Jenks Hill Elementary combines technology with classic game to make learning fun

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Many people have played Bingo at their favorite church or fire hall, but there is a different kind of Bingo that the students at Jenks Hill Elementary School played recently, not to win money, but to win books through the use of technology.

Shari Weber, the principal at Jenks Hill, was in her office calling the numbers as they were projected to all of the classrooms via
technological devices, while the students kept track of their Bingo cards at their desks.

Weber said the teachers at Jenks Hill thought about incorporating some of the technology that is being used for learning and utilizing it for fun so all the students could enjoy "Bingo for Books" at the same time.

"We also invited the parents to participate, if possible, and assist their students with their Bingo cards during the game," Weber said.

Chris Fallat, the Title I teacher at Jenks Hill, said there are several objectives behind "Bingo for Books."

"First and foremost, we would like to give each student the opportunity to win a book," Fallat said, adding that they also had a raffle drawing that would give students a chance to take a book home with them, even if they didn't win at Bingo. She said they offered a variety of books as prizes during "Bingo For Books."

"We have fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, math and science books, plus books (that are just) for fun," Fallat said. “We have a great variety of books, which have been purchased with parent
involvement through funds from the Title I program.”

She said the elementary age is where teachers can impress upon students to learn to like books.

"If we can encourage a love of reading and develop that here in the elementary schools, it will continue to blossom through middle school, up into the high school, and who knows how far their love for reading will take them," Fallat said.

Melissa Fedigan, technology coach for the Punxsutawney Area School District, assisted with setting up the technology for "Bingo for Books."

"I assisted with setting up the technology so the students could play Bingo in their individual classrooms all at the same time," Fedigan said, adding that they utilized a program called Illuminate.

She said it's an online program, and only the classrooms have the link to be able to open it.

They were able to set it up with audio and video in each of the classrooms, K-3, at Jenks Hill, Fedigan said.

"So far, Jenks Hill is the first and only school that has held "Bingo for Books," she said. “By using technology, we were able to take reading and make it more fun for the kids to learn and win books to further develop their reading skills and love of reading.”