If you have taken part in a Core Task Project training, then you know we typically start with the Four Corners activity. The website www.facinghistory.org does a nice job summarizing the move as follows:
A Four Corners Debate requires students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room. This activity elicits the participation of all students by requiring everyone to take a position. By drawing out students’ opinions on a topic they are about to study, it can be a useful warm-up activity. By asking them to apply what they have learned when framing arguments, it can be an effective follow-through activity. Four Corners can also be used as a pre-writing activity to elicit arguments and evidence prior to essay writing.
7th grade teacher Melanie Thomas explains how she uses Four Corners as a means of formative assessment. At minute 2:40 in the video, you can see Thomas use Four Corners with her students.
Maria Worley explains Four Corners here.
The West Virginia Department of Education outlines the approach here and links to several resources.
You can download a Word document of the approach from the Center for Teaching and Learning here.
About Aaron Grossman
I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary.
Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here).
In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador.
I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Corners is a great activity! I love using it to help spark discussion during novel units.