Catechist Chat: Quick and Easy Bingo Review

Well, I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged, because after various interruptions and special programs, I think I’ve had seven class sessions with my students for a Scripture course that’s supposed to be 14 weeks long. So it’s been a frenetic pace all the way through and I haven’t done as thorough a job as I would have liked to, but – it is what it is. Tonight was our last class, since the next two weeks will be replaced by Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and then our closing Advent Program. I needed to give them a “final exam” of sorts and I knew they weren’t ready. Enter…BINGO.

Love me some review-game bingo. It’s not the most thrilling activity in the world, but it’s better than a review sheet and more interactive. Best of all, it requires minimal effort, because you have the kids make their own cards.

Here’s a blank review sheet Bingo card. The way it works is – pick 8-10 terms for each column of the Bingo chart. You can put these on a separate review sheet (and use the Bingo as a complement) or stick the list right below the card itself, as I did in this Scripture class review Bingo. (WARNING: Looking at this example will show you what a shoddy job I did of covering the Old Testament. I mean, not a prophet to be found on the list. I did the best I could).

Anyway – then you tell the kids to pick words from each column and write them wherever they’d like on the corresponding column of the Bingo card. You’re Catholic, right? I don’t need to explain how Bingo works. I usually read aloud the “answers,” Jeopardy-style, to see if they can guess what I’m talking about, and then I go over it once more with them. You can even just make up a list on the spot and write it on the board – as long as you have at least five terms for each column (four for the “I” column, technically), they can make up a card. Much, much easier than trying to generate your own set up randomly-sorted bingo cards.

Speaking of Bingo, Loyola Press has a nice printable set of Advent Bingo cards, complete with leader’s guide.

Hope your class is making the transition to Advent nicely. (Code for: not totally losing it as Christmas break approaches).

Catechist Chat will be an ongoing series of posts for teachers in religious education programs. It is based on my personal experience and not on any statistical evidence of the effectiveness of my advice. Suscribe to my feed to follow along, and Caveat lector, which is Latin for “your mileage may vary.” 

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  1. Allison Welch says

    LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much. I will definitely be using this. There are always classes around this time of the year when we are done working on something but don't have enough time to start something new.

    I just discovered your blog from The Religion Teacher. Jared has been very helpful to me–a second year religion teacher at a high school. I am not formally trained as a teacher so I am learning as much as I can from people like you. Thanks for all your work!

  2. kkollwitz says

    "…seven class sessions with my students for a Scripture course that's supposed to be 14 weeks…"

    Oh yeah. Here's prayer for that, best said in one breath:

    "Holy Spirit, I wasn't given enough time to adequately cover the material so I did my best and the rest is your problem."

  3. Dorian Speed says

    That is most definitely the Official Prayer of Catechist Chat.

    Allison, welcome! I hope you'll find useful ideas/commiseration here. My first year of teaching theology was overwhelming and so I'm trying to pass along as much as I can to help out other teachers in similar situations. You should check out kkollwitz' blog Smaller Manhattans for lots of great ideas, particularly if you're teaching a Scripture class.

  4. kkollwitz says

    I'm thinking about how I'd use this in my class. I'd be inclined to call out each clue, and have the kids circle what they think is the right answer without giving right answer yet. Then each time a kid yells Bingo, we'd check only his answers, and discuss as required. I imagine that'd produce some drama since a wrong answer will invalidate the Bingo, while as other kids correct a wrong answer on their sheets may discover a Bingo they didn't know they had.

    And I want all the drama I can get in my class.

  5. Dorian Speed says

    Yes, that's definitely a better way to do it, if you are confident that your kids should know the answers. I ran it the way I did (telling them the answers each time) because I was sort of teaching some of the stuff as we went through it.

    If you're going to play the bingo game such that you give out the clues, but don't tell them the answers, I'd suggest arming the students with pencils. Tell them to write the words on their card in the top of each "cell," so to speak, of the game. Then, when you call out the clue, they should scribble it in underneath whatever they think is the answer.

    So, their card would look like:

    JOSEPH (interpreted dreams)
    MANNA (bread from Heaven)
    PAUL (traveled all around and wrote letters)
    BETHLEHEM (means "house of bread")
    CAIN (killed his brother)

    and they'd read out to you not only their answers but the clues they heard you call out. Does that make sense? That way, you don't end up with them saying, "so, I got Joseph, Peter" and you have to stop and figure out which clue they thought matched Peter and why they were wrong.

  6. Dorian Speed says

    Forgot to add – give them pencils, because if they have circled/written down the wrong answers, they can erase and correct. And the bingo card becomes a "review sheet" that way.

    Yes, you could have them scribbling out the answers they wrote and rearranging them on the card to win the coveted bingo prizes, but they'll police one another in that regard, and you can walk around the room to monitor them.

  7. Dorian Speed says

    Uh oh. I think I did that thing I do, where I tell the person way too much about how to do something, and then they go eat crackers and mutter about overcomplicated directions and stuff.