Bingo, it’s a classic ESL Game that most teacher’s like to play in class. The only real problem is that it’s not exactly an educational experience. This twist on the classic Bingo turns it into a serious listening and vocabulary review activity. Keep on reading to find out more about ESL Speaking (and listening) Bingo.
How to Play ESL Speaking Bingo
Time: 20-30 minutes
Level: High-Beginner to Advanced
Materials Required: Blank “Bingo” grids, or blank paper
ESL Speaking Bingo is a very fun activity that kids, teenagers as well as university students seem to love. Have a list of about 35-40 vocabulary words that you’ve been studying (on the PPT works well). If you use less, the game will be over very quickly.
Give the students a pre-made Bingo Grid, or have them draw a 5×5 grid. Then the students fill in the grid randomly from the list of words on the board or PowerPoint. Then, choose someone to go first (rocks-scissor-paper, draw numbers out of a hat, according to the attendance sheet, etc.).
The first student describes a word, but doesn’t actually say the word. The next person describes another word and on it goes, just like a regular Bingo game, but the students are speaking the whole time. You can do variations, such as “1 line,” “2 lines,” “X-Bingo” and “Blackout. ”
This talking bingo variation works best in smaller classes of ten or less.
What about ESL Bingo With Bigger Classes?
In bigger classes, the teacher can describe the words but it becomes solely a listening and writing exercise instead of a speaking one. Listening bingo certainly isn’t a bad thing though so consider trying it out. And, it is certainly heavier on the listening skills that just simply saying the target vocabulary item.
Another way to do it would be to put students in small groups of 6-8 to play together; there are two benefits—there’s more student talking time and it becomes more of a strategic game because each student can keep an eye on their opponent’s boards.
Teaching Tips for ESL Bingo
One important strategy to increase fluency that our students need to practice is producing synonyms of a word they don’t know, or if can’t remember the exact one that they want. This conversation Bingo game is an excellent way to focus on this.
No Prep Variation for this ESL Bingo Game
ESL speaking bingo requires absolutely no prep-time if you are given a class at the last minute and need something to fill the time. Simply ask the students what they’ve been studying the past few days or weeks and if they say, “animals,” then ask them to tell you all the animals they know and write them on the board and that will form the list they have to choose from as they prepare their boards.
Highlighters Work Best for Conversation Bingo
Ask the students to use a highlighter or just an “x” over the words instead of scribbling it out entirely with their pens. This way, you are able to check their answers in case of a Bingo.
Step-by-Step Instructions for ESL Bingo, Speaking Style
1. Prepare blank Bingo grid photocopies beforehand (or students can draw their own on paper), as well as a list of vocab words (PowerPoint works well). Something like months of the year is certainly a nice choice (more ideas here: ESL Months of the Year Activities)
2. Students fill in the conversation Bingo grid with their chosen words.
3. The first student chooses a word and describes it, using hints but not the word itself. You can choose the order of who describes words any number of ways: drawing numbers, seating arrangement, alphabetical order, etc.
4. All students cross off that word if they have it on their Bingo grid. The next student describes a word and so on. For bigger classes, the teacher will need to describe the words instead of the students and then it becomes more of a listening bingo game than a talking bingo activity.
5. The first student to get one line is the winner. The next winner is two lines, then “X,” and then “blackout. ” My rule is that you can’t win more than one round for this classroom game.
More ESL Talking Bingo Games
This is certainly not the only talking bingo game out there. Here are some of the other variations that you might want to consider trying out with your students:
Do you Like this ESL Speaking Activity?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Did you like ESL Bingo? Then you’re going to love this book, available on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids.
The key to happy, engaged students is a variety of interesting activities and games that you can use throughout the course. This book will help you do exactly that.
Well Organized By Skill
The best part though? The book is well organized into various sections, including speaking, writing, reading, listening, review, 4-skills, etc. You should be able to find what you’re looking for in under a minute.
Mostly Low Prep ESL Activities
Then, most of the activities are low prep or no prep so that you put it together in the few minutes before class. Love it? I know that most teachers do!
Available in Various Formats
You can get this ESL Activity Book for Kids on Amazon in both print and digital formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference guide.
Or, bring a copy on your phone or tablet to your favourite coffee shop for lesson planning on the go. You can read the book on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. It’s easier than ever to have better English lessons!
Check out the book for yourself over on Amazon, but only if you want some more ESL awesome in you life:
More ESL Speaking Ideas
Check out this short video below:
What do you Think about Speaking Bingo?
Do you play Bingo with your English students? Do you have any variations that you like to use? Leave a comment below and share your tips with us. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2021-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API