I know how you’re feeling: The kids they need a day off (or is it you?), or they just need to have some fun with what they’re working on,  but they still need to be learning something. We have just what you need: and Bingo is its Name-O

Smarty Symbols has a built in Bingo Template in the “Printing Center” 

It’s really easy to use, and an awesome tool for any parent, teacher,  SLP, or someone who just needs an activity for an event. Just click on the “printing center” button on the top blue bar. It will bring you to a new menu where you will select “from template”; find the “bingo” template and press “apply”. Now its just up to your imagination… but if your imagination is struggling we’ve decided to give you a few ideas:

Foreign language teachers— have been known to love bingo. What a great way to introduce or review vocabulary! Remember, you can rename the images as you place them in the Bingo squares. This allows you to take the 18,000 images to use for making vocabulary at the simplest up to the most complicated levels. With the images already divided into categories, it should be an easy search to make the game fit your lesson whether it is simple “greetings” or a complicated academic vocabulary list.

Core content teachers— always have specialized vocabulary that are needed for the subject area. “History”, “Math”, “Science”, “Geography”, “Literature”, “Social Studies”,—- we have a great category of each of these areas with common words used in each of these subject areas. What a great way to review key terms that are needed to understand important concepts!

Speech Therapist— If you hadn’t noticed, you can search words by their phoneme sound and position; this is an amazing tool for building sheets for your articulation students! Working on “social skills”, “expressions”, or “descriptive” vocabulary?: we have great categories of each. A glance at our long list of categories and you will see there is something for almost any skill set you are working on.

Family time— what kid doesn’t love game night? Is your kid struggling with a certain subject? Sometimes a subject just seems too scary because of the way the teacher presented it, or it feels overwhelming not having a little more background knowledge of it. Help make learning fun and reinforce what your kid is learning in school with a family Bingo game. Its often easier for kids to see that a subject has value when they see a parent valuing the subject and activity along side them. Encourage learning that isn’t available at school; maybe your kid is curious about a language like Italian, Portuguese, or Russian while their school only offers Spanish, French, and German. Google translate or a reference book could go a long ways to helping their intrinsic learning. Make Bingo a time to value your kid’s interest and learn something new at the same time.

Organizing an Activity? : we have the symbols you need to go along with whatever theme you choose. Baby shower, religious gathering, road trip, birthday party, family reunion, whatever the occasion is a little game time can go a long way to both break the ice and pass time.

Not rigorous enough???… Change the rules.

A well known secret in the teaching community: you are the “game master” every day, so take advantage of changing the rules to make them so that learning happens. Just because BINGO has always been played one way doesn’t mean it can’t be played a little differently with you in control. Changing the rules is generally good as it makes the activity fit your kids needs, but be careful: unless you have an emergency its good to make these new rules before the game begins (we don’t want to mess with kids concepts of fairness if we don’t have to). What better way to change the game but by adding extra steps.

Ways to adapt the game and add extra steps:

  • have students create a sentence based off of each Bingo word that gets drawn from their card
  • Have a simple equation  that you put on each square and the students must solve them if that square is drawn.
  • Build a sentence using all of the words that were drawn that correspond to their card.
  • have participants give a real life example of each Bingo word drawn
  • Students must write a synonym or antonym for each word drawn that corresponds to their card
  • Students need to make a story or a rhyme from the words that were selected

The neat thing is a lot of these ideas can help you springboard to a bigger activity that started by some strange fate or randomness of a few chosen words. Creativity can be astonishing when we let go of the power for a moment, and learn to deal with the hand we are dealt.

Differentiated instruction— If you have the time (which is admittedly hard to find), make more advanced vocabulary bingo cards for your kids who don’t feel challenged enough. Make Bingo cards that are easier for your struggling student. Be like a sly blackjack dealer, and no-one will suspect a thing while everyone is being challenged at their own level as everyone “mysteriously” receives their Bingo cards.

Bragging Rights—- Prizes don’t have to be expensive or give the participants a sugar high. Consider using Smarty Symbols to create funny certificates to the winner(s).  Maybe it will help to give extra credit along with the certificates, but sometimes a little recognition can go a long way; particularly if you do it in a silly or fun way.