Saturday, May 3, 2014

BINGO Free Write

If there is ever a game in which students become incredibly competitive, it is BINGO. They can play this for HOURS. I have always enjoyed playing a game of Vocabulary BINGO with students, but at the same time, I felt that it was incredibly limited. We were dealing with isolated forms and vocabulary with nothing really in terms of a context, but at the same time, if I tried to impose too much in trying to create a context for the words during the game, then it stopped being BINGO. The reason why BINGO is fun is its simplicity.

I found the following BINGO activity on Martina Bex’s website, and I absolutely love it. It combines the fun of playing BINGO with a timed free write. The Latin version is called VINCO. 

  1. Create a 5x5 grid and over each column, put the letters V, I, N, C and O. I do not put a free space.
  2. Write a list of 35 vocabulary words/forms with which students are very familiar due to their usage. I try to keep nouns in the nominative form, but I put verbs usually in the perfect tense (e.g., cantavit, adeptus est, affectus est, circumventus est). Prepositional phrases (e.g., in fuga), idiomatic expressions (e.g., re vera, sine dubio, nisi fallor), impersonal verbs (e.g., necesse est, difficile est), high frequency forms (e.g., voluit, poterat) and even specific forms (e.g., lacrimatura, bibitura) are good too.
  3. Cut out strips of the 35 words and put them in a bag.
  4. Give each student a VINCO grid and a list of the words. They are to pick 25 words from the list of 35 and to fill in the grid however they choose.
  5. Play a normal game of BINGO by pulling out a vocabulary word and calling out the the English meaning. As I do not have beans for them to put on their square, student mark the spaces themselves. NOTE - you will not be calling out the letter of the column like you would in regular Bingo.

    VARIATION - create the 5x5 grid with specific words for each column. Students will have to pick 5 words from the V list to put in the V column, 5 words from the I list to put in the I column, etc. This way, then you call out the letter like you would in a regular BINGO game. For some reason, this is VERY important to students. In planning, you will now have to put the corresponding letter on the vocabulary strip so that you can call out both the letter and word.

  6. When a student gets 5 in a row, then he/she yells out (and yes, I make them yell) "VINCO!" They read back to me the Latin words, and I give out a piece of candy. I usually keep playing a round until there are 4-5 winners. After that, we begin a new round. 
  7. After playing 3-4 rounds of VINCO, now tell students to get out a sheet of paper and that they will be doing a timed free write
  8. Using their VINCO paper, students are to pick 5 words in a row (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) and to write them at the top of their paper.
  9. Explain to students that they are to now write a story based on the prompt that will incorporate all 5 words.
  10. Show them the prompt, start the timer for however long you want them to write and then have them begin. 
  11. When the time is done, much like a regular timed write, have students count their number of written words and put it in a box at the top of their paper.
  12. Now in the free write itself, they are to put a box around their prescribed words which they had to incorporate in their story

Here is the prompt which I once used with my Latin 2's - it gave them a character, what she was doing, where she was and then a possible problem:

Rhonda erat in culina, cenam parans, cum subito magnum sonitum in cubiculo audivit. quid Rhonda egit?


  1. Playing BINGO before the timed write made the timed write not seem like a major task.
  2. Some students did not like having to incorporate the 5 words into their timed write, because they had to manipulate them into their story, and their words seemed random.
  3. Most students liked having to incorporate the 5 words into their timed write, because it gave them more structure with which to work. They actually liked having to find a way to incorporate these random words into the story and to manipulate the writing for this purpose.
  4. Some wished to have seen the prompt prior picking their 5 words. I will do that in the future.
  5. If students do not incorporate all 5 words, tell them it is okay. It could have been that the 5 words were just too random to fit into a story based on the prompt or it could signal that they need more time
I only play VINCO three times a semester so this another way in which I can get students to do a timed write

1 comment:

  1. Keith,

    I use Martina Bex's website ALL the time (some of her ideas are just great), but today I navigated there only to find that it no longer seems to exist. Any ideas?!