This was another fabulous idea I got from another teacher (thank you Ms. Larson!) and tweaked. In the middle school last year I was SHOCKED at the amount of new vocabulary students had to learn in the sixth grade (I am equally shocked at the limited amount of new vocabulary fourth graders have to learn in comparison...oh well). To help students remember the vocabulary word and its definition we played BINGO, usually within the last 10 minutes of class if we had extra time or more often the closer we were to a big test or state exam.
Here is how it works. Put together a list of 24 vocabulary words for a unit. I was struggling to find 24 words in one unit and pulled words from another unit we had done to round it out. For the notebook, I put the words in Microsoft Publisher "catalog format" and gave it a cover so I could fold and glue into the book (see next to last and last picture). I then made a BINGO board in word (using their "table" format) making sure to have a free space in the middle. I had my homeroom students fold and glue the vocabulary list in the notebooks and had other homeroom students cut out and glue the bingo boards into the book.
In the second picture you will see that I did not have the vocabulary list next to the BINGO boards. Those were my middle school books and the point was to get them to not depend on the vocabulary list and to be able to recognize the word based on the definition. That is still the point in the elementary school but I am introducing them so late that I decided to glue the word list in (I really should have introduced vocabulary BINGO sooner...sigh!).
You will need to model the next step, which is to put the words in random order in different blocks on their BINGO board. They should not copy their friends layout. Each layout of words should be different. I usually do the first five with them and then leave them to do the rest (tell them to put a check mark by the words they have already put down or they tend to forget and you waste valuable time trying to find their error). I liked that one of my students put a picture by the word (see next to last picture). I don't require it but I think next year I might. It would certainly help my visual learners.
To play you pick a BINGO layout that the students have to get in order to win (any five across or down, four corners, capital L, capital T, etc.). You read the definition twice - slowly - and they have to find the word match. This is slow going at first so please don't get discouraged because they do pick up speed. Eventually they will know the word without having to refer to the provided vocabulary list. In the beginning I let them help each other out but the expectation is that once they catch on they are to try and find the word on their own.
I use cut up squares of color paper in baggies as the BINGO markers (again nothing fancy). I used to have a lot of trouble in the middle school with students blowing the bag up and popping them until I gave out starbursts to any student who returned my supplies intact when I went around the room and collected them. This isn't so much a problem in elementary school but I thought I would mention how I handled that problem last year. I keep all my supplies, including my master list, in a printer box top (see top picture).
As I read off the definition I check off which ones I have read so that once someone yells BINGO I can verify their win. ALWAYS tell studnets NOT to clear off their board if someone yells BINGO - they may have made a mistake or I might continue play on the same game if time is running out.
STRATEGIES - Sometimes I have to speed up the game and I will walk around and see who is close and purposely call a word I know will end the game quickly. I differentiate units with different color boards - see second picture. This helps particularily during end of year testing review when you might be playing different games each day - you can tell students to go to their orange BINGO card or blue BINGO card.