Students take a stance on a topic or statement by using to stand in a corner of the room. Each corner represents a different opinion:
• Strongly agree
• Strongly disagree
To prepare, write statements in a definitive manner. Controversial statements evoke more varied responses. Label each corner of the room with a sign stating strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree. Engage the students in the strategy by sharing the first controversial statement. Students may first be required to write a short passage explaining their position on the topic. Then students report to the corner of the room that best matches their personal viewpoint.
The teacher can randomly call on students in each corner to share why they chose the given position. Otherwise, each corner’s group can discuss the statement and develop a collective response to be shared. Alternatively, the teacher can assign different groups to debate each other. For example, the agree and disagree students can debate while the strongly agree and strongly disagree students do the same. Another option is to have each group research their position and present a persuasive speech to the rest of the class supporting their position. After the groups have shared their information, it is interesting to repeat the activity with the same controversial statement. Have students reflect on their position now, and if it has changed.
The four corners teaching strategy also can be adapted into a simple game format that allows all students the opportunity to move around the classroom. For this modification, label the four corners of the room one, two, three and four. Also make four slips of paper that are labeled with the corresponding numbers. Have all students go to a corner of the classroom. The teacher draws a numbered slip of paper and asks a question to the given corner. If the students in the corner are able to answer the question correctly, students move around the room to another corner. If the students answered incorrectly, all students in that corner must return to their seats. Play continues until one student wins the game.
Another option is to use the four corners strategy for multiple choice questions. With this option, label each corner A, B, C or D. Ask a question and give four options. Students report to the option they believe is correct. All students who chose the right answer continue to play while others take their seats.