Jane Austen and Bingo?

Teaching Literature Using Custom Bingo

When one thinks of Jane Austen, I’m pretty sure that Bingo does NOT come to mind.  However, as any good teacher knows, taking the familiar (like a game of Bingo) and combining it with the unfamiliar, in this case the brilliant works of Jane Austen, 99.9% of the time the results will be an engaged audience.

And an engaged audience is THE prime real-estate for learning.

Consider this:  Regional coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA): Maryland, music teacher, and custom bingo creator, Rita Baker-Schmidt, recently shared how she has used custom bingo to create a unique experience for her fellow members.

On bus trips to JASNA events, Rita brings her printed The World of Jane Austen custom bingo cards and plays with fellow members.  One way to know that the experience of playing custom bingo is unique and memorable is when during the game, the name of a villain is called. Rita smiles as loud groans are heard from the players as they scan their custom bingo card looking for the scoundrel’s name.

Now think of the possibilities within a classroom full of literature newbies.  The teacher creates a learning zone where an engaging game of bingo meets an unfamiliar topic, like the works of Jane Austen. At the very least there is vocabulary building.  If you have never picked up a Jane Austen book in your life, you can still gain exposure to all things Jane Austen by creating Jane Austen custom bingo and playing this simple game with your students.

Now fast-forward and play the same game of Jane Austen custom bingo during the teaching of Pride and Prejudice, for example.  When a character or story location is pulled out of the bag, students scurry to find the word on their bingo card. But from a teaching perspective, this is also prime time to discuss, review, critique, or even evaluate.  Who is this [character]?  Why is [location] significant to the story?  Is [villain] really that bad?

When at the end of the novel, use those bingo cards one more time.  Not only does the game provide a fun reward for all that was just learned, you now have an instant review to help cement those newly created neuron paths.  And when you hear groans as the name George Wickham is pulled from the bag, you can be reasonably assured that they got it.

So whether you are teaching a literary work by Jane Austin or something else, consider adding a game of bingo with a novel twist.

Create custom bingo cards for your lesson

BingoCardCreator.com allows you to create custom bingo cards in 3 easy steps using words, pictures or both.