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I was talking with one of the Children’s Church teachers at church this week, and she told me, “No matter what fun, creative games I come up with, the kids just want to play four corners.” Four Corners is a super simple, super fun game, and I have adapted it a few ways to work in my elementary music classroom. Now, I am also adapting it for ways to play Four Corners from 6 feet away…. or virtual.
Because it’s October and I am still teaching from home.
Some of the ways to play Four Corners will work virtually or in person, and some will only work for one, but all of them are fun.
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First off…. How do we play Four Corners?
Four Corners is super fun, and super easy. You just tape pieces of paper that say 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the four corners of the room. (Alternatively, I have also just written a diagram on the board.)
One student stands in the middle, closes their eyes, and counts to ten.
While they are counting, the other students go to one of the four corners.
After the student counts to ten, they call out the number of one of the corners. All students in that corner sit down. So if they call corner 3, all students in corner 3 sit down.
Then the student in the middle counts again, and the remaining people go to other corners.
A few things:
- All students must be in a corner by 10. If not, they are out.
- When you get down to four people or less, have them all go to different corners.
Ok…. So how do we play Four Corners in music?
If you are a music teacher, you may be thinking, “Becca, that has nothing to do with music class.”
And you would be right.
But because this game is so fun, I have looked for different ways to make it musical.
Instrument Four Corners
One of the ways to play Four Corners musically is to play instrument four corners. I label the corners with the names of the instrument families. Then, when the person in the middle calls out, they say the name of the instrument.
After they say the name of the instrument, we figure out what family it is in, and those people sit down.
Alternatively, you can show students an instrument and have them go to the corner of the family that it is in. Be careful with this one, though, because with that many people going to one spot, it can get rowdy.
Tip: My students had a hard time coming up with instruments on the spot, so I created these cards that they could pull out of a bucket to make it easier. You can snag them in my TPT shop by clicking here.
And if you want full directions, you can read the blog post here.
Rhythm Four Corners
Then, I came up with candy rhythms. Candy rhythms four corners is what inspired this post, because as I made these, I was trying to think of different ways to play four corners that we could use it right now.
In the four corners, I put up four different rhythms– one sound (quarter note), two sounds (eighth notes), three sounds (eight-quarter), and four sounds (eighth-eighth). Then, after the students found a corner, I projected onto the screen or held up a candy. We figured out what rhythm would match the name (so chocolate would be titi-ta). Anyone in that corner would sit down.
Alternatively, again, I could put it on the board and then students could go to that corner.
I love this, because I use the same set of candy names each time, I just change the rhythms so that my older students have harder ones. Instead of quarter note, we may use half note, dotted half note, or whole note.
You can get the whole Candy Rhythms Four Corners set (with four rhythm levels included!), plus some printables, by clicking here.
Ways to play Four Corners
And now, we are onto what you came here for– ways to play Four Corners, even from 6 feet away or virtually.
Some of these will work with the original version, but most assume that you are using Four Corners to teach an academic concept, like I mentioned above. I will refer to the rhythm version the most, because it’s a lot of fun, and it also teaches a good concept.
One of the easiest ways to play Four Corners (especially online!) is to have students stand up and hold up the number of fingers for which corner they would be in. When someone gets out, they can sit down, so that you can differentiate who is in and out.
Plus, no one is walking around the room, so this is a super chill way to play.
If you are online, another option for those who are out is that you could have those students turn their cameras off. This is a quick way to see who is in and out, although is requires students to know how to turn their cameras on and off.
Tip: If you are using this to teach a concept, then you may want to put on the board what each corner is. So you could have a slide up that says “Corner 1– Strings” to help kids remember.
Another easy way to show the four corners is a clock!
I like to do this with younger students to reinforce reading time. Because, let’s be honest, most of our students don’t know how to tell time very well. They are spoiled with digital clocks.
So, we make our own clocks. We hold our hands at 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00 to represent the four corners.
If you are in school and kids have those super handy little clocks, you can also have them show the time on the little plastic clock! You school probably has some that you can borrow. If you are really intent on using them, you can get them on Amazon here (affiliate link).
