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Bingo game with past tense in ESL/EFL classroom

Bingo is fun. My students have great time playing bingo but I wanted to transform this playing time in something useful. Of course they practice saying numbers but there are so many things that have to be practiced. One of them is the pronunciation of the “-ed” sound of verbs in past tense.

Here is how I do it.

First, I want to make the game last longer because we lose too much time preparing it (students drawing the bingo card). I usually play bingo with 50 numbers and the bingo card contains 9 numbers. In order to practice saying the verbs in past tense, I replaced the numbers with words. Of course, the words are verbs in past tense. A student comes in front of the class, at the board, and calls out a word (a verb in past tense). The student waits for about 5 seconds then draws a check mark next to the word (so, it won’t be said again).

I found it very strange to have 50 verbs in past tense on the board, 50 verbs is too much, so 20 words out of 50 are verbs in past tense, 15 words out of 50 are dates (numbers ending in “-th”), since Vietnamese have big problems pronouncing them, and 15 words out of 50 are words ending or starting with two consonants (these kind of words are also difficult to be pronounced).

Of course, the game ends when a student check all of the nine words of his/her bingo card. When a game ends, the check marks from the board are erased and the same words are used again for the next game. The teacher assigns another student to come to the board and a new game starts.

Because the pronunciation of each word should be practiced in context (or at least in a sentence) I usually divide the class into two teams (boys and girls for example). The student who wins the game assigns another student (from the other team) to go to the board and write sentences using the words from the winning bingo card (the student who writes the sentences on the board can be helped by the other members of the team to form the sentences). The sentences are then read by other 9 students assigned by the winner.

Of course, the game can be played using other groups of words (adjectives for example) and can be made more difficult.


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