With the end of the year students in classrooms throughout country are gearing for countless exams. From AP tests to end of year finals, the coming of summer seems to always have a big exam as a hurdle right before it. For years, I have tried to make review sessions before these tests and I’ve tried to make them as engaging and fun as possible. I’ve created a series of TV Game Show inspired review games that you can find on my Game Shows section of this website.
But one other review tool I, and my students, have really enjoyed is BINGO. Yes, that BINGO. Now it is still is the staple of county fairs and retirement homes but by creating your own, customizable BINGO game you can make your reviews Fun, Active, Student Centered, and Fun (oh… I think I said Fun twice)
Here are the steps on how I have done BINGO. Please reach out if you have any questions or ideas.
1) What's Your Subject?
Not just thinking about your unit of study you should also decide what you want the focus to be for this review. Like, is this going to be about Terms or People To Know.
2) Create your master list.
Do this in another document like your study guide. For example here is one I have used for my AP World History review. It is a list of 99 people to know. Feel free to use my list here to practice with.
3) Now you need to create your Bingo Board.
I have used many different programs in the past but this newest one (which I stumbled upon thanks to Tony Vincent) is called Bingo Baker. It is an online Bingo creator which is free but also has a premium feature too. You should find most of what you will need by just using the version.
The key to playing Bingo is that each student needs to have their own card and Bingo Baker allows you to do just that. You will need to decide if they are going to have PAPER copies of to play on or will they have a device and play DIGITALLY. If you are doing paper you will need to use the Print feature and choose the number of cards to match your number of students. When the game is played the student will simply mark on the paper bingo card each time one of their terms is called. If you are going to play digitally, have each student create their own card but doing the following by simply clicking on the link which you will provide them. You can get this link from under “Play Online”. It should look something like this: https://bingobaker.com/play/1174751
What is really fantastic about this is that this link will RANDOMIZE EVERY TIME YOU REFRESH THE LINK. That way every student will get a random card every time you play!
4) Lastly… you need to be the Bingo Caller and start the game.
But before you begin you need to think about how you can best make this truly a learning / review tool for your class. There are a couple ways you can do this.
First, you can simply just use the link in Bingo Baker called “Call List”. With this master list you can print them, cut them up and pull them randomly from a hat.
If the students are playing on a device they can even click on the names once they have been called as you can see here:
If you want something a little more exciting and dynamic try this Random Name Picker from ABCYa.com. It is quite the step up in name calling. It scrolls, has fun colors and even has “game show” style sound effects. After a name has been picked, you should choose “remove name” to take it out of the list and then spin again.
But even with this color and sound you need to think about “How can this be used as a review tool”? By just calling the names there is not much educational value. So here is my recommendation to kick it up a notch; Instead of calling the name (we will use my history example above of “Napoleon) how about reading a summary or giving clues. For example, I could pull the name Napoleon, read it to myself, and then ask… “who is this person; they came to power claiming to restore the Enlightenment and the French Republic, but in reality became more powerful than any past French King”. Then you can call upon a student for the right answer. If no one knows, you can give further clues. Then once the name has been called, players with that name can check it off their list. You can also ask follow questions… ones that can help them on future tests, for example, “what are some examples of how Napoleon SAVED the values of the French Revolution”? This way your game will become more of a conversation and dialogue.
5) Lastly, games and prizes.
Anytime you play a game you need to think about the rules so with BINGO you need to clearly give the rules about which game you are playing i.e. regular, “T”, Blackout, etc. Also I HIGHLY recommend giving prizes. Think about food… kids LOVE candy. Or you can throw out stickers, extra credit, etc.
In the end try to have fun but also think about HOW this can drive conversations!