Are you looking for a fun ESL icebreaker activity for the beginning of the year?
Then you’ll need to try out this find someone who game in your classes today. It’s one of the best activities if you want your students to have fun while getting to know each other.
Find Someone Who BINGO for ESL Students
Time: 15-30 minutes
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Materials Required: Blank Bingo card, grids or blank paper (optional PowerPoint or white board and marker). You can easily print out free Bingo cards from online.
Find Someone Who is a fun game for ESL students that makes a great ice breaker to help students get to know one another or to practice asking and answering questions about likes/dislikes, future plans, school subjects, holidays 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 words and items to complete the Bingo grid, such as a list of hobbies, jobs, places, etc.—whatever topics you want to include.
Some Examples of Topic Ideas for this Find Someone Who Activity
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.”
Where Can I Find Get to Know You Bingo Cards?
If you don’t want to put the time in to make your own questions, search on Google for “Get to Know you Bingo Questions.” You’ll find lots of ideas, along with ready-made cards that you can just download, print and use.
Just be aware that many of these Bingo Cards are not really for English learners, so have a careful look at the level of English and think about whether or not it’ll work for your students.
Thank you random people on the Internet for sharing your resources!
Students Circulate for Getting to Know You Bingo Game, Instead of Having a Bingo Caller
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. Obviously, if you want the activity to only take a few minutes, go for one line. However, if you want to extend it a little bit, then require two lines, blackout, etc.
Teaching Tips for this Bingo Game for ESL Students
Rather than make a PowerPoint, you could simply write the items on the board. If you want to give student more autonomy, 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!”
A sign of a great ESL activity is a class full of students who are happily participating and speaking English. This game is one of the best, according to those criteria.
How to Play Find Someone Who Bingo:
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 bingo card 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 bingo card 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.
Follow-Up for Get to Know You Bingo Game
I always like to do some follow-up after any ESL activity or game that I do with my students. In this case for the find someone who game, I’ll ask if anyone learned something interesting about a classmate.
I’ll also say things like:
“I noticed that some of you were only speaking in Korean during this activity! Remember that our goal is to practice English, so please try your best to use it!”
“Remember that the activities in the class usually require you to speak 1-1 with another person, so please try to avoid talking in big groups.”
Try out this ESL bingo game and you’ll be well on your way to English class awesome!
Learn More About Find Someone Who Bingo
For more details about get to know you Bingo, you’ll want to check out this short video below:
Like this Bingo Game for ESL Students?
- Jackie Bolen, Jennifer Booker Smith
- Kindle Edition
Do you want to try out Get to Know You Bingo in your classes? Awesome! Then you’re going to love this book, 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Kids (7+), available on Amazon.
There are almost 40 fun, engaging ESL games and activities that require very little preparation time. Because they can be adapted to just about any lesson, you can just grab one or two of them to supplement what’s in your textbook and make your classes awesome. You’ll save a ton of time planning lessons, and you’ll have happy students who are learning English.
You can get the book in both digital and print formats. The (cheaper!) digital copy can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. It’s easy to have a go-to lesson planning tool with you anywhere you go. Or, keep a copy on your bookshelf as a handy reference tool.
Check out 39 No-Prep/Low Prep ESL Speaking Activities (for Kids 7+) on Amazon today. But, only if you want some ESL awesome in your life!
Have your Say about this Find Someone Who Game
What do you think about this ESL Bingo Icebreaker? Will you try it out in your classes? Leave a comment below and let us know how it goes.
Also be sure to share this on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful teaching resource.
Last update on 2019-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API