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Bingo! Adding Some Games to Your Writing Practice.

As I write this we are now two months into the new year! I hope this new year is treating you as well as it is me! I know I couldn't be more excited for the year to come -- there are a lot of exciting things happening behind the scenes at Teach Write. Not to mention the wonderful potential in this new year and I plan on tapping into that potential as much as I can.

One potential that I am doing my best not to overlook this year is that of the people and resources nearest me. I can't tell you how many times I have just been having a casual conversation when the person I am talking to has given me the best idea! It wasn't something we were actively trying to get at – it just came naturally from two people talking about things that were of interest to them.

The most recent occurrence of this happened at a Teach Write Academy workshop: Notebooking into the New Year. We came together as a group not only to write in our notebooks together, but to share some of our notebooking habits and practices. The recording is now a part of our resource library, but I wanted to take this email as a time to elaborate on one of the practices that I have used not only for myself, but my students as well: notebook bingo!

I am a high school teacher and my bell work for most of my classes is the same: write in your notebook. I like to provide prompts for my students when I can, but always tell them they can notebook about other topics if they desire that day. I'll admit sometimes generating daily prompts can prove challenging, so sometimes to bring a little change to our routine in the classroom I instead have them start a writing bingo challenge.

Typically, I reserve bingo challenge months for short months (think December for Winter Break or March with Spring Break) because it puts students in the difficult position of trying to write for 25 days while not actually being in the classroom for 25 days in that month. Hence me calling it a challenge for them! And because it is a challenge and I want to encourage them to write even more, I will go so far as to offer prizes for students that opt to write more and complete a black out bingo of writing!

Not all of my students participate in the bingo challenge I offer, but enough of them do and report back about enjoying the challenge that I like to bring it back at least once a semester.

However, I don't have to limit my own notebook to that. Much like my students, I don't show up to my notebook every day, but I am a very competitive person and so having a daily bingo square to try and cross off has actually motivated me even more to show up and write in my notebook!

So, if you find yourself struggling to motivate yourself or your students to show up to the notebook page, might I suggest giving a bingo board a try?

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