Using 4 Corners to Review Just About Any Skill for Any Subject

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Have you ever played 4 corners in your classroom?

4 Corners review game is one of my favorites because it's low prep, easy to understand, and you can play it with just about anything.

What You Need To Play 4 Corners

You're about to see what I mean by low prep.  To play 4 corners, you will need...

  • 4 corners or clear spots in your room
  • word or photo labels for each corner
  • 2 or more players

Okay, that list seems like a joke, doesn't it!  But I had to write it out that way so you could understand just how low prep this review game is. 

You literally need 4 "corners" or clear spots in your room.  You can even use 5 or 6 or 3 corners depending on your skill or subject area.

And for the labels, I've been as fancy as printing off pre-made cutesy posters (like the flowers in the picture above where we just change out the pictures depending on the lesson or topic) or just scribbling out labels with the kids on construction paper.

I've played this game with small intervention groups of 5th graders, preschoolers in Sunday School, and a whole group of 25 first graders.  It works with any amount of kids and all ages!

How To Play 4 Corners

4 Corners is a review game.  So, you probably wouldn't want to use it to introduce new material unless you are just trying to assess what they know about a subject.  You want to do it in a lesson after you've introduced new skills as a review.

It's the perfect review game for wiggly kids or just kinesthetic learners who need to move! :)

First, you will go over each of the 4 ideas or skills that you will be posting in each corner.  Depending on my skill or subject I do this differently. 

If we are reviewing a story, I may hold us a picture of a character or part of the story and have kids tell me what it is.  Then, I will post it with kids in a corner of the room so they can see where it is going.

If we are reviewing vocabulary words, I would write the word on construction paper with kids, have them read the word, and then post it in the corner with them.

Once we have labeled all 4 corners of the room, we are ready to play.  We start by having kids stand up right where they are.  I call out a description of a character, a definition of a word, etc... and the kids move to the corner of the room that has the answer to my description or question.

Once they've made their choice, we discuss the question and answer until we all agree.  Sometimes, if kids go to more than one corner of the room, you will notice them start to move as you discuss the answer because they realize they made a mistake.

A few tips from experience...

  1. Have kids freeze until you say MOVE.  Keep them frozen for 5 seconds or so after you give the clue or question so everyone has think time and they aren't just following their friends.  (Some still WILL follow friends and that is okay.  The goal of this activity is repetition.  So, some of your friends just need to hear you say the question and answer over and over and that is fine for them right now.  They are building their confidence while getting the extra repetition they need.

  2. Change up how they move to the corners.  We don't run, but it is very hard to manage this if all they get to do is walk.  If you will just say, "This time HOP to the corner," and change it up for each question/clue, you will find very very few kids try to run and get out of control. :)

Ways To Use The 4 Corners Review Game

The ways to use this 4 corners review game are endless.  I have used it for every single subject area in first grade...

  • reading comprehension
  • Bible story review
  • phonics
  • parts of speech
  • types of writing
  • rhyming
  • vocab words & definitions
  • shapes
  • math operations
  • numerals (show a picture of objects to count)
  • odd/even (2 corners)
  • colors
  • animal classification
  • weather types
  • famous people
  • continents
  • landforms
  • states of matter
  • living/non-living (2 corners)
  • habitats
  • natural, capital, and human resources
And that list is just the start!

In my preschool Sunday School class we use this to review Bible stories with lots of characters to help the kids remember who is in the story. 

Like in this Esther unit, we play this game after each lesson because the same characters are in each of the stories!  And I have premade movement cards to draw before each question.

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