English Bingo- gamifying grammar

I have always loved to read, rushing through books that interested me and plodding through books that did not. I enjoy dabbling in poetry and creative writing, and when I became an IB teacher, I began to look for ways to bring inquiry and gamification to a language that was close to my heart. To my bemusement, children these days seem to veer towards mathematics and shy away from learning English.
In a country such as India, English is not a comfort zone for many with a multitude of other mother tongues. Grammar can be tricky, pronunciation full of pitfalls, and exposure can be limited. When children set foot in an English lesson, they lack the confidence or the drive to dig deep into languages. Growing up, English was my comfort and my solace, and I wanted to make sure that I, as an educator, ensure that students come away feeling comfortable with the language, if not inspired, to read and write more.

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Getting grammar points across while making sure that students stay awake and alert can be a challenge. In my first lesson using this tool, I focused on the parts of speech. As we were working on Microsoft Teams, I assigned them a unit-related passage to read. Students had to then pen down the nouns, verbs, and adjectives into the table provided below the article. Pupils had to read the composition deliberately, ensuring that they understood every word’s meaning to place the words in the columns correctly.

The completed table served as the student’s Bingo ticket. Once the students had finalized their slips, I would call out parts of speech at random. If a student had the word as mentioned earlier, they would highlight or underline it. Once a child had three highlighted words in a row, they were eligible to shout out, “Bingo!” and win the game.

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A winner’s Bingo ticket- universe, tiny and grouped highlighted in a row

As with every game of Bingo, checking the ticket is essential. I would go through the student’s ticket to ensure that the parts of speech were listed correctly. Once examined, the winner would be declared, followed by another few rounds for the rest of the students to complete the game as well.
I have found that this tool enabled me to understand the student’s knowledge of basic grammar and recapitulate concepts done in class. Children in my class love this game and have begun to understand and apply English grammar better since we started playing it. Their comprehension skills have increased manifold, and they are beginning to tackle intricate pieces of writing as well.

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Gamification and play have always been important in education, perhaps even more so during pandemic times. As educators, we sometimes feel stifled by the lack of choices available to us while working online. I have found that merely converting something that worked well in-person to an online version works just as well. Bingo, a classic game, was revamped into something that can easily be used online and will keep the students engaged and learning through these tumultuous times.

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