. After
predictions are made, I will reveal my umbrella.

Activate Prior Knowledge


1. Discuss the weather. Ask students
(white hat) when do you use an umbrella? A
student might respond by saying when it is raining outside.
(blue hat) Why would you
wanted to use and umbrella and or rain coat? A student might respond by saying to keep
you dry. Next, the teacher asks students if they have ever played in the rain? If so
(red hat) how does the rain feel when it hits your hand? A student might respond by saying
it feels wet.
LESSON BODY
BEFORE READING
1. The teacher tells students that today they are going to need to put on their thinking caps
and listening ears because I am going to read them a story called Cloudy with a Chance
of Meatballs.
2.

Next the teacher asks students


(green hat) or
(blue hat) what do you think this story
will be about just by hearing its title? A student responds by saying it sounds like it is a
book about raining meatballs.

GENRE
3. The teacher explains to students that a fantasy is a form of fiction that contains
characters, settings and events that are not realistic. In this story meatballs rain instead of
water.
EXPAND VOCABULARY
4. The teacher introduces students to the following words before reading either on the board
or overhead
Varied- Includes many different forms or kinds
Abandon- to leave a place because of danger
Stale- No longer fresh
SET PURPOSE FOR READING
5. The teacher tells students You will have to listen to find out what happens to a town
when it rains food.

DURING READING
6. The teacher begins reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
7. The teacher says, Now you need to put on your thinking caps and listening ears. The
teacher reads paragraph one aloud to students then asks the following question.
(
yellow hat) What are some benefits of eating breakfast? A student might respond by saying
you wont be hungry until lunch.
8. The teacher reads on until paragraph four and asks students. "How many of you like to
read before bed time, raise your hand.
(yellow hat) If so what is you favorite bed time
story?" A student might respond by saying Cinderella.
9. After reading paragraph five the teacher models think aloud for the students by saying
the following, Ive never heard of a town called Chewandswallow! It sounds like,
chew and swallow. I think this is the beginning of a fantasy story that grandpa told me
last night.
10. The teacher reads on to paragraph seven. The teacher then asks student the following
question.
(green hat) "How do you think the people who lived in Chewandswallow
might catch their food from the sky?" A student might respond by saying they catch the
food in huge dishes. When the dishes are full the people take the food they need and put
it in containers and zip lock bags.
11. The teacher reads on to paragraph nine. The teacher asks students the following
question: "If it never rains or snows,
(black hat) what problems do you think it would
pose to the plants and or people of Chewandswallow?" A student would respond by
saying people and plants wouldnt get the water that they need.
12. The teacher reads to paragraph fourteen. The teacher points out the word know what the
word varied. Varied means many different forms or kinds.
13. The teacher reads on to paragraph sixteen. The teacher asks student if they know what
the Frankfurters are. Student might respond by naming different foods; the teacher tells
students they are another name for hotdogs. They were called Frankfurter because they
were founded in the 1800s by a butcher who lived in Frankfurt, Germany.
14. After reading paragraph eighteen the teacher models think aloud for the students by
saying the following, Notice how the author is describing meals like a weather report I
would only hear on the nightly news! This makes a strange towns weather seem very
funny.
15. The teacher reads paragraph twenty. Next the teacher asks student the following
question.

(red hat) "How do

you think you would feel if you were hit by a raining hot

dog, hamburger, or meatball?" A student might respond by saying it might hut,


especially if it is falling through the sky quickly.
16. The teacher reads paragraph twenty-six. The teacher asks students the following
question.
(blue hat) "Why do you think the weather is changing in Chewandswallow?"
A student might respond by saying maybe its globe warming.
17. The teacher reads paragraph thirty the teacher models think aloud for the students by
saying the following, "I was able to picture in my mind the mess in this town. I know
how squishy tomatoes can be, so I can imagine what a mess a whole tornado-worth of
them would make!
18. The teacher reads paragraph thirty-two. Next the teacher points out the vocabulary word
abandon. The teacher asks students if they remembered
means? A student responds by saying means to leave.

(white hat) what abandon

19. The teacher reads paragraph thirty-three. Next the teacher points out the vocabulary
word stale. The teacher asks students what does stale mean. A student responds not
fresh.
hard.

(red hat) "How does

a stale loaf of bread feel?" A student responds by saying

The teacher reads paragraph thirty-seven. The teacher asks students the following
(blue hat) "What do you think happened to the little town
question.
Chewandswallow?" A student might respond by saying it turn into a garbage dump.
21. The teacher reads paragraph Forty-one. The teacher asks students if someone never read
(blue hat) what would you tell them
the story Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
about the story? A student might respond by saying it is about two little kids who are
staying with their Grandpa and he cooks them breakfast, but at night he tells them a story
about a little town name Chewandswallow. The town has raining food, but the weather
turns severe, and the people leave the town. Then the kids wake up and go sled riding.
AFTER READING
22. Retell: The teacher will have students draw a picture of their favorite part of the story,
then stand up in front of the class and describe their picture. The teacher will show
students a model that she created.
23. The teacher passes out paper and crayons.
24. After students create their drawings, they will share them with the class.

LESSON CLOSURE
Review statement for the closing of the lesson is the following: "In todays lesson we
learned how to be good listeners and interact while being read too. I have modeled how to think
out loud when you read a story. When you interact while reading, you will remember what you
have read or what someone read to you. All of you did a super job!

Constructing Your Own Six Hat Key Ring

Materials Needed
One sheet of the following colors of construction paper: white, red, black, yellow, green, and
blue.
Metal ring (that opens and closes)
Hole punch
Copy Six Hats words and questions
Scissors
Pencil
Hat pattern

Directions
1.

Trace the hat pattern on each piece of paper, white, red, blue yellow, black and green.

2. Cut out the hats from each piece of color paper. (You should have: one white, red, blue
yellow, black and green hat.)
3. Cut out the words and questions from each of the boxes on the next page.
4. Glue words on the front of the hat and questions on the back of the hat. (Make sure the
words and question correspond with the correct hat color.)
5. Take the hole punch and punch a hole in the left corner of each hat.
6. Place hats in this order: white, red, black, yellow, green, and blue.
7. Put hats on the metal ring.
8. Optional: If you want your hats to last, laminate them!

Six Hats Words and Questions for Key Ring

Front of the Hat

Back of the Hat

WHITE HAT
FACTS
INFORMATION
RESEARCH NEEDED

Front of the Hat


RED HAT
FEELINGS
EMOTIONS

HUNCHES
INTUITION

Who? What? When? Where?


What do you know about?
What are the facts about?

Front of the Hat


What are your feelings now?
Did your feelings change? How?
What is your hunch about?
What does your intuition tell you?

Front of the Hat

What should you be cautious about?

BLACK HAT
CAUTION

Front of the Hat

RISKS

What are the consequences of?

JUDGMENT

Front of the Hat

Back of the Hat


What are the benefits of?

YELLOW HAT
BENEFITS
VALUE

GOOD

What is good about?


What is a positive outcome of?

STRENGTHS

Back of the Hat


Front of the Hat

What if?
Can you create other ways to do this?

GREEN HAT
CREATIVITY
PREDICTING

How would you solve the problem?

NEW IDEAS
BRAINSTORMING

Front of the Hat


BLUE HAT
SUMMARIZING METACOGNITION

THINKING ABOUT THINKING

Back of the Hat


Why? Explain? Summarize?
What is the main idea?

Six Thinking Hats


Pattern for the Key Ring

http://www.learnerslink.com/scholar's_conference.htm. access date July 18, 2007.