Find Someone Who: A Bingo Game for ESL Students

Bingo game for ESL students

Skills: Speaking/listening/writing
Time: 15-30 minutes
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Materials Required: Blank “Bingo” grids or blank paper (optional PowerPoint or white board and marker)

Find Someone Who is a fun Bingo game for ESL students that makes a good ice breaker to help students get to know one another or to practice asking and answering questions about likes/dislikes, future plans, hobbies, etc. If I have my own classroom, I keep a stack of blank grids handy but if I’m moving from class to class, I tend to have students use their notebooks.

To save time, I prepare a PowerPoint with possible items to complete the Bingo grid, such as a list of hobbies, jobs, places, etc.—whatever topics you want to include. If I’m using this as an icebreaker, I may list hobbies, musical instruments, schools subjects and popular films or games so students may learn that one student plays the cello and another likes to study science. If we are practicing future plans, this list might includes jobs, places, types of housing, etc. and students will then practice saying things like, “I want to be a doctor,” or, “I want to live in an apartment.”

Rather than have a Bingo caller, students must circulate around the class and ask each other questions to mark out items on their grid. For example, if the topic is jobs, they could ask, “What do you want to be?” I have them write the other student’s name in the grid, rather than simply cross it out. So, if a student says, “Doctor,” they will write that student’s name in that block. Before you begin, give them a target of one line, etc. to get Bingo.

Like this fun ESL activity? It’s from this book: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Kids (7+)

Teaching Tips:

Rather than make a PowerPoint, you could simply write the items on the board. If you want to give student more autonomy, simply give them a topic and have them brainstorm. You should have more items than will fit on the grid, but you can use 3X3 or 4X4 grids if you want to make the activity go more quickly.

I encourage students to move around by only allowing each name to be used once per board in a large class. If the class is quite small, two to three times on a 5×5 grid may be necessary. The goal is to have students practicing the target language, rather than standing with one person and saying, “Do you like apples? Oranges? Bananas? Pears? Melons? Bingo!”

Procedure:

1. Optional: prepare Bingo grid cards and a PowerPoint with questions before class. Otherwise, have students use notebook paper. Tell them what size grid to draw: 3×3, 4×4, or 5×5.
2. Have students fill in their grid with items from the PPT or whiteboard, or create their own, according to a given topic, such as hobbies or likes/dislikes.
3. Have students mingle and ask questions to match students to their grid spaces. For example student A asks, “Do you like apples?” If student B answers, “Yes, I do,” student A writes their name in the “apples” box and moves to the next student.
4. The first student to get a Bingo by finding different students to complete their grid is the winner.

Try out this Bingo game for ESL students and you’ll be well on your way to English class awesome!

Lesson Planning Made Easy

Hate lesson planning? Me too-that’s why I wrote this ESL speaking activities for kids book that will save English teachers a ton of time but still have awesome English classes.

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