Squaring Off and Four Corners are two instructional strategies that have been utilized and modified for years by good teachers. These strategies coupled with opportunities for collaboration, high-level questioning, writing, and reflection can serve as powerful ways to engage your class in a new topic, an ambiguous concept, or a controversial subject. These strategies can also be used as a means of formative assessment to gauge student understanding or as a pre-assessment to determine what students know versus what they think they know.
Place a card in each corner of the room with the following phrases: Dirt Road, Paved Road, Highway, and Yellow Brick Road. Brainstorm with students the characteristics of each type of road and how each road represents a level of understanding. The dirt road would symbolize the lowest level of understanding where the yellow brick road would indicate an ability to teach others about the topic. Instruct students to go to the corner of the room that matches where they are in the new unit of study. You can use this activity to create cooperative learning groups, assess knowledge, and meet students where they are.
Like Squaring Off, this kinesthetic method of formative assessment allows students to move to a corner of the room labeled as “A, B, C, D,” “Yes/No,” “True/False,” “Agree, Disagree, Neutral,” etc. Students move to the corner that represents their response to a prompt. Teachers use this real-time information to make adjustments to instruction.