This very modified version of 4 Corners is one of my students all time favorite games; most days students ask to play when they walk in the door. It's easy to set up, can be used to get more repetitions on almost any topic, and it's fun! A round takes about 5 minutes (though you could draw it out); and it can be played many times. While I developed this version when working with elememtary students; I've also taught Middle School; and feel it can be used with older students as well. My 7th and 8th grade students love games for review, and it helps create a warm classroom environment. My students start playing it in Kindergarten, but still ask to play by the time they are in 3rd grade (and all the grades in between). Read on for directions below, and ways to modify the game under 'pro tips'.
Happily there is very little teacher prep for this game. All teachers need to do is label 4 different corners in the room with one of the following numbers: 1, 2, 3, or 4. Although I cheat a little and explain this to my Kindergarten students in a mix of Spanish and English (I teach this early in the year; and don't want to lose any of the littles beforw we've even really begun); I review instructions entirely in the TL (target language) for all grades (including K) after they learn it the first time. Each of the different spors in the room have both the number and the word in the TL. My signs read: 1 uno, 2 dos, 3 tres, and 4 cuatro. You may also want to come up with questions to ask students ahead of time; however I never do that as I already have in mind what structures, vocab, or past topic I want repeitions on. I actually developed most of this game for review in a Science class I taught, so it really can be used in any subject. Spanish is my favorite way to play, as students are able to stay in the TL the whole time.
Okay, so how do you play?
Please note that all gameplay is in the TL (target language; for me Spanish). I am going to give instructions in English so this can be used by any language teacher. There are tons of opportunities for repetitions on high frequency words!
One student is it; to sneak in extra vocab we call the person that is it "Sir (El señor for Spanish) or Miss (la señorita)" whatever you call them, they sit in a chair facing away from the classroom. The key here is that they cannot see the other players. I have my students sit in my big rocking chair, with a blanket on the back of the seat. This makes it hard for them to peek without being super obvious. The student that is "It" counts to 10 in the target language. During this time all other students sneak to any one of the four labeled locations (1, 2, 3 or 4). I always tell my students to be very quiet so the person that is "It" doesn't know where they are (it keeps things a little quieter). Students must reach their corner before the person who is "it" reaches the number 10. Students may not hide or switch corners after counting has stopped or they are out.
Once the person who is "it" has stopped talking; the following conversation happens between the teacher and student who is "it" in the TL.
Teacher : Do you want 1, 2, 3, or 4?
Student: I want 3 (or whatever number they choose).
All students in the corners not chosen are "safe" so on this example corners 1, 2, and 4 are safe. Most of the students at the chosen corner are out.
At this point the teacher asks the corner that is out whatever structure or vocab you want to review.
If students in the chosen corner know the answer they raise their hand (calling out the answer doesn't count as a correct answer; this allows me to sometimes ask "easy" questions and sometimes very challenging questions. I pick who gets to answer, so I can scaffold the question to any students ability level and everyone feels successful). The first person called on that answers correctly is "safe" everyone else in the corner is out. The person that is "it" (plus everyone sitting down that is "out" count to 10 again, and all students who are "in" choose a new corner (or stay at their old corner).
Gameplay continues in this manner until only 4 students are left. At that point I ask thr student who is "it" to give me 3 different numbers (to eliminate 3 different students). No "saving " question is given when a student is in a corner alone; so giving 3 numbers here eliminates 3 out of the 4 students left standing). Last person that is standing gets to be "it" next time we play. If they have already been it, they pick someone else to be "it".
What do the students who are out do?
When a student is out they help tue person who is "it" count. If they do a good job at this they may get to help me make up a question for students still in OR they may be able to get back in the game (this keeps them all paying attention). If nobody in the chosen corner knows the correct answer to the "saving question" I ask the students who are out for an answer, the first person with their hand raised to answer correctly is back in the game. Students who are out pay close attention to questions and try to answer them (in their head) when I ask students who are still playing so they are ready if a corner doesn't know the answer.
1)Vary question difficulty. Sometimes I keep it as simple as a 1 word translation, sometimes I tell a short story and ask them to translate or answer a question about it, sometimes I use PQA questions. The point is to vary difficulty so all stusenra can feel succesful and/or challenged.
2) Consider letting students who are out help you make uo questions. Even my young learners get very strategic and try to ask tricky questions that they know the answer to, this gets them really thinking about their Spanish.
3) My students are happy to play the basic version of the game, but there are many ways to modify:
I hope you and your students enjoy the game as much as I do with mine. I will seek parent permission in the fall to film a round. It is easier than it sounds, and a lot of fun! Have a question or modification? Leave it in the comments below! :)
Entering my 13th year in the classroom; I am a TPRS/CI Elementary Spanish Teacher. Passionate about TPRS/CI, Brain based learning, and using technology to bring the world to our students, and our students to the world.