Using Bingo to Keep Your Classroom Focused

classroom bingo cageI’m on the marketing team here at S&S, and I thought I’d share a teaching tip from my wife Amy. She’s an amazing teacher and I have no doubt based on the great job she did in helping raise our two amazing adult children. Just about everyone at S&S knows I’m married to a teacher since every other week I mention this in a meeting. The meeting goes something like this: “Yeah, my wife who teaches 3rd grade says we should be doing {insert new idea of the week here}”.

So one rainy day, one of our merchandising managers was cleaning up his office during his annual spring cleaning event. His office literally was piled from floor to ceiling with an assortment of balls, hula hoops, bean bags and a myriad of other toys and games. Knowing my wife is a teacher, he asked if my wife needed a Bingo game for her class. I brought the bingo cage and balls home to my wife to see if it was something she could use at her school.

When I brought it in the house you would have thought I brought home a gigantic bouquet of flowers…and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. She was so excited! Using our popular S&S Bingo product, Amy (aka Mrs. C) developed a behavior management program for her classroom that she has been using successfully for the past 3 years. Now I’m sharing it with you! She calls the program “Reward-O”. I know…sheer genius, she should be in marketing!

Fun Friday Reward-O Bingo

First, she spray painted 30 balls “gold” and 30 balls “red”. Gold = “good” Red = “not so good”. Then each day, during lessons and transitions, if the class is well behaved and attentive, Mrs. C will drop a gold ball into the Bingo cage. If a student (or students) are not attentive or act up, you guessed it…a red ball gets dropped into the cage. By the end of the week on “Fun Friday”, the cage is filled with about 30-40 balls. It’s all about working together in a collaborative team effort.

“Fun Friday Reward-O” kicks off at 2:30 as Mrs. C walks up to the Bingo cage. The kids are all giddy with excitement with the possibility of winning it big. Mrs. C slowly rolls the cage 5 times, one for each day of the week, and one by one, a ball tumbles out….five balls in all. Depending on how well the week goes will determine the # of gold balls in the cage vs the # of red balls. More gold balls equals a higher probability that the children will earn extra recess time. The amount of free time awarded is determined by the number of gold balls that pop out of the cage.

5 balls= 30 minutes of free time
4 gold= 20 minutes
3 gold= 10 minutes

If only 1 or 2 gold balls comes out = “No Free Time”. Instead of free time, students get more “learning time” like those boring dictation sentences that students just love…or math fact fluency drills, or if they are really lucky…a writing prompt! (haha)

Some will argue that children should be intrinsically motivated to sit quietly and absorb all that the common core has to offer and we shouldn’t be bribing them to incentivize good behavior. But as anyone who actually spends a day in an elementary classroom can tell you, children are not getting nearly enough play time to re-energize.

So if your class is in need of a little incentive to stay focused, try “Fun Friday Reward-O” and end your week with a big bingo bang and bring some fun back into the classroom! Share your comments and ideas for your classroom with us below.

Author: Paul Conderino, Marketing Director at S&S Worldwide

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