Hot Seat

Teaching Tip #18

What is "Hot Seat"?

This is where a student plays the role of a character or person, and answers questions from an audience of classmates.
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What happens when a student takes the "hot seat"?

The student in the "hot seat" is interviewed by their classmates and they must be on their feet. The student in the "hot seat" must think quickly and effectively to answer the given question while role playing their given character or figure. They are asked all kinds of questions. Students in the audience must ask questions based on the character or person the student in the hot seat is portraying. Both sides have a responsibility of being knowledgable about the character and/or topic.

Students gain a deeper understanding, practice questioning, and develop public speaking skills.

How is "hot seat" implemented in the classroom?

The teacher can have students take turns going into the "hot seat" one at a time and having a whole class discussion, or students can break up into small groups and designate one person at a time to be in the "hot seat". The teacher can give students in the audience questions to ask, or have students brainstorm questions on their own.


1. Learn about the character.

2. Create a costume.

3. Prepare opening remarks.

4. Introduce the character.

5. Ask questions and make comments.

6. Summarize the ideas.

When is "Hot Seat" used in the classroom?

This strategy can be used during a unit or during or after reading a story. Students can role-play after learning about their character or figure. Multiple students can even participate in a "hot seat" conversation where there is more than one person role-playing. "Hot Seat" can also take place after students have been assigned a certain figure or character to research. This can be their way of presenting what they have learned.

Examples of "Hot Seat"

Student answers questions as...

-Historical Figures

  • Harriet Tubman, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jackie Robinson, etc.

-Characters in a book/novel

  • Goldilocks, Cinderella, Robin Hood, Melody from Out of My Mind, Miss Agnes, etc.

Teachers can encourage their students to be CREATIVE! Students can dress up as their character or figure, bring in props, and more!

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Checkout these awesome ideas and way of implementing Hot Seat in the classroom!

What grades would this be appropriate for?

This strategy is most appropriate for grades 3-8. However, I think it could be adapted for any grade! This is great for students to develop their questioning, critical thinking, and holds each student accountable to being knowledgable about the content. This is helpful and beneficial for any grade level.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

-Students present information clearly and coherently.

-Students keep appropriate eye contact with the audience.

-Student integrate visual or multimedia displays into their presentation.

Students use their information they've learned from reading literature or nonfiction books for their oral presentation.