BINGO for Language Practice
Bingo is one of the oldest tricks in the book for language instruction. It is so simple, so effective, and my students beg for it.
To use this sheet, here’s what I do:
1) I pass out the blank sheets to the students, and I call out the words for whatever set we’re learning. If we’re learning adjectives that describe emotions. I would call out “triste” and they would choose a random square in which to draw a sad face. Here they are having to produce the word by hearing it. If it’s a more advanced class, I could make it more complicated and say, “El bebé está triste.”
2) To play, I simply call out the words or phrases we drew and the students places a chip on that space. (They get excited if we get to use foreign coins for chips.) A complete diagonal, horizontal, or vertical row wins. Here the review moves much more quickly because the students are only having to recognize a word by hearing it.
That’s all! This can take a long time to make, but I like that they are spending a lot of time with the vocabulary. We often keep the sheets for a quick 10-minute game to review the words throughout the unit.
I am wary of games and programs that mix lots of English into the activities. I’m always encouraging my students to remember that Spanish is not English, translated: it is a different language. Anytime an activity can take place with full immersion, the better. There is always at least one student who tries to just write the meaning in English, and I never allow this unless there’s no way to represent the word. Again, I want my students to be thinking in Spanish. Encouraging them to simply sketch the word they hear keeps English out of our activity.
This isn’t necessarily something I’d do with my own kids in Spanish, unless they just love to draw. We would probably play a regular Bingo game, just using Spanish. BUT… if I am able to realize my dream of learning French and introducing it as their 3rd language, I will be busting this one out someday!
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