Four Corners, any way you like it!

So, I’ve promised myself that I’m really going to post more than two blog entries this year.  (Oops!)  I’ve been so excited about teaching this year with Comprehensible Input!  I went to some awesome conferences this summer and again this fall that really made me reexamine and solidify my philosophy around teaching with comprehensible input.  Based on what I learned, I’ll be writing about more concrete, specific activities that I’ve used, and that you can use, to increase comprehensible input in your foreign language classroom.

The goal of teaching a foreign language is communication, right?  When students first learn new language (vocab., structures, whatever you want to call it) it’s difficult to get them using the language in a personal way.  Furthermore, I don’t want to force my students to create output when they haven’t yet really acquired new terms.  But at the same time, I want them to interact with the language in an authentic, meaningful and personal way.  Queue the “Four Corners” activity.

In the corners of the room write 4 terms of measurement.  I typically use “always, a lot, a little, never” in the target language.  Then, I ask students personal questions using the new vocabulary/structures, incorporating as many cognates as I possibly can!  For example, I taught my students the other day “can hear” “can’t sleep” “how annoying” in Spanish.  I then asked them to stand up and move to the corner of the room that represented their answer.  Example statements/questions included:

  • I can hear the French class next door during our class.
  • At night, I can hear the TV in my house.  
  • I can hear the announcements in the morning (this varies for students, depending on how loud their advisory is!)
  • I can sleep with the TV on.  
  • I can sleep in Mr. M’s science class. 
  • When Miss G. makes me move around the classroom, I think “How annoying!” 😉

And I go on and on with as much comprehensible input as possible for as long as they seem engaged.  I also go around and ask them to explain a bit from time to time to check for comprehension.


Other examples of things you can put around the room in the 2 or 4 corners:

  • Love/Hate/Like/Don’t care
  • Always/Sometimes/Rarely/Never
  • Happy/Sad/Excited/Bored
  • Fruit/Vegetables/Meat/Other


This is a great first day of new vocabulary activity and it gets them moving if they’ve been sitting too long and have that glazed over look in their eyes.  You can even ask students to come up with some statements if you run out of ideas.  Then use them the next day!


What do you do for 2/4 corner activities?  I would love to hear your ideas.

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