Tic Tac Toe

Posted in: Teacher Resources Forum


Tic Tac Toe

Resources: whiteboard, prepared questions

Level: Any Level

Teacher's instructions:

Draw a grid of nine squares on the whiteboard and write a number on each square (1 to 9). Prepare the questions and set one question for each number relating to the grammar point to be taught. Divide the class into two groups (noughts and crosses). The first group call out a number and answer the question. They can have a group discussion before answering. If they answer correctly, they get the point. Then it is the second group’s turn. The goal of the game is to make a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line with noughts or crosses.



43 Comments for : Tic Tac Toe
  1. This task sounds like a great idea to get everyone involved and working as a team to find the solutions. This would also be a good ice breaker for the class.
    However I suggest some teachers notes on the specific grammar points in the questions that are to be asked with the correct answers.

    • Jinhee Kim
    • January 8, 2017

    Would be a good game for students to interact together, questions could be changed to adapt students’ needs.
    Instead on writing this on white board, it could be printed out and laminated and given to students with a white board marker pen

    • Pam Cramond
    • January 13, 2017

    Tic Tac Toe
    There are a number of excellent teaching strategies involved in playing this game. The students have to work as teams which means that they have to discuss various answers and in doing so, speak in English which reinforces their vocabulary and ease in speaking English. Students have to think about the answers and discuss whether they are right or wrong, therefore thinking about the grammar and sentence construction. They are doing all of this in a fun and engaging way which reinforces the grammar learnt in the lesson. When students get it right there will be a sense of achievement as well as the visual sign of the 0 or × going up for their team.

    • Elizabeth Young
    • January 18, 2017

    The strength of this activity is its ability to be adapted to any ESL level and any grammar point. Moreover, students enjoy this type of active (competitive) engagement because it is fun whilst consolidating and/or evaluating learning at the same time (a useful informal evaluation tool for the ESL teacher also!). Additionally, this activity reinforces the importance of teamwork, collaborative discussion (meaning we can help each other out when we have difficulty with a second language concept); and students practice their speaking skills.

    • Kevin Hayward
    • January 18, 2017

    Familiar game the world over, can be constructed at a number of language competency levels. God team building and ice breaking event also. On the down side I won’t be using it in my face to face sessions with older clients

  2. Great game! I love how it’s adaptable to fit any lesson.

    • Yuliya Snoxall
    • February 6, 2017

    This is a great way to generate discussion about grammar, which makes this activity an effective learning tool. The quality of the questions will determine the quality of discussion, and therefore, learning.

    • Elle Armit
    • February 21, 2017

    Games are great to introduce a topic or to break up a lesson. I really like the idea of this version of Tic Tac Toe, as it’s widely known around the world and is simple to understand & play. The difficulty of the lesson can be adapted depending on level of learners in the class.

  3. This activity can be adapted to any ESL level or grammar point. Furthermore it can be used to introduce a topic, revise a topic and/or break up a lesson – with questions adapted accordingly.
    Students will enjoy the competitive interaction, the importance of teamwork and collaboration during which they will be using their speaking and listening skills and practicing their grammar. At the same time they will also be thinking about grammar and sentence construction reinforced by listening to how the sentences sound.
    In addition, and after the team has selected a numbered square, I would prefer to write the relevant question in the nominated square to further promote reading skills.
    Throughout this activity student evaluation can be sought and at the same time a teacher can measure the effectiveness of the preceding lesson/s.
    I do not believe I would introduce this activity to older aged and/or more conservative students.

  4. This activity could be an enjoyable way to teach a specific grammar point. The teacher would have to give a preliminary explanation of how the game is played for the benefit of those students who may be unfamiliar with Tic Tac Toe. A list of nine prepared questions on the specific grammar point would be required.

    • Sue
    • May 10, 2017

    This could be adapted to most ESL levels and a broad variety of topics. The activity looks fun and being a collaborative learning activity would help students feel part of a group, encourage them to be more involved and practice listening, reading and speaking skills . It would work well in a class that could be made into two small groups – large groups could potentially lead to students not being involved in the discussions around answering the questions.
    The prepared questions would need to be written near the grid to promote reading.

    • Louise Oliver
    • May 11, 2017

    There are a number of points which appeal to me with this activity. The first is that it promotes collaborative learning with the group discussions prior to answering the questions. The second is that it can be adapted for any topic at all. The last is that it is fun and provides a sense of competition for the students (which can also promote a sense of belonging within the group).
    A suggestion that I have is that maybe the questions could be put up on the iwb after the students have chosen their number, so that they can; a. read the question aloud themselves and, b. refer back to the question if they forget the details of it.

