Teaching ESL

Letter Bingo
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Author:  pchoemke [ Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Letter Bingo

When I was a young father, one of my kids was in Kindergarten and was having problems identifying the letters of the alphabet, the small and capital letters. So I made a Bingo game.

The Bingo boards were 5-by-5 arrangements of squares, each holding a small or a capital letter. In the first column from top to bottom were the letters 'a/A' through 'e/E' in alphabetical order. In the second column were 'f/F' through 'j/J'. In the third column were 'k/K' through 'o/O'. In the fourth column were 'p/P' through 't/T'. And in the fifth column were 'u/U' through 'z/Z'. (The 'x' and 'X' were excluded.)

The letters in each of the five columns were also different colors. The letters in the first column were red, in the second column orange, in the third column green, in the fourth column blue, and in the fifth column purple.

There was also a set of 50 cards, 25 with the small letters and 25 with the capital letters, again excluding the 'x' and 'X', colored the same as the letters on the Bingo boards.

The boards and the cards were all carefully hand-drawn using colored markers.

I played Bingo with my three kids numerous times. Each took a board and some markers (probably pennies). I mixed the cards, and picked up one card at a time, and called out the letter on the card. "Orange capital 'F'." "Blue small 'm'." And the kids placed markers on their boards until someone got Bingo. Sometimes we played cover-all. We played several games each time we played.

And it did help my Kindergartner learn small and capital letters.

I don't know where the original game went. Maybe I'll find it some day.

The biggest problem I had was in designing the Bingo boards so that two kids didn't both get Bingo at the same time. You shouldn't have an identical row or column of letters on two boards.

Not long ago, I tried to find if there was a way to reduce the chance of two people getting Bingo at the same time. It was a mathematical challenge.

And I came up with the following 12 boards. ('C' is a capital letter, 's' is a small letter):

s--C--C--s--C C--s--s--C--C C--C--C--s--s
C--s--C--s--s s--s--C--s--C C--s--s--s--C
C--C--C--s--s s--C--C--s--C C--s--s--C--C
s--s--s--C--C C--s--s--C--s s--s--C--C--s
C--s--s--C--C C--C--C--s--s s--C--C--s--C

s--s--C--C--C C--C--s--s--C C--s--C--C--s
s--C--s--s--C C--C--s--s--s s--C--C--s--s
C--s--C--C--s s--s--C--C--C C--C--s--s--C
C--s--C--s--s s--s--C--s--C C--s--s--s--C
C--C--s--s--C C--s--C--C--s s--s--C--C--C

C--s--s--C--s s--C--C--s--s s--s--s--C--C
s--C--s--C--C C--C--s--C--s s--C--C--C--s
s--s--s--C--C C--s--s--C--s s--C--C--s--s
C--C--C--s--s s--C--C--s--C C--C--s--s--C
s--C--C--s--s s--s--s--C--C C--s--s--C--s

C--C--s--s--s s--s--C--C--s s--C--s--s--C
C--s--C--C--s s--s--C--C--C C--s--s--C--C
s--C--s--s--C C--C--s--s--s s--s--C--C--s
s--C--s--C--C C--C--s--C--s s--C--C--C--s
s--s--C--C--s s--C--s--s--C C--C--s--s--s

The bottom six boards are the same as the top six boards with the 'C's and the 's's reversed. And each row and column has at least two small letters and two capital letters.

If I built a Bingo board using the first pattern, it would look like:


I hope that teachers and parents might be able to use this with their own kids.

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