Crisscross Bingo is a student centered game they can play in small groups of 2-6 people. Larger classes should be broken up to increase student talking time. This is a great game for pair work and one-on-one classes.

I have everything you need to play the game :)

You will need to prepare: 2 dice and at least one different board for each member of the group. So if you plan to have groups of 4, you will need to make at least 4 Crisscross Bingo boards. (I usually make 2 more boards than are in the group to allow them to choose their boards and create a sense of randomness/choice.)

You can make boards with pictures to match MES-English flashcards or boards with text if you'd like, at (an MES site) You can make 3x3 boards or 4x4 boards. It really doesn't matter but 4x4 boards take a little longer = more language practice.

You can also make dice to match the vocabulary or dice with text, again these makers are hosted on

Choose 6 values (vocabulary words) for you top row and 6 values for your left column. Then make as many boards as you'll need with a random compilation of those values.

Mark's note: I usually make 8 boards and laminate them. Then we use whiteboard markers to mark the boards for bingo. That way I can use the boards over and over again. I just keep them with each set. If I have larger classes, then I make b/w photocopies of those 8 boards, enough for each group. In big classes, I make the dice and print out copies for each group to make their own dice. It takes a bit of time (5 min.) but once the dice are made, the activity is ready to go and students will be doing all the speaking from then on.

How to play:

- give out different Crisscross Bingo boards to each person in the group and give them the dice that match (one dice contains values for the top row and one dice contains values for side column.)

- a student roles the two dice and says the two words on the dice, creates a sentence about each item, relates the two items in some way, contrasts the items, talks about the items in relation to themselves, or all of the above and more.

Imagine the students are using animal cards and the two values are 'a lion' and 'a rabbit.' The students could say anything like this:

'A lion. A rabbit.'

'This is a lion. This is a rabbit.'

'Lions are yellow, but rabbits are white, brown and black.'

'Baby lions and baby rabbits are both very cute.'

'Lions are bigger than rabbits.'

'I have seen a lion at the zoo, but I haven't touched a lion. However, I have held a rabbit before.'

and so on ...

- all students check their boards to see if these two items are on their boards.

- if they have both items, the students follow the two items to where they meet and place a mark in that square.

- if they get 4 in a row (on a 4x4 grid) they win! If you are using a 3x3 grid, they would only need 3 in a row.

Why pictures? If you use pictures, your students don't need to be able to read. So, if you have young students, you can play this game and use more complicated language task, without being able to read. If you are playing with adults, you can make boards with text only, but believe me, they enjoy the pictures, too. They also enjoy the idea of visual response and speaking off visual clues rather than reading. It seems very natural.

****** variations ******

Use flashcards instead of dice: Just separate the game cards into two piles, the top row and left column. Then, instead of throwing dice, have the students draw one card from each pile and play the game as described above.

Use ordinary dice and any piece of paper: It works best if you have different color dice, but you can define your values. Have students draw a 4x4 grid. Then choose 6 words or phrases as your top row options and 6 other words or phrases as your left column options. Students randomly pick from those and write them in according on their paper. Set a number value to each vocabulary item and role the dice. Have the students perform the language task according to the game directions above. So, if you have a pair of dice, you can play this game anywhere, anytime.

Any other ideas/suggestions for variations? Send them in and I'll try to get them up or post them in the forums.

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