KENO is a kind of lottery game in which numbers are drawn from a blower and announced aloud for players to cross them out on their cards. It looks a lot like BINGO, only without the letters on top. You may have seen the games of KENO played at casinos all over the world or sold in toy and game shops. In this article, we are going to use the concept: drawn out numbers (language items in our case) that have to be crossed out on cards until one player has a full card.
The game can be used for any language item we want to tackle, be it the presentation new language, the revision of vocabulary and/ or grammar structures or any other aim the teacher may have in mind.
For this specific example, we are going to prepare a KENO game to review past tenses of irregular verbs.
Preparation of materials
Decide how many verbs you are going to review this time.
Prepare cards or pieces of paper with 15 slots; 3 columns and 5 lines. In each slot write past tenses from the list of verbs at random. Make as many as students you have in your class.
Prepare 15 pieces of paper with the base forms of the verbs on your list and fold them so as to be drawn from a box or bag.
Distribute one KENO card per student and ask them to have a pen or pencil at hand.
Explain that you will draw verbs from the box or bag and that they have to find the past tense on their cards. If they have it, they should write the base form next to the past. If they don´t have it, they do nothing. After drawing the verbs from the box/ bag, the teacher must stick them on the board in the order they appear for the students to refer to them and for the revision of winning cards at the end.
The winner of the game is the student who completes the full card correctly. At that moment, the student must shout out “KENO!” and all the other students stop the game until the winning card has been checked.
Using the verbs stuck on the board, the teacher calls the verbs and the winner must answer by giving the past tense. If there is no mistake, then you got a winner.
Advantages of the game
The KENO game looks simple but it has more to it than the naked eye can see. To begin with, students will be exposed to the pronunciation of verbs which they will have to identify and turn into their past form in order to find the match on their cards. Not only that, but they will have to write it correctly on their cards to have a winning entry. Even those students who do not have a match for the verb in turn, will review the verb because it will be stuck on the board and checked at the end of the game.
The verb game given above is a very easy and straightforward application of KENO but you can use the concept to review other language forms: to review collocations, draw one part of the combination and let students find the other part and write it either before or after the word they have on their card. In order to study questions and answers, draw questions and have students find the correct answers on their cards, and write them; or vice versa, draw answers and have students find the questions on their cards.
In any case, the students will be exposed to specific language items in a ludic form which will attract them and help them learn while having fun.