People Bingo

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
junior high school to senior high school To 'brainstorm' students' use of English. any 10 mins None, or whatever you decide to prepare

This is a game for a class that's sleepy, that there was nothing prepared for, or just to fill that unexpected extra time at the lesson's end. Try to make the rows in the class even by moving a few students around.

Have all the students stand up. Ask them, "How are you?" and when they invariably reply, "Fine (thanks, and you?)", write it on the Blackboard. Explain that no-one can use this word again. When the question, "How are you?" is asked again, the first student to raise their hand (or be otherwise selected) must answer with an original response (happy, bored, sleepy...). Write their response on the board. If they answer any word not on the board in 5 seconds they can sit down. Cheating (use of friends or the textbook) is at your discretion; some ALTs find it moves the game along better. The first line of five or six students sitting down in any direction are the winners. While this game starts slow, as the answers get sillier ("I'm beautiful", "I'm crazy"), the students get involved. It brings out vocabulary, and puts an end to the repetitive and annoying "I'm fine" response.

The same format can be used for other grammar points, such as ordinal numbers and months. Prepare a handout with 2 4 calendar months on it. Using the same procedure outlined above, ask the students, "What day is November/September/August/June/... the 3rd/5th/...?" ("It's Friday/Wednesday..."). Again, give the students a count of five in which to answer.

Occassionally no student will volunteer to answer, especially if they are used to a teacher who prefers to lecture instead of question, and/or it's a humid summer's day. Counter this by using 'Volunteer cards' (numered 1 - 40) and randomly selecting a number from the pack. The student whose number is drawn must answer.

Another adaptation is to have the students stand in lunch groups and answer questions in much the same format as above. Whoever answers a question may sit. The first group sitting wins. If you have a class with 5 groups of 6 and 1 of 7 students, the groups of 6 must each nominate one of their members to answer two questions.

Teaching Tip

Take a microphone into class for use when asking S/s questions. S/s become much more relaxed and vocal, even extroverted, when they have a mike in their hands. It need not be a working mike; simply the shell or a cardboard cutout will do. See if the broadcasting club has a spare one you can use.

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