Back in 2011, I taught at a Montessori where one day a week I had grades 1-5 together for an hour. Not exactly an easy class to plan for. One day, the students came in and had obviously had “a day”. You know what I mean. They were begging to play a game instead of what I had dialed up. They asked to play Four Corners. I had never played it, so I asked for directions. After some explanation I ask them “but how does it involve music”? After a moment of us looking back and forth at each other, one of my favorite assessments was born.
Four Corners is an easy and adaptable game to play but also perfect for assessment.
You can play this game for pretty much anything you want to assess. Solfege, rhythm, identifying instruments or terminology. Create several cards with patterns on them or the info that you want your students to identify. Copy enough so each corner has 1 of each card. (4 sets). Using multiple sets means that the students are exposed to more patterns than only a couple in each corner and eliminates some of the repetition of patterns. I suggest numbering or lettering each set so you know that each corner has the correct number of cards. Cut and laminate the cards and put them face down in the corner.
– Play music when you are counting to 10 so that the student in the middle cannot hear where the others are walking. With the solfege game, it may be helpful to play a known song in the key they are singing in.
– Use instruments!
– Combine more than one pack for students to make an extra challenge!
Use different colored paper, or stickers with “levels” on them. These sticker dots (Full Disclosure: Some affiliate links. This does not change your price. No pressure!) that are used for price tags are inexpensive, and easy to write on. Use different colors, or code them set A, B, C, etc, so students don’t know how they are being leveled.
How to play
This is like the playground game Four Corners. In four corners, one student sits in the middle and covers their eyes. (I have my younger students put their heads down!) Count, loudly, to 10. The rest of the students have those 10 seconds to move to one of the four corners of the room.
If a student is not in a corner on “10”, they are out.
The student who is in the middle keeps their head down/eyes closed and points to one of the corners of the room The students in that corner are out.
The Musical Add On:
The students who are in the other three corners then will each draw a card from the pile and clap or say the rhythm on the card. This buys them their “freedom” from the corner, or the right to move again for the next round. IF the student cannot clap, say, or sing the pattern, they must stay in the same corner for the next round and the person in the middle will know they are there. When you have 4 or less students, they must go to different corners. The last person in is the new center student.
I like to use this game for a quick assessment. I like to use it to know if my students are ready to move on from a concept and start the preparation stage for a new one. It works very well to assess students as individuals (if they read cards individually) or in small groups.
Cards to Get You Started
In my TpT store, I have cards to help you get started with Four Corners.
I’ve got options for rhythm, solfege, and instruments. Check them out here.
Free Online Adaption
This version uses shapes and colors to have students chose what “corner” they are in. Instead of having the kids run to a corner, have them hold up a colored card. The kid who is “it” has to choose a color (with their eyes closed!) The kids in the chosen color are out. You hold up a pattern for each color. The kids who are still in have to sing the pattern to stay in the game. This could be done as an assessment, or let the kids sing on mute if they are practicing. Snag it here.
I hope that this gives you a great idea on how to ‘sneakily’ assess your students!