Zoom Lesson: Bingo!

I can’t name a single reason to avoid playing games in your online lesson. As a matter of fact, playing games with your students is now more necessary than ever. Our students are all deprived of social interaction with you and their classmates. Even though many of them, just like you, turned out to be just fine and perfectly happy to stay at home and learn remotely, when you ask your students what they miss about their school time, they will all say friends, you, and all the fun they had during the recess!

That is why you should dust off all your game folders and bring them to your online lessons one at a time. I have already written about Find Someone Who… and Simon Says… and how I used these in my online lessons. In this post, I want to remind you of our good old Bingo, a game all our students love playing. It includes repetition, some creativity, active listening, and a lot of competition. There are some apps and pages where you can play Bingo online and I will write about that a bit later. Here, I want us to explore a good old fashioned Bingo in virtual classroom.

This is the example of one of my word cards I used with my grade 3.

If you have never played this game with your students before, a flip board, a piece of paper or a little white board could come handy to demonstrate how it is played. Before you start, have your students fetch a notebook, a piece of paper, and a pen (may be their favorite!) to draw a grid. I usually have them draw a grid of six squares but if you feel adventurous, go for more squares but not on the first go. Let them first get the gist of the game.

My little white board served so well!

Next step is to decide what kind of a vocabulary you want your students to learn or revise. Since we had many books to read and almost zero time to revise the vocabulary, I used all the vocabulary from the past weeks. Some of it may not have stayed in my students memory so I briefly reminded them of the meaning or had their friends do that. For the sake of clarity, group the vocabulary according to the topic, for example jobs, colors, synonyms, antonyms, or by the themes or book titles for example, The Lion and The Mouse, or Super Malls. This way you will know what you covered and what could be covered more. If you decided to go for a random mix, the game will still be fun but you will not be able to easily follow the progress your students made with the words.

Once you decided on the word lists, you have a few options of presenting them to your students. The easiest one is to simply type the words in the chat publicly for all students to see. I usually write ten words per topic for the grid of six squares. The second option is to use Zoom’s whiteboard. This is great but it could be a bit tricky if your students are not able to see the shared screen, or when you want to see all of them at the same time instead of stretching the grid with their faces all over the whiteboard and scrolling left and right. It is not impossible but if you are not too comfortable with Zoom, better use the chat. The third option is Word Cards, the trickiest option because it needs to be prepared before the lesson and if possible, sent to students.

When you type all the words, press Send to Everyone.

I prepared a bunch of word cards, each containing up to fifteen words. I numbered the cards so they could know which one to open. I sent them to students earlier, during the lesson, or simply shared on the screen. At the beginning of the lesson, I say which cards to look at, for example, the first round of our game is from the card 5, choose six words from there. This way my students could practice the words in their own time and have a chance to think about them. The cards serve as rubrics they can check every time we played Bingo. As I said, this is a lovely but not entirely necessary way of showing the words. It is ok just to type the words in the chat.

Before you start playing the game, make sure all students are ready. Establish the reward. My reward is letting the winner change the Virtual Background, or having them show something from their room. For the winning streak of three, I promised to let them share their screen for 2 minutes, or play a song of heir own choice.

Then just simply read the words of your own choice one by one in any order you want, preferably not in the same order as they were written in the chat. Speak loudly and clearly, and leave enough time between the words. Remember, in an online lesson, the sound may come a bit late.

As we know, when a student crosses off all the words, he or she is supposed to shout Bingo! Now you may not know who shouted first, and as we know that is important to them… I let them use Zoom reactions and their notebooks. The moment they crossed off all the words, they must show the thumbs up on Zoom and put their completed grid close to the camera for everyone to see. It will be useful to you if you could record this with your phone or in Zoom so you could refer back to it if students start an argument about who was first to finish. It is up to you how you will manage their behavior and reactions but I really tend to keep it very positive, light, and fun.

Have you played Bingo in your online lesson? How would you adapt the game to your class? Leave your reply in the comments or write to

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