This cooperative learning activity is a favorite of both teachers and students because it is highly interactive. ELLs thrive in such a setting because often times they generally are more proficient in speaking English than in reading or writing it.
So what could it look like in a classroom?
Picture in each of the four corners a controversial quote on chart paper from the upcoming lesson. Students receive a handout with the quotes to assist them in taking a stand on the issue. ELLs would need to be able to see the quote beforehand so that they would be able to identify what position resonates with them. (Note: the use of chart paper is an approach I have used since not all students, ELL or not, are auditory.) Students have a couple of minutes to see which quote best represents their opinion. When they receive the signal from the teacher, students go to the corner with the quote that reflects their feelings on the issue.
Once in that corner with students who share the same feelings, they would enter into a discussion on their take on the topic. Students would take turns discussing and then writing down individual contributions on the topic on the chart paper. After the group's comments were noted, they would prepare to verbally share out their reactions with the rest of the class. EVERY student in each group would be accountable here to talk. This is a must for the ELL. S/he needs to talk. Now, since s/he has had time to explore the topic with like minded students, s/he would be prepared to share some of the issues her/his group touched on. If shyness enters the picture, s/he would have 6 or students around him who could support her/him in speaking out.
How does it benefit students, especially ELLs?
It moves students from conversational English to academic language. It activates those parts of the brain dedicated to higher thinking skills, encourages and scaffolds student attempts to reflect on course material and relate it their own lives, and offers an opportunity to enter into meaningful communication with their peers. ELLs need all of these skills.
DESCRIPTION OF 4 CORNERS ACTIVITY Here is a detailed description of what the activity is and its benefits.
STARTER ACTIVITIES FOR 4 CORNERSThis site offers more information on the activity along with some easy to follow directions on conducting the activity in class as well as some activities.
SAMPLE FOUR CORNERS ACTIVITY
(RAFT--mentioned in SAMPLE FOUR CORNERS LINK)
Would you like even more classroom application ideas? If yes, click here. There is also a link to RAFT which was mentioned without a description.
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