Friday, 18 September 2015

Alphabet Bingo - Grade 1 and 2 ESL

Hey all!

This actually worked superbly with the young ones yesterday and so I had to share! For all those who are not so keen on teaching the little, little ones (screams, cries, lost-in-translation, drama!) I hope this helps you! I know I am always looking for ways to have a peaceful 40 minute grade 1 and 2 class - and it honestly doesn't happen too often (sigh.) But this worked!

So I got out the large whiteboards and had one for each child plus 1 marker. I didn't have enough erasers for each child (nightmare as they hate sharing) so I didn't give out these and markers until start of the lesson to avoid drama. But the kids came in to the class very intrigued so it was a nice start to class.

Next, I explained, well, said loudly "Bingo Game" and they all got quite excited. Next, I drew on the board a 9 box grid - which to my surprise wasn't so easy for them to copy. Next time I do this activity, I will draw the grids on the boards beforehand to make it easier. Eventually the whole class had a grid drawn with 9 boxes.

After that, I wrote the A B Cs with them helping me, by singing along. I wrote both the capital and lower case letters side by side. Like so:

Next, I somehow communicated that they could choose any 9 alphabet letters to put in their Bingo boxes. I said basically " Hanna box-u , Hanna ABC, yogi. (pointing to letter) " -this is my very broken, very bad Korean for ya. Hanna I've been told means 1 or singular and box-u...well, 'box', as in bingo square.

They eventually got it as I also acted out myself filling a bingo card with random letters and making thinking noises 'mmmm. Aa? Ok. mmm.... Uu. Ok...."

My board IRL:

After they got their letters in their grids (5-10 mins), I also went around to check and help here and there - some letters were backwards ,etc. They don't fully know the alphabet so it was a great chance to practice writing and recognizing letters.

Next, I had at the ready, my computer screen projection of the "Random Name Picker" site which I had inputted with the alphabet instead of student names, so that the spin the wheel feature would spin and stop at a certain letter. This is a great tool to use for Bingo as you can input any list of words and then spin away and it's exciting for the kids.

As you can see, it's a nice colourful wheel and when you click the centre it spins and then a box will come up with the result. I had to watch the little ones were checking the correct alphabet letters for bingo but most were getting it correct.

After every wheel spin I would also sing the line of the phonic song that matched the letter.
Example, if it landed on "Hh" I would sing H is for hat, hat, hat, hat!
They know this song as I play it all the time, esp for the start of the lesson and it helps for their memory of the alphabet.

My rules were "3 line Bingo" which means they need 3 lines to win. This extended the game and made it quite exciting as they would shout "1 line! " "2 lines!!" etc. These lines can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal, as long as they get a total of 3.

I gave the winner a coupon. It took up the entire 40 mins of class - we played 3 games total. 3 winners.

I will definitely be doing this in other lessons and for numbers it could be good as well - just make sure you ask them to say the English word for the number as well.

Happy Teaching!


  1. This is great, thank you very much!

  2. Hi Mrs. Baia,

    I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the effort you put into your classes. Thank you for sharing your lessons and experiences with us. I am very grateful. Yesterday, I found myself having such a difficult day "teaching" 1st and 2nd graders, especially without a co-teacher. It broke me. I cried and passed out in the teacher's room for a good hour. I then decided to give this lesson a shot, completely last minute, ready to just give up. I did this with my 2nd graders first and I was so happy that they were into it, just like you said. The first graders were a bit rowdier but they were also into it (all but one - but hey, you can't win them all). After a difficult day, I finally had a more manageable day. I'm still learning how to become a better, more effective teacher, but I am grateful for the moments like today. Thank you again for everything. For keeping it real, for sharing your ideas and thoughts. You are a great teacher. And I hope to one day be a fraction of who you are and what you do in a classroom.


    1. Gigi! You brought a tear to my eye. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. And I am so happy that I could help - you are not alone! Grade 1 & 2 are my hardest class and some days are great while some are far from it. (I'm also co-teacher-less) I really appreciate the honestly and feedback - this is why I started blogging in the first place - to help. I wish you the best of luck and I am going to be posting as frequently as possible for ideas to use with the little ones. I'm so happy that I could help and please, drop me a message anytime (via FB) if you find yourself in the same position - I will always try my best to help a fellow educator in need! I'm glad to hear you had yourself a little break-down but then got right back to it - I think we all need it at times and it truly shows just how passionate you are - it's definitely not a weakness, but a strength that you picked yourself up and tried again. Hats off to you, lovely! Keep at it and best of luck!