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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Four corners

How to use four corners

Four corners is forced-choice activity that can be used in a variety of subjects; it is especially useful when students are lethargic (for example after lunch) and need some purposeful physical movement to reenergize themselves in order to refocus.

For this activity the teacher thinks of four alternatives that have more or less equal appeal to the students. The teacher distributes 3x 5 cards to all students and asks them to record on the unlined side of the card the letter representing their choice of the four alternatives after she or he reads them aloud. On the lined side of the card students write three reasons for their choice.

After making their selection, students have three or four minutes to jot down their reasons. The teacher then asks them to assemble in the corner of the room (labelled A, B, C, or D) that corresponds to their choice. In each corner students form groups, ideally of three or four each, and exchange the reasons for their choice. After two or three minutes of exchange, representative students share reasons for their choices, students return to their seats, and the class resumes.

Copyright © 2007 WestEd. All rights reserved. From Quality Teaching for English Learners, by Aida Walqui and associates: www.WestEd.org/qtel.
Reprinted by permission of WestEd, San Francisco.

The benefits of four corners

  • Useful for building on prior knowledge
  • Can build oral language skills
  • The movement re-energises tired students

Published on: 03 Jun 2009