Tag Archives: bingo

Deepening Comprehension & Conversation with Book Discussion Bingo

I know you have experienced this before: your teacher assigns you a collaborative project or asks you to sit small groups to hold a discussion and some students have done the assignment and they say a few things and then the subject switches to something off topic. Or there is one or two people who did not do the assignment and they either do not care or are just looking for someone to give them the answer.

Let’s address cooperative learning and those hitchhikers, discussion directors, discussion derailers, and how to hold more accountability among the group.

I am currently facilitating a book club unit with middle school students. Working in small groups of three to six students, each group is reading a contemporary dystopian fictional novel and meeting daily in their book clubs to discuss aspects of the book they deem important. Additionally, I have peppered in some lessons on characteristics of a dystopian society, characterization, and the hero’s journey. Whereas I have some groups reading and everyday mapping out a reading goal for the group (i.e. how much they are going to read before the next class, asking and answering each other questions), there are some book clubs where a student is not doing the reading and has fallen behind unable to participate in the discussion without spoilers.

Group work is an integral part of school and work culture. Through group work, students learn that there’s a diversity of valid perspectives, build comfort around using their own voices, and understand the value of accepting and building on the contributions of others.

Getting people to work together does not come naturally and as teachers we need to foster positive collaboration and group work in our classroom. Collaboration is part of building a community of learners. Here are some benefits to collaborating and working in small groups as identified by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels (2009):

  • Collaboration generates energy for challenging work.
  • In small groups we are smarter.
  • In small groups diversity is an asset.
  • Collaboration makes for engaged, interactive learning possible.
  • Collaboration allows teachers to differentiate instruction.
  • Well-structured group work enhances student achievement.

The important thing to note is that effective groups are made, not born. Collaboration doesn’t always work and as teachers, we need to help facilitate good group work so that it can be successful in all the ways described above.

So, with these ideas in mind I created a book club discussion bingo board for some groups and students to use during their book club meetings to help foster collaboration and communication. This bingo board can be used as a roll the dice or numbered heads activity where everyone takes a turn to answer a question and respond or can be used to facilitate the book club discussions. Yes, I would love for the book club discussions to be less task oriented but collaborative skills need to be modeled and taught. Providing students with group roles, group objectives, and even a collaborative game can help all students keep on task and accomplish the goal of the group assignment.

The Declaration of Independence was a collaboration. Music and dance is collaboration. Google was created because two men collaborated on an idea. Wikipedia is all about collaboration.  Many great ideas and inventions happen because people got together to create and share. We need to make sure that our classrooms allow students to work independently, with partners, in small groups, and as a large group.

Here are four additional collaborative activities to try in your classroom.

Jigsaws – Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, each piece–each student’s part–is essential for the completion and full understanding of the final product. If each student’s part is essential, then each student is essential. The teacher breaks students up into a group and each student in the group has a specific reading or task which they are responsible for reporting back to their group members. You can read more about the jigsaw strategy for active learning.

Write Around – A trustworthy Harvey Daniels activity that allows students to collaborate on paper and in conversation about a specific topic or subject. You can find the directions here.

Numbered Heads – Numbered Heads Together is a cooperative learning strategy that holds each student accountable for learning the material. Students are placed in groups and each person is given a number (from one to the maximum number in each group). The teacher poses a question and students “put their heads together” to figure out the answer. The teacher calls a specific number to respond as spokesperson for the group. By having students work together in a group, this strategy ensures that each member knows the answer to problems or questions asked by the teacher. Because no one knows which number will be called, all team members must be prepared.

Think Dots or Cubing – There are many ways to do this activity. To see the variety of ideas and examples check out PB Works.

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Tech & Learning Live Boston 2017

Tech & Learning is one of the leading resources for education technology professionals. It’s website and magazine, Tech & Learning provide an inside look at issues, trends, products, and strategies pertinent to the role of all educators –including state-level education decision makers, superintendents, principals, technology coordinators, and lead teachers.

I will be presenting all things Gamification and Game Based Learning on Friday, May 12th at Tech & Learning Live (formerly called Tech Forum), a high-powered, one-day event that provides K-12 decision makers with thought-provoking content on the hottest topics of the day in education technology.

Rather than present in a traditional way with a powerpoint, we will be playing a game (of course)! Check out the Gamification Bingo game board that I created for participants to get into the action, ask and answer provocative questions, and engage in meaningful discussions on the possibilities gaming can offer teachers and students.

Want to play, BINGO wins are equivalent to completing the entire Bingo board.

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New Ways to Use “Old School” Bingo in Your Classroom

Old School games are a great way to bring gaming into any content area. Whether playing  Jeopardy, Who Wants to be A Millionaire, or Jenga, these types of games build collaboration and can help students deepen their content knowledge. One of my “go to” games with my students is Bingo. Here are a few ways that I have adapted Bingo for learning and assessment.

1. Text Dependent Questions – I will fill an entire bingo board with text dependent questions or problems and students have a specific time to fill out the Bingo board. You might utilize this as a homework assignment for the week (each night complete one row or column), assessments (A = complete the entire board correctly, B = complete 4 rows of Bingo, C = 3 rows of Bingo), or an in class activity. Below is a class activity that I use to review Chapter 7 & 8 in To Kill A Mockingbird.

2. Pursuit – Give students a Bingo board with situations or actions and students are required to find specific textual details (or direct quotes) that highlights the situation. I recently made a Bingo board like this for MidSummer Night’s Dream Act 3. The pursuit gave students a mission to uncover key events and show their understanding while reading the play in class.

3. Picture Bingo & Empty Bingo Boards – Use pictures instead of text or give students a word bank to fill in their own Bingo Board. Then,  ask questions related to the words in the word bank or images.

4. Persuasive Bingo – When I taught speech and debate I created five different Bingo Boards with a variety of persuasive speaking tasks: Persuade your parents to increase you allowance, persuade your sibling to do your chores, persuade your teacher to give you an extra day to complete an assignment. The key was that the students couldn’t bully, blackmail, or bribe to achieve Bingo. When a number and letter was called the students had to persuade the entire class effectively in order for it to count.

Bingo is fun and interactive. Bingo boards can be adapted for any content area or grade level.  Plus, they are easy to make. Depending on the task created for students the questions can tap into Bloom’s questioning, critical thinking, and allow teachers to assess student understanding.


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Pop Culture Bingo

So here’s a short game that I play on the first day with my graduate students in the education department.  The idea is to identify as many pop culture references that one can.  Students can enlist the help of their classmates.  In my bingo world, the idea is to identify the entire board.  How many do you know?

First, this a fun ice breaker.  Secondly, my students can see who and what my middle school students are immersed in.  The challenge for teachers is how to blend the diverse literacies to teach the content literacy that is required of secondary teachers.

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