Building a sense of community is one of the cornerstones to successful classes. No matter the age group, People Bingo is a great ice-breaker activity. I first played in a creative nonfiction college class. Granted, the professor was a bit quirky, but the game served its purpose. A group of complete strangers that would be sharing their writing for a semester quickly got to know each other.
You can easily make the board in Word or you can you can click on this People Bingo board and then change the content as you see fit (as in removing Idaho as the location). The key is to keep the information in the boxes general enough that everyone in the group can successfully interact.
People Bingo works bests in groups of 10 or more. I’ve used it in the college composition classes I’ve taught as well in secondary English classes. Even in a small school where the students know each other fairly well, it can still be a worthwhile activity.
Playing the Game
- Start by playing regular bingo. Everyone gets up and walks around the room seeking someone’s name to write in a box. They can only write the person’s name in one box and then must move on.
- When the first person gets a bingo, they share with the group and point out the people who share those commonalities to the group. Depending on time, play a few more rounds of regular bingo. If you have more time, consider playing four corners or blackout.
- Use any remaining time to further introductions and point out how we all have more in common that may first meet the eye.
Have you tried playing people bingo or other similar icebreaker activities with students or co-workers? How did it go?
Feel free to download the People Bingo Board linked to above in this post an change it as needed.