Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BINGO as a Review Game

As often as possible, I like to incorporate games into our daily activities.  If I can trick the kids into being engaged in what we're doing, I'm all for it.  An all time favorite game of mine is Bingo.  Find Someone Who / Person Bingo is an activity we'll do throughout the year, but it's not really my favorite version of the game.  

Background: Find Someone Who
This is a get to know you ice breaker type activity that's usually done at the beginning of the school year.  Students have a bingo grid with a variety of phrases like, "has long brown hair," "has two cats," "can name three NFL teams."  Students have to go around the room and find other students who fit these descriptions.  At the end, you play bingo with the grid - use cards or a name generator to randomly call student names.  Students try to get 4 or 5 in a row (depending on the grid size) using the names that are called.

I do these throughout the year as we get new vocab.  For example: if we're learning about chores, they boxes will have phrases like: "Cooks for his/her family;" "Makes his/her bed in the morning;" and "Walks the dog."



A Different Variation
During a PD Workshop a few years ago, a colleague introduced a variation to Bingo that I've really liked using.  In this version (very much like Find Someone Who), students play bingo at the end once they've done all the prep work.  The main difference is the prep work requires them to show that they know something about the topic at hand.

The first part is basically a quiz.  You have a variety of questions - multiple choice, short answer, verb conjugation, etc. - related to your topic.  As a class, you go through the questions one by one.  Students answer the questions on their sheet, but don't work together.  I usually let students use their notes, but it depends on the activity.  

Here's what a student worksheet would look like:
Bingo board up top, room for answers below
Questions could be anything from trivia questions to coming up with a word based on a definition/description to conjugating verbs.  Here's an example from a Latin cultural one we did based on slavery in Ancient Rome:


After students write their answers to each question, they trade papers with a partner.  Go over the answers as a class.  I usually only have students identify if the response is correct or incorrect - since we often do multiple choice questions or the prompt is no longer there, it doesn't make a lot of sense to write out the correct answer. 

Now students get to set up their bingo board.  I usually do a 4 x 4 grid.  Students aren't guaranteed to be able to use the whole grid, though.  Students have to earn each square that they use.  That means for their 16 boxes, they needed to get 16 correct answers in the prep activity.  

always include more than 16 questions - usually in the range of 20-25.  This gives students a lot of wiggle room to get as close to 16 as possible.  I also give students a minimum of 5 boxes (for students who got less than six correct).  

You'll have to walk students through setting up their game board:

1. Ask students who got 16+ correct answers to raise their hand.  Congratulate them and tell them they can skip the next step (skip directions for step 2, they start again at step 3).

2. Tell students to take the number 16 and to subtract from it the number they got correct.  I always model with the number 12.  16 - 12 = 4.  That means I have to cross out 4 bingo squares on my board - I won't be able to use those during the bingo game.  I have a sample bingo board on display and go through the process of actually crossing out four boxes. 

Example of a board once I've blocked out four squares:


Notice this is a TERRIBLE board set up - there's only one place I can even win!  I point this out to students so that they'll think strategically - they need 4 in a row to win, so they should make sure to leave themselves as many ways as possible to win.

3. Students now fill out the numbers 1-4 in each COLUMN.  They can put the number in any order they want, but they can't repeat a number within the COLUMN.  I go through this with my sample board, putting the numbers 1-4 in a random order for the first column.  I point out that I've crossed out some boxes, so in those columns I won't be able to put in all four numbers - as I fill in those columns, I'll point out that in one column I left out a 2 or in another I left out a 1 and a 4.


4. Students now get to play bingo.  Call out squares by letter and number (R1).  Students need four in a row to win (I do vertical, horizontal, diagonal, four corners, and postage stamp).  We usually do two rounds or until there's about 3-8 winners (depending on class size).

I've found this way of playing bingo works pretty well.  Students are getting to play a game, but they're also practicing a skill or topic.  They're earning better board set-up through their work, which I think motivates them a little more than when they're doing the interviews for Find Someone Who.  

- Frau Leonard

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