This is an alternative to the “Four Corners” activity, one where students are asked to move to four corners of the room if they “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree” with belief statements read aloud. Again, students are familiar with the format so, in an attempt to maintain the level of engagement but vary the approach, I turned the assignment into a gender analysis.
I began by asking the girls to sit on the right-side, the boys on the left-side. I dim the lights, ask all the students to face the same direction and move to the right-side of the room to address the girls only. With this arrangement, I am asking questions directly to the girls, who are unable to see the boys behind them. For each statement that the girls agree with they must stand.
Then, all students turned their chairs to face the wall to the left. I move to face the boys and ask the same questions in the same order.
While I’m asking the girls questions, the boys are observing the results and can begin thinking about whether or not they would stand. While I’m asking the boys questions, the girls are observing how the boys responded differently from them.
An anticipation guide like this still offers the benefits of them personally connecting with a text by asking belief statements; however, there is the added element of how genders respond. Since they are able to watch the opposite gender answer the same questions they can draw parallels or differences in their answers or the number of students to stand to particular questions. Also, compared to traditional “Four Corner” activities, this also affords students the opportunity to feel safer and more comfortable since they are really only participating with half the class and can’t see the “viewers” behind them, thereby producing relatively genuine reactions.
Because of the format of this anticipation guide, the questions asked are to elicit discussion about gender. Therefore, these anticipation guide questions, while needing some tweaking for particular texts, would work well with texts that examine gender roles, such as The Awakening, Macbeth, The Bluest Eye, Grapes of Wrath, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Please stand if you believe…