This is a simple switch that I typically do to take the chaos level down by like twenty meters.
I take four hula hoops and put them into sections. I will have a few different sets.
Then, I put the posters for the four corners into the four hula hoops.
I split the group up so that there are a few in each set of hula hoops.
And we play as normal!
If you can enough hula hoops, you could give everyone their own. You could also just put the papers on the floor and have students stand on the papers, so that they can have their own.
You could also do teams and have just a few students play at a time, and then switch them with a new person when they get out.
If you are distance learning, this is going to be the best Four Corners option for you!
Open a Google Slide presentation. Then, add two lines to split the slide into four. Add the four corners labels to it.
Share the presentation with your students (make sure they can edit!). When you are ready, have the students make a text box and add their names. They can drag their box with their name around the slide to show them in the different corners.
When students get out, have them drag their box off of the slide onto the edge.
One of the easiest ways to play Four Corners is to print out cards for the four corners. This works especially well if you are using them to reinforce a concept. Just print out the rhythms that you need onto a piece of paper.
Then, have students hold up their piece of paper that matches the corner they would be in.
Again, you can have them stand up when they are in, and sit down when they are out. If you are virtual, then you can turn the cameras on and off.
Four Corners of Paper
If you want an even easier, less prep version, you can just use one piece of paper.
Have students write the numbers, or the rhythms, on the four corners of a piece of paper. Students simply hold up the corner that matches what corner they are in.
This is great for distance learning, because the students just need a piece of paper to be able to do this on their own.
Do people still use Plickers? Plikers were huge a few years ago, and I’m still loving them.
Basically, Plickers are printable cards that you assign students. They have four sides to them. Students just hold up the side that says A (and you just tell them that A is triplet or whatever). Then, you scan the students with your phone or iPad and it grades it for you.
This is a perfect way to integrate assessment into your Four Corners Game, which takes me to the last one….
Assessment with Four Corners
You can use Four Corners as an assessment! You can use any of the above ideas to assess.
First off, you just flip flop. Instead of them picking a corner and then you showing them the candy picture or the instrument, show it to them first and then have them pick their corners with the right answer.
This works best with smaller movements rather than large movements, because it’s harder for other students to see fingers versus the clock motion.
You can observe the students and then write down what they choose.
But I like to take it up a notch.
After we pay a few rounds, I will give students a piece of paper with four boxes on them (they are available in the Candy Rhythms Four Corners set!). I will put the rhythm or the instrument up on the board, and students will write it in the box that it matches.
So if I put up a picture of a lollipop, they will write lollipop under titi-ta (eight-quarter).
And then I can see who understand what we are talking about– plus I get a quiz grade. Win-Win.
That’s all of the ideas I have! You can grab the Candy Rhythm Four Corners game here or the instruments of the Orchestra game here.
And of course, you can always do it yourself. I always provide the resources in my TPT as a helpful addition, but you never actually need them in order to do the activity– it just saves you a lot of time, because everything is prepped and ready to go.
Have you used alternate means to play Four Corners. What are some ways to play Four Corners that you’ve come up with? Let us know in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Exciting and Effective Ways to Play Four Corners from 6 Feet Away or Virtual (in music class!)”
When my kids play 4 corners I use the instrument families.
For instance one day I want to concentrate on the Woodwind Family and I will label each corner an instrument of that family. (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon for example). I will play some music that highlights that family so the kids hear the sounds of the woodwinds while we play.
When the music stops, I have a child pick a slip of paper from a bag that I have written the names of the flute, clarinet, saxophone and bassoon several times and put in the bag.
The kid says out loud the name of the instrument they pick and whoever is in that corner is out. That child will pick another person to call the next slip.
(They choose a child who is out of the game). This keeps them engaged even when they get out. The last four players have to pick separate corners and the winners are the last 2 players in the game.
Another day I might choose instruments of the brass family and I will play marching music to highlight the brass instruments.
The kids really enjoy playing 4 corners.
We do the same thing!