7 hexagons that each have a picture of world masterpiece
K-12, Teaching Tools

Pictorial Hexagons for Hexagonal Thinking

I just added a new, free Google Slides template on the Downloads for Teachers page: Pictorial Hexagons. Last Saturday morning, I did my “Harnessing Hexagons” workshop virtually with some Northside ISD teachers, and I was so blown away by the pictorial hexagons they created during the workshop that I asked if I could share them here on the blog. Then I realized that it wouldn’t be fair to readers if I didn’t also share the template, so I cleaned it up a bit and added some directions so you could download it as well if you like.

In my “Harnessing Hexagons” workshop, teachers learn how to use Hexagonal Thinking in their classrooms for: introducing, making meaning and reviewing, assessing, and reflecting. If you are new to Hexagonal Thinking, here is one of my many blog posts explaining how I used it with Tuck Everlasting with my 4th graders.

I also like to use HT for introducing. You can use it to introduce students to each other, as I describe in this post, or you can use it to introduce a topic or unit. One way to do the latter is to use pictorial hexagons (sometimes called, “visual” hexagons — but I feel like they are all visual whether using pictures in them or not, so I decided to rename them). When I use these, I give students a static group of hexagons like the one below, and ask them to look for connections between the pictures. When you do HT, hexagons that are connected by a side or vertex should have something in common.

So, one of my students might look at the skeleton and car pictures, and say they both have bodies. We continue in that vein for a couple of minutes. Eventually, I ask students if they can think of what all of the pictures might have in common with the middle one since they are all connected to it, and they would hopefully eventually come to the conclusion that they are all systems, which is what my next unit is all about.

Since I like to give “make and take” time during my workshops, the teachers get to make some of these that would apply to their own classrooms, and here are some of the ones that they offered as examples (see if you can guess their overall themes — answers at the bottom of this post!):

submitted by Natalia C. of NISD
submitted by Belinda G. of NISD
submitted by Samantha S. of NISD
submitted by Lizette G. of NISD

In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I have had this lesson completely crash on me before, so you may want to read about how not to do it before you give it a try!

Thanks to all of the teachers who spent their Saturday morning with me (including teachers from our past sessions last semester!)! I can’t wait to hear how you use HT with your students. Here are the answers for the clusters above: communication over generations, volume (for math class), World War II, and Productive Struggle in PBL Building a Boat.

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