It's been proven time and time again, learning is easier when kids are having fun. When learning is fun, kids not only enjoy what they're doing, but they tend to retain more of the information, so it's a win-win situation for students and teachers alike. Kids often look forward to games and they can be used for a variety of subjects.
A tried-and-true game is Bingo; it can be used in classrooms as early as kindergarten as long as adjustments are made for the younger students. Although teachers can use their imagination when it comes to how to incorporate Bingo, here are some ideas with which to get started:
This is the perfect game for the younger crowd. Teachers can make their own Bingo cards and write letters on the cards. During the game, the teacher sounds out letters or even says letters and, when the students hear it, they can cross it off their boards. It's better for younger children to cross off the letters instead of using some type of marker like a bean or chip because they are more likely to knock such items off the card.
Bingo works especially well with students learning math facts. Numbers can be written on the Bingo cards and then the teacher can give a problem, such as 14 + 28. When students find the correct answer of 42, they can mark it off. Enough time should be allowed for those who haven't mastered their math facts to be able to play without getting frustrated.
The numerical decimals can be written on Bingo cards and the teacher calls out the number. For example, the teacher calls out "forty-nine and one hundredth" and the students can look for 49.01 on their cards.
Bingo cards for this game can have drawn images of circles with a certain fraction shaded in. When the teacher calls out "1/4" the kids then look for the pie with either one out of four pieces or two out of eight shaded in.
Bingo can also be used for other math skills such as:
- place value
- amounts of money
- learning mixed fractions
Teachers can make Bingo cards with definitions written out in English. Then, during the game, the teacher can say a word in the language the students are learning and have students cross out the correct definition or the equivalent word. This is also a great game for students who are trying to learn numbers in a foreign language.
There are numerous science facts that can be used for Bingo. Depending on what the students are learning, answers can be put on the cards after the teacher has come up with specific questions. An example of this for an anatomy class could be, "How many bones are in the human body?" or "How many bones make up the inner ear?" The students would look for the right numbers on their cards to cross out.
Parts of Speech
There are many parts of speech and the Bingo card can either have words on them or the actual part of speech. For example, the teacher can call out "run" and the student has to look for the verb written on their card. Or the opposite can work just as well. The teacher can call out "adverb" and the student has to look for a word like "nicely" or "sincerely." Depending on the age of the students, these can increase in difficulty as they learn more and more parts of speech.
Don't Forget the Most Important Part
Although playing the game can be fun for all students, in the game of Bingo there is usually a prize, which is what can make it exciting for kids who may not enjoy learning in the traditional sense. The prize can be a small token or something simple; it doesn't need to be something that costs the teacher money. Winning something as simple as getting a day off from homework or not having to do a classroom chore for the day can be a reward worthy of trying to win. Teachers can even have the winner of a game call out the answers for the next game.
Incorporating games like Bingo into the school week can get kids to learn, but it also shows them that learning can be fun. Playing games can be something used as a reward itself or it can be incorporated into the weekly lesson plan. For teachers who want a little assistance, students can help to make the Bingo cards and older students can even come up with the questions. Getting everyone involved increases the fun and takes the work load off the teacher.