Collaboration and Movement using Four corners
Four Corners is a common classroom technique to get students out of their seats while giving them a lot of information in one class. In this activity, student groups work on a particular topic or activity in each corner of the classroom. Four Corners can be adapted easily to fit a variety of teaching and learning needs.
This week’s Teacher’s Corner offers a lesson that uses Four Corners to promote collaboration and encourage movement to keep class lively and active. In groups, students will be assigned a grammar point and work together to prepare an activity to teach the grammar point to each other.
Beginning and above
During this activity, students will be able to:
- Teach classmates a grammar point they have been working on in class
- Collaborate with classmates to develop a way to teach the assigned grammar point
- Large pieces of paper for each group
- Divide the class into four groups.
o If the class is large, this activity can be done in any number of groups. One option is to have eight groups; four groups work with each other and the other four groups work together. In this scenario, you only need four grammar points.
o Alternatively, eight groups could be assigned and all groups interact with each other. For this scenario, you would need to prepare eight different grammar points.
- Choose the grammar points you would like learners to focus on, based on what you have done in class.
o For example, grammar points could include the formation of Wh- questions, auxiliary verbs, third-person singular, plural nouns, etc. In short, choose anything that is level appropriate for your students and has already been taught in class.
- On each big piece of paper, write one of the grammar points at the top. Each piece should have a different point.
- Hang the paper in the corners of the room or the areas where groups will be sitting.
1. Start class by telling students that today they will work in groups to create a review activity for a grammar point they have been studying.
a. Explain that to do this each group will be assigned a corner of the room and a grammar point.
b. Using the big piece of paper hanging in their corner, students will write the answers to the following questions (listed on the board) on their grammar point:
- How is this grammar structure formed? What are the rules for the form?
- When is it used?
- Give an example of the grammar structure as it is used in a sentence.
2. Put the students into their assigned groups and send them to their corners to respond to the questions. Tell students that they have 5-7 minutes to write their answers.
3. Circulate around the room as students work in their corners and answer any questions they might have.
4. Bring the students’ attention back to you to explain the next steps.
5. Tell students they will have 10 minutes to come up with a way to teach this grammar point to other groups. They can be as creative as they wish, but the game or activity will need to be completed in 5 minutes. Here are some possibilities:
a. Students could simply go through the information they have written on their pieces of paper and then ask each group that they teach to come up with their own examples.
b. Students could also invent a game that would help classmates practice the grammar point.
6. Give students time to work on the activity in their groups, and circulate around the room answering questions and checking in on students.
7. Once students have completed their activity plan, bring their attention back together as a group to explain the next steps.
8. First, give each student in each group a number from one to four.
9. Tell students all groups will rotate clockwise around the room to practice a new grammar point. For the first rotation, students assigned the number one will stay in their spots to teach the grammar point and present the activity to the other group that moves to their corner.
a. The papers hanging in the corners or group areas help to remind the students who are rotating which grammar point they will be learning about.
10. Remind students that they only have 5 minutes at each paper. When the time is up, the teacher can clap hands to signal the end of the round.
11. Students will then have 1 minute to reorganize so that a new presenter takes over the task and the groups can rotate to the next corner.
12. For the second rotation, the students assigned the number two will return to their original corners to present their activity, and the other groups will rotate once again. Continue this process for each subsequent rotation.
13. The activity is complete when all groups have visited each corner.
14. Wrap up the activity with a class discussion on examples each student came up with at each corner.
a. If short on time, this could be done in the form of exit tickets with each student writing an example for each grammar point on a piece of paper and submitting it before leaving class.
This activity can be adapted to fit any time constraints the class might have. Instead of having each group prepare and present an activity, they could work to answer the questions listed on the board. After each group answers the questions, the rotation could start. Each group rotates together to the next corner to read about the grammar point and add their own example to the paper. After 2-3 minutes, the groups rotate again moving to the next corner. This adaptation can also be used so that all groups stay together and a student presenting doesn’t miss out on information offered at one corner.