Four Corners: Vocab Review Game


May 14, 2011 by k. liz

Well – I know that I mentioned that this failed in this post, but I’ve since made a few adjustments, and it did end up being really fun. It would probably be really fun for YLs also as I did have the select few who are “too cool for games” standing around the sides of the room refusing to participate. Ah, their loss! So – here’s what I did. (I’m sure this is a variation, or maybe a complete copy of someone else’s game, but I am not purposefully stealing it from anyone, I promise!)

First, I created a keynote template and just copied and pasted my slides for as many questions as I wanted to include.

This saved me a lot of time!! My suggestion when making games with keynote is to create one slide, insert all of your animations and text boxes and everything, and then to copy and paste the slides. Then, you will only have to change the text and voila – you only spent the 5 minutes adding animations to your first slide, not the two hours to insert animations on  e v e r y  s i n g l e  s l i d e. (Note: if you are inserting pictures, then you will need to add animations to every slide. With text, you can just change the words, but with new pictures you will need to complete the animation insertion every time.) So, this is what my keynote looked like:

Next, I cleared out the room and put three chairs in each corner. I explained to my students that the corners in the room correlated to the corners on the screen. So green was the front left corner, blue – the front right corner, etc. Next, I told them that only the first three people to sit in the correct chairs would get points. This ended up being really fun in some classes as the students got really animated and excited. I had students dragging chairs to the right corner when the other three were full. I had students sitting on their friends’ laps. I had students boxing out and pushing other students away. It was great.

Now, a few thoughts on the activity:

1. I had originally tried this as a team game. The students were in groups of three, and they got 5 points for every teammate in a correct chair, and -3 points for every teammate in an incorrect chair. This was a headache for me to try to keep track of points without spending 2 minutes accounting for every student in between slides. The individual game worked much better.

2. I realize that this game only tests the knowledge of the speed-readers in the class, and shortly the other students are just following the “smart” students. However, I feel that I combatted this problem by giving short definitions. Really, most of the students were reading the screen and making the choice for themselves. Granted, they were not always completely processing the information, but I do believe they were reading and thinking a little.

3. There are some students who would just camp out in a corner and ended up with a conveniently nice lot of points just because they were luckily in the correct corner. I did not have time to make this adjustment, but I think that this could be easily countered by having a circle of masking tape in the middle of the room. If you are not inside the circle before I change the slide, you can’t get any points. Or, you could also have chairs in the middle – anything that requires the students to come back to the middle of the room.

This game came about as a combination of the four-corners game I had played as a child, and a game I recently read about. I’m sorry I do not remember the source I was reading (if you know, please leave a link in the comments!) But, I read about a four corners game in which the teacher assigned several students to be “liars.” This forced the rest of the students to think for themselves and not just follow the crowd. I really liked this idea, but I don’t think my students would keep it a secret if they were the liar, so I bypassed this option. This could be more of a slow thinking game, but we had spent a good part of the week reviewing for the midterm, and this fast-paced racing game was really fun, and a good chance for the students to get up and burn some energy while at least seeming that they were thinking through their vocabulary words.

My favorite memory from this game, although it does prove the point that I did not teach this vocabulary word very well:

Without fail, the majority of my students ran to the green corner and fought over the chairs. Then, they all looked at me in complete shock when I told them they were wrong!

Please let me know your thoughts on this game, and if you use it. Enjoy!


5 thoughts on “Four Corners: Vocab Review Game

  1. Carissa says:

    I used to do four corners when I was younger!!! U actually really like this idea. I have a bunch of random vocab games here: I use for English, and most of them involve running around, but I had never thought of using four corners for vocab (we always did it for opinion…like… how you feel about vegetarians: awesome, ok, stupid, who cares, or BASIC comprehension “go to the corner that has a color you are wearing etc.

  2. Have you tried having the students wait in the center for “think time” while they decide where they’re going? They can’t leave the center of the room until you say the word “go” otherwise, they’re out. This may be a way to give those students that need that extra time to read, comprehend and decide the answer the time they need! Thank you so much for this post. It was exactly what I was looking for! And your slides are beautiful!

  3. duslav1 says:

    I would love a copy of your keynote…thanks for sharing!!

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