Create a Bingo card to help keep staffers busy and engaged during downtime

To be completely honest, I stole this idea from my gym, where it was highly effective. The idea is that there are always things that I want my students to do, especially when they have down time while others do not. However, it can be hard to get them motivated to do extra work, help clean up the room or to try something new. So, I compiled a list of things that would be helpful for students to do, either for my own sanity or for the publication, and I made a Bingo sheet of odd jobs/ goals I want students to complete throughout the semester. My plan is to distribute the cards around the third week of school, once introductions are made and we start getting into the rhythm of things.
Logistically, the Bingo game works like this:
  1. Students can only complete one block per day, which will help it last longer than one day if you have one of those students who can just do everything always…
  2. Students cannot work on completing a Bingo square if they have other publication duties to complete.
  3. I must sign each Bingo square (keeps ’em honest…). I also hold on to all Bingo sheets. I have a bin for them and students go through to find theirs when they need it.
  4. Once a student gets a line of Bingo, they get to choose from a variety of random prizes I have collected from various trips to Walmart and Michael’s. I do make a big deal when they win. We stop class and celebrate and they choose in front of everyone. If it isn’t obnoxious, did it really happen?
Tips if you make your own:
  1. Be careful when you are putting the chores/ goals on the sheet. You don’t want one row of really simple tasks because then everyone will complete that at the same time and you will have to hand out a ton of prizes. Also, make the middle square something important/ fun for your staff.
  2. Include fun squares for team building and for helping each other on designs/ assignments.
  3. Michael’s has $1 random toys/ water bottles/ stickers/ what have you and their stuff is usually pretty fun. It’s not so much about the prize, but more about the recognition and fun, so I wouldn’t spend a ton of money here.

Download a PDF version of the Bingo sheet here.

Sarah Semmel

Sarah Semmel advises the newspaper and yearbook at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and is currently in her fourth year of teaching journalism and English.

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