B-I-N-G-O...And Author's Purpose Was Its Name-O!

Thursday, March 19, 2015
We happily welcome back our favorite guest blogger, Elizabeth Miley

If you're bored of multiple choice questions, your students probably are too. White boards, post its, and electronic clickers spice up how students respond to questions, but maybe you're ready for something even more novel? Something jazzy that requires students to really own their analysis? Enter...Author's Purpose Bingo!

To prepare, I chose interesting snippets of text from various genres: a list of Cheese Whiz ingredients, a Langston Hughes poem about hope, an explanation of how the word "retarded" hurts. I also created Bingo boards using high-level verbs from released tests and state standards.

On the day of, I put students into groups of three and tasked them with discussing the Bingo board verbs. They used dictionaries for tough words like "convey" and discovered word families like "persuade," "convince," and "prove." Once we all understood the definitions, it was time to start the game.

We looked at the first slide and talked about the meaning of the text before moving to why the author wrote it.
Me, sneakily scaffolding: "What is the text saying?"
Students: "Exercise is important."
Me: "What was the author's purpose, or goal, in writing this?"
Students: "To persuade us to get moving!"

Try starring a square to spotlight a word
you want your kids to try. The free square
gives kids a chance to add the perfect verb.
The student groups then decided which verb on their boards best described the author's purpose. They were naturally engaging in academic conversations as they debated the author's goal and the nuances of the verbs. Teacher heaven!

We clicked to the next slide, and the process continued with less guiding from me. One group decided that Taylor Swift's lyrics "demonstrated" her thoughts about negativity while another thought "expressed" was more accurate. My goal wasn't for them to achieve an arbitrary right answer; instead, I wanted them to reach their own text-supported conclusions.

We spent a good chunk of time enjoying the game. As students called "Bingo," I challenged them to create a "T" or get the four corners. The next day, we took answers from their different boards to create authentic multiple choice answers. Our discussion centered on what was the best answer.

So if you've got the multiple choice worksheet blues, try something different like a game. Who knows? You might start with Author's Purpose Bingo and end up playing Go Fish Figurative Language and Red Rover Conventions, too!

Download my Powerpoint and my Bingo cards as well. Have fun! 

Guest blogger, Elizabeth Miley is a Secondary Literacy Specialist in Richardson ISD. She was that girl on the playground who gave all of her friends report cards and taught lessons to her dolls and stuffed animals. She is now an instructional leader in her district. As a Region 10 Trainer, Certified Abydos Trainer, and RISD Star Teacher, Beth brings a fresh perspective to the world of ELAR. When she's not shaking up teaching in Texas, she zip-lines through the rainforests of Costa Rica and explores the underground aquifers of Istanbul. She is friends with The Curly Classroom gals because--despite her exotic adventures--she still knows how to kick it at the dollar theater with her smuggled Twizzlers. 


  1. I LOVE this lesson! I can't wait to use it. What a talented group of ladies you are. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks so much! This is great :)