  5. What I like about this game is that it is competitive and it is fun. The game can be adjusted to any skills level; and this is determined by the difficulty and subject of the questions. The questions can be on the subject of grammar, tenses, key parts of speech or just simply based on practising descriptions. The ability of the teams to have group discussions makes the game more dynamic. I’m going to enjoy using this game in class.

  6. This Tic Tac Toe game could be a great way to review a topic and end the lesson in a fun learning way. The game makes the students interact with each other and it can be adapted to different levels and lesson content depending on the questions the teacher uses. Might need to watch that the quiet, shy students are involved and answering question too. Good one.

    • H Brown
    • June 11, 2017

    A versatile and fun game that can be adapted for any lesson content. It could be used as a warmup introductory activity or as a review to bring a unit of study to a close. Simple to set up and could be done as a class activity or in smaller groups.

  7. This game sounds very interactional and a fun way to learn. A good warm up activity. It would be easier if it had specific questions and answers in the teachers notes, or examples, mainly for simplicity. This game could be used in many areas of learning and the questions can be modified to suit the learning outcome. Another option for this game is to have a pre-made game board, naughts and crosses and questions and answers. A great resource to keep.

    • Karen
    • July 16, 2017

    Tic tac toe is great for reviewing and testing students’ knowledge prior to starting a new lesson. The teacher can divide the class in groups and get the students to compete/ participate and communicate among their respective team.

    • Clare bellamy
    • July 28, 2017

    I like this game because of it’s simplicity and adaptability. It looks like it can be played in teams or with individulas. It also would not take long and there would be minimal preparation for it. A white board would be necessary.

    • James
    • August 1, 2017

    I think this is a great game, especially for smaller groups ( 4-10) students.
    The game is very simple and easy for the students to understand. It is adaptable and allows for students to answer questions relevant to the subject matter they are studying. This game also promotes interaction/communication among the students and can be used as either a warm up or lesson review.

    • Leeanne Laguna
    • August 8, 2017

    Comment 1: I like the simple easy structure of this activity. I also like the fact that it can be adapted to all age groups and learning levels. This activity doesnt need a lot of prep and can be played with or without a white board.

    • Mary Jalalabadi
    • August 14, 2017

    Tic Tac Toe is a great activity for introducing am/is/are at elementary level, and teaching the definition and use of auxiliary verbs. The teacher’s instructions are clearly explained.
    It’s a fun way of getting students to communicate with each other, which also gives them practice in using these auxiliary verbs correctly. Once they’ve played this game a couple of times and have grasped the examples given for squares 1-9, get them to construct some sentences of their own for the other team to answer.
    Squares 1-9 can also be used to introduce am not/is not-isn’t/are not-aren’t at elementary level.

    • Julie
    • August 14, 2017

    I like this version of Tic Tac Toe as it is a very common game almost everyone can play with ease. This fact would allow students and the teacher to focus on the lesson objective – and of course the lesson being a fun game would keep the interest of teacher and students and the students are more likely to retain the information being taught.

  8. I like this game because of it’s simplicity and adaptability. It looks like it can be played in teams or with individuals. It also would not take long and there would be minimal preparation for it. A white board would be necessary.

  9. I like that Tic Tac Toe is a widely known game so the focus is on the grammar learning points, not on having to learn a new game first. I also like that students have the opportunity to discuss and submit answers as a group. This reduces anxiety in individual students feeling pressured to get an answer correct. As others have suggested, it would be beneficial to have the questions visible so students can practice reading and refer to the questions if they forget them.

  10. Good beginning for any game. It could be adjusted accordingly to suit the lesson plan and learner level. So long as there are clear instructions provided to students and further work notes. I like this game.

    • Melissa
    • September 8, 2017

    This is a classic, little game. Perfect for a warmup or review activity that can easily be adapted for any lesson to keep it interesting & fun.

  11. Tic Tac Toe
    It is a great way for the student to learn and understand how the words relate to the sentence and also have fun.

    • Joana Vale
    • September 23, 2017

    Great game to play when teaching grammar!!! All students get involved and team work is one of the keys to be successful. Any learning level suits this activity.

    • suzanne campion
    • September 26, 2017

    Comment 2: Tic tac toe. Well known, universal game- simple to follow and easy to explain; Does not require a lot of time to complete so can be used as gap-filling exercise. White-board grid in usual noughts & crosses two lines vertical, two lines horizontal. Could be used in this instance to elaborate the irregular and important basic verbs TO BE; TO HAVE.
    T to pose specific pre-prepared questions in the form of gap-fill statements.
    Divide class into pairs, with one team noughts and the other crosses.
    As each student is asked a specific question, the S place the X or O, as per usual game, until the first S in each pair is found to be the winner, by being the first to complete the row of vertical, horizontal, diagonal.

