• pencils, markers, crayons
• grade-level dictionaries
What: Four-square concept maps are graphic organizers that are based on a key concept-related word. This visual uses either a printed diagram or, more simply, piece of paper folded so that it has four squares.
Why: To focus students’ attention on critical attributes of a concept-related word and help them to connect existing knowledge to a particular concept.
When: Before, during, and after students read informational text.
Who: Whole group
• Choose a word that is critical to students’ understanding of a concept that they are studying.
• Follow the model below to draw a four-square map on chart paper. Have each student make a copy of the map on his or her own paper.
Model/Teach/Talk about It
• In the upper left-hand box, write the concept word. Ask students to discuss what the word means to them.
• Point to the upper right-hand box and allow time for students to think of and suggest examples of what the word means. Point to the lower right-hand box, asking them to think of examples that are the opposite of the concept. Write two or three examples in each box.
• Tell students to complete their maps, adding examples and non-examples. Say that when they finish, they are to write a definition for the word in the lower left-hand box. Explain that if they choose, they can consult class dictionaries or Internet sources as they work.
• Call on volunteers to show their maps, read their definitions, and talk about them with the class.
Four-Square Concept Map
What is the word?
What are some examples?
What is the definition?
Someone you know like a neighbor or classmate or teammate and spend time with that you like.
What are some opposites or non-examples
Have students compare their definitions. How are they alike? How do they differ?
Build Word Consciousness
Arrange students into two teams. Draw two blank Four-Square Maps on the board. Label one map A and the other B. Have team A suggest a concept for team B. Write the concept word in the upper left corner of team B’s map. Have team B suggest a concept for team A. Write that concept word on team A’s map. Give each team a few minutes to complete their map. Then have each team write a definition for its word and explain how they chose the examples and non-examples.
(Adaped from Eeds & Cockrum, 1985)