BINGO is bonkers!

What started out as a small leadership group project has now blossomed into a school tradition that is here to stay at KCI. I’m talking about Bingo. You heard that right, Bingo has been one small opportunity that has changed my school for the better. Three students were assigned the task of creating a virtual, all- school activity that was inexpensive and inclusive. Some of our favourite pre-COVID activities happened during lunch in what we call caftivities. Activities that anyone could participate in the cafeteria. Karaoke, board games, and bingo were the most popular.

The Bingo Team sourced out a website that allowed you to customize your bingo (source was myfreebingocards.com and Canva has a free BINGO card generator). The team chose 55 words that best represented our school or were important terms and filled the cards. My admin approved the cost associated with the file download, about $40. A week before Bingo, we sent out a google form to first period classes to sign up, they filled in how many Bingo cards they needed and the classroom location. It was optional to participate so the impact to learning was minimal. After sign-up, we cut up over 1000 bingo cards and sorted them out into envelopes for each class that signed up. The first time we did this, I learned the value of a paper cutter. We had about 35 classes participate each time and bingo ran once a month.

On the first day, Bingo began after the morning announcements via a google meet link that I sent out to the classrooms that signed up. Teachers handed out one Bingo card per student, and I always included an extra card for the teacher to play too. The Bingo location was a mystery and changed every time to make it fair for classes that were in remote parts of the school. The team would reveal the bingo location and the pattern that needed to be achieved for a BINGO. As they called out the KCI themed bingo squares, they would give a small fact about it as well. For example, 1855, the year KCI was founded. If a student got a BINGO, they had to run down to the bingo location and yell BINGO as loud as they could. If a student was uncomfortable running, the class could elect a runner. The first student to make it down with a bingo won a class prize. The next few students that followed received a small individual prize. This is where small but high valued swag comes into play- I have KCI themed webcam blockers and scrunchies that were relatively inexpensive as the small prize. Class prizes were food related, cookies, bubbly, chips, the good stuff.

Bingo was never meant to last, we were just looking for a filler during the pandemic. But Bingo is now here to stay. More and more classes sign up every time we run it. Michelle, Aidan, and Leo are recognized in the hallway as the “Bingo Masters”. The admin has seen the value of this and we’re investing in getting the Bingo cards laminated so we don’t have to print and sort them every time. Each homeroom will get a class set of laminated Bingo cards for the semester. Moving forward, I would love for the winning Bingo class to help with calling the next Bingo round. The best school traditions are simple, effective, and pop up where you least expect them.

Abbey Gingerich    KCI 

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