11 March 2010

5 Variations on Bingo for EFL/ESL Classes

Bingo! The students love it...I suspect because it require little English from them...but still it can be a good warm-up, cool down, filler or reward if the students like it enough! Here are 5 ways to stop bingo becoming stale...

5. Translation Bingo
Instead of having written English and calling out the words in English, have the students write their native language on the bingo paper (or pre-print) and call out the words in English. This should help the students think about the meaning of the words. If you don't like using the native language or have mixed languages use pictures instead.

4. Switch Bingo
This has been both popular and unpopular in classes I have tried it with. Have the students write out a bingo shet as usual. When you call the first word, they will mark it off as usual. Before you call the second word have them switch papers with the student next to them! Then switch back and forth for each word so the student who gets bingo may or may not have their own paper.
Extra variations: Pass the papers clockwise around a group, or snake-like around the whole class
Only switch the papers when a student gets bingo.

3. Strips Bingo
NOT strip bingo!! This game was presented at a seminar I was at a few years ago, it wasn't my idea but it works really well! Instead of using a regular bingo grid, give the students strips of paper about 2-3cm high and as long as you need. (The longer the strips the more words and the longer the game.) The students should half and rehalf (as many times as needed) then unfold the paper. The folded segments are their bingo boxes. They can write the vocabularly in and you call out the words as usual, if the student has the word in either end box they can tear that box away. The keep going tearing away each end only until they have one word left, if you say that word they can discard the last paper and get bingo.

This can be difficult to explain but demonstration or diagrams should work if you are patient. Also as new boxes will come into play you will need to say target words more that once. A good way is to write the words yourself onto small cards and draw them out of an envelope at random. In regular bingo set the used cards aside, in strips bingo drop them back into the envelope.

2. Mingle-Bingo
Prepare a grid worksheet. For example, have a 4x4 grid with pictures of sports in each box. Have the students mingle and ask each other a question "Do you like ~?" or "Can you play~?" etc. If the answer is "Yes, I do/can." the answering student should sign the questioning student's paper. Have the students try to get one or two "bingos" to finish. If you have keen classes you could have everyone get a fullhouse/blackout then play regular bingo calling out students names. (not very "English-y" but a nice motivtator to finish the original worksheet!)

1. Music Bingo
This takes preparation but is very popular! Find some songs with clear English words in them and cut them up into about 20 second segments. (I have used Windows Movie Maker for this, or you can google the best way for you.) Give the students the key words for bingo as usual but play the clips instead of speaking. A rest for your voice, a shake-up of routine and a lot of interested students- how's that for a slice of fried gold?

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