- Key Words: Methodology, speaking, vocabulary
- Learner English Level: Beginner and above
- Learner maturity level: Any
- Preparation time: About an hour
- Activity time: From 10 minutes to the whole class period
- Materials: The handouts you created
Every student, no matter how old, enjoys playing bingo. I have used bingo in my classes for years, but always with an educational twist to it. This version includes group work, a worksheet, a vocabulary list, and finally, the bingo sheet itself.
Step1: Decide on the theme of your bingo game: Summer, sports, adjectives, Halloween, etc.
Step 2: Make a vocabulary handout with 25 pictures on it. Each picture has an empty line under it for the students to write the word for the picture. On the back of the handout, in alphabetical order, write all the answers that go with the pictures. This ensures that every student has the same answer for each picture. It also provides them with the correct spelling and cuts down on time taken to use a dictionary.
Step 3: Using the same pictures, create bingo sheets for your students. One bingo sheet per student; all bingo sheets should be different.
Step 1: In class, put the students into groups of three or four, depending on your class size. This way, they can help each other match the pictures and vocabulary.
Step 2: Distribute the vocabulary handouts. Tell the students they have all the answers on the back, and all they have to do is to write the correct word under the correct picture.
Step 3: While the students are matching words and pictures on their handouts, take one extra bingo sheet, cut out all the pictures individually, and place all of them in a small bag. During the game you will draw the pictures from the bag to choose the next word to call out.
Step 4: Go over the answers as a class to ensure every student has the correct word matched to the correct picture.
Step 5: Distribute one bingo sheets to each student.
Step 6: Give the students the bingo rules. Rule 1: They must memorize the words and not write them down on their bingo sheet. Rule 2: When students achieve a bingo they come to the teacher and say the words that form the bingo. Rule 3: They can get multiple bingos. The game does not end after the first student gets a bingo. It continues until there is no more time left or until there are only four pictures left in the bag.
Step 7: After you have verified a student’s bingo, cross it out on their bingo sheet using a highlighter, as they will be back with other bingos later on.
Any vocabulary topic can be used for this game depending on your needs. You can either give the students color or black and white copies of the handouts and bingo sheets. You can easily skip the preparation step 3 and have the students make their own bingo sheets, but it takes more class time and more supplies such as scissors and glue. Also, there is no need to use 25 pictures. The game can easily be reduced to 16 or 9 vocabulary items. Finally, you can provide the vocabulary again on the back of the bingo sheets for extra help.
This is one of my most successful games. I also noticed that the more useful the vocabulary, the easier it is for the students and the more effort the students put into it. By grouping the students, they help each other with the answers, looking for the pictures during the bingo game, and memorizing the vocabulary for their trip to the teacher’s desk. I also noticed that they repeat the words after I call them, again, in preparation for their trip to the teacher’s desk. Bingo can be so much more than just a time killer. Be creative!