Once engaging in Professional Learning with Jamie, Olivia, Tess and Alex, I endeavoured to undertake this thinking process in Kindergarten Gold.
In Kindergarten next term the topic for history is ‘People Live in Places’. I used Hexagonal Thinking as a way of making connections between students prior knowledge and paving a way for the direction of the unit next term.
As this was the first time for my students and I to engage in Hexagonal Thinking, I began with a brainstorm. This was completed through a ‘think, pair, share’ and then recorded on the whiteboard. I ensured students understood that there is no right/wrong answer. The dialogue that students engaged in was very interesting to listen to as they provided reasoning to their classmates.
Once completing the brainstorm, I explained to students that each of them would receive a hexagon and I would like them to write/draw their word. I encouraged them to write the first word that came to mind for the topic. Before writing their answer, I asked students to share their answer with a friend and tell them why they are writing their answer. This was a valuable step for me as it allowed me to understand why students thought of each of these words and it provided students to draw on prior experiences and make connections. During the process of recording on the hexagons, I visited each child at their desks to ask about their topic. I would ask them questions about why they have chosen this word, requiring students to justify why it is relevant to the topic.
As students finished writing/drawing their idea, they came to the floor with their hexagon and sat in a circle. As a class, we started with one hexagon and when I said the word on the hexagon out loud, students were invited to hand me their hexagon if they thought there could be a connection. I would ask students to justify their connection and we would discuss as a class if this connection could be used or make suggestions for where the hexagon would be a better fit. This provided my class with an opportunity to think critically about the connections they we were creating. Once connecting all the hexagons, we discussed the outcome we have created, summarised what the topic may be about and a possible direction for an interest in learning. It was clear that many students wanted to learn more about the Natural and Man-made environments.
I found this activity very beneficial to gain an understanding of my students prior knowledge. Throughout the activity, it was clear that my students enjoyed making connections between their answers and it was great to see them justifying their connections to the class. I plan on using this Hexagonal Mapping to create meaningful lessons for students and to use this process with my grade partners to make connections between the English Outcomes in order to provide cross curricular activities. It encouraged students to think critically about the connections made, use prior knowledge and make connections with the real world. It was very beneficial and I look forward to building on my skills to conduct this in the classroom and to continue to implement this thinking process in the classroom.