Corners Strategy – A verbal and active method to check for understanding

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The Four Corners Strategy, a simple verbal strategy that engages students and improves discussion and discourse is the Four Corners Strategy. Four Corners is a class exercise where a question is asked, and students have time to consider their answers. The question will be answered by students standing in the designated area of the room to answer the question. It would be best if you allowed each corner of your classroom to have an answer choice. Students will then reflect on their answers and move to the designated corners of the room after posing their questions. The Four Corners Strategy can be used to stimulate debate and discussion in the classroom, as well as to see students’ differing ideas. You can encourage students to be more critical about their answers and give them reasons for their choices by asking more open-ended questions.

How to implement the Four Corners Strategy in your classroom?

  1. You will need to prepare a question that has four correct answers. These should be related to the lesson content and the purpose of the check for understanding. Your questions should be designed to elicit an open-ended answer. Students may give more than one answer option depending on their justification.
  2. Display the question on the projector screen, or read it aloud.
  3. Instruct students about four locations in the room that represent each answer. The students should choose the location in the classroom that best represents them.
  4. Encourage participation at 100% and remind students that they can make their own decisions and not be influenced by others.
  5. Each answer choice will have at least one student who can defend it verbally. Or, groups may discuss the reasons for their choices.
  6. To deepen your understanding, encourage discussion and debate among groups whenever possible.

Closed Responses

For Four Corners, the teacher could use closed responses if there is only one correct answer to a question. However, this approach is not usually used for Four Corners.

The Student Respond System is a better choice for fast responses.

However, you can implement closed responses within Four Corners Strategy. This is how it might look:

A teacher of third-grade math displays a polygon that has the lengths of each side marked and asks students for the perimeter. The teacher offers four answers and asks students to stand in the corner to represent their chosen letter.

Assessment: She may use a data tracker to mark students who miss an answer quickly. This will help determine their overall accuracy rate once all questions have been answered. Closed questions are unlikely to provide accurate data because students who choose a wrong answer could see that many others are choosing the same answer. This could make them more inclined to follow their peers.

Open Responses

Four Corners uses open responses as the standard response format. This assumes that the question could be answered correctly using any four options. The teacher can then count student responses and ask students to support their arguments with evidence or rules that relate to the content of the day.

Best used when

Students who need to show their reasoning and justification skills are the best candidates for this strategy. It is most effective when all four answers are correct depending on how you interpret the question. It helps students improve their communication skills and allows them to see other perspectives they might not have thought of before.

The Four Corners Strategy may not be required for justification activities. However, it allows students to interact with the content in a different way and encourages them to have more genuine discussions. You can include it in your various methods of understanding and add it to your course as an extra valuable activity.


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Hello there! I am Anna and welcome to my work of passion CPS Magnet. I am highly concerned about our future generations and their level of knowledge, which is why I am very invested in their education as well through this blog. Have a good read!


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