    • Nida Agcanas
    • October 11, 2017

    This activity is easy to prepare and students will find it to be fun as well as a good way to learn the lesson. There are interaction and collaboration among the students promoting a sense of belonging and teamwork.

  12. I think that this game is great for a variety of reasons. It is highly adaptable for all levels, grammar points and topics. It encourages collaborative teamwork which promotes discussion between students and gives them ample opportunities to practice their communication skills of speaking and listening. It is fun and engaging which always keeps students motivated and on task. One suggestion I thought of is to write the questions and answers on the whiteboard once they have been completed – this will reinforce the grammar point being taught and provide an opportunity for students to write them down if they wanted to.

  13. This game sounds like great fun and an activity that will definitely be enjoyed by younger students. This can be used in variety of situations, which is what I like about this idea. One suggestion that I would make is that to make it an interactive activity, the teacher can write the questions on an index card or some sort and tape it on to each box for 1 to 9. The student can take turns coming up to the board to read it out to their group and discuss the answer. This way, it can also help students practice their reading skills.

    • Vini
    • November 4, 2017

    This game is a more engaging and creative way of doing a Q&A or structured discussion. It uses a familiar template (tic tac toe) to create competition and excitement in the classroom. Simple, effective and adaptable tool for the beginning or end of a lesson!

    • Anonymous
    • November 7, 2017

    I like this because students work in teams so they need to discuss answers by speaking in English.
    They can do this in teams and it reinforces their grammar and vocabulary, whilst they are having fun.

    I like this game because students work in teams so they need to discuss answers by speaking in English. This reinforces their grammar and vocabulary, while they are having fun. This would help students improve their listening and speaking skills and could be used as an ice breaker or a game for team building.

    • Joel
    • December 11, 2017

    This is a great game that is versatile with all ESL abilities. It helps promote reading (by putting the questions on the board), teamwork/collaboration (which helps with grammar and speaking skills), as well as its ease of setting up and lack of resources needed.

    However, teachers will have to be aware of shy students and help promote their involvement. Questions will also have to be prepared before the lesson. Maybe a quick introduction of the game for those who are not familiar with tic-tac-toe. I’d also get this students more involved by writing the answer on the board and marking the noughts-and-crosses when they get the correct answer. Overall a great lesson break-up exercise, and one I’m looking forward to including.

    • Jolan Moore
    • December 12, 2017

    It is a great way to complete a lesson and to review a topic. In addition, it could be used to commence a topic and break up a lesson. This game seems to be able to engage students in every level and generate discussion about grammar. What makes it more efficient is that students have the chance to discuss and submit answers as a group.

  15. This is a great and fun game which emphasizes on teamwork and collaboration and at the same time it helps students to practise their grammar.

    • Davide Bazzano
    • January 24, 2018

    I have to say that this is a great idea for many reasons :
    – will help the class to stay focus , is a funny activity so people will feel challenged and not bored
    – will help to “break the ice ” between the students
    – will be a good exercise

    • Hillary Horn
    • January 28, 2018

    Tic Tac Toe is a great game for all ages. The game can be strategic by simply placing a mark. This version of the game, however, is more challenging, incorporating knowledge of the English language in order to win the game. The game is simple enough to be explained to all ages. It encourages peer teaching and also makes learning English more comfortable and fun for all ages and levels.

    • Caitlin O'Leary
    • March 5, 2018

    This Tic-Tac-Toe activity is good for all levels of English learners because it can be adapted to suit whatever the students are learning at the time. It is also good for most age groups since it is not too childish for older learners and not too complicated for younger learners. There is also the added benefit of Tic-Tac-Toe being known around the world (there is even a world championship event), so the basic rules of play should be known by people from different cultures.

  16. I like that this game is so adaptable as you can teach a variety of grammar as well as make it easier or harder depending on the level you are teaching. The rules are also simple of the game and as it is a a popular game played it can be understood faster. You could even alter this game to have words on the spaces instead of numbers (potentially even make the middle one the most difficult as that is normally the most popular move). For example, students have to write/say the correct past tense form of the word within a sentence.

    • greg
    • June 11, 2018

    A familiar game for many people and suitable for any level of ESL. Nine questions are needed for the particular grammar point being taught.

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