How to play Vocabulary Xs and O’s in your EFL classroom.

This super simple game submission comes from David Robinson.  David is a tesol and tefl certified teacher from Toronto, Canada that is currently living in Beijing.  David teaches students from the ages of 4 to 85. He has worked in a variety of places including government schools, English training centers, corporate boardrooms, universities and even his own V.I.P. classes.

David uses this this version of the game tic tac toe with all of his classes and it’s a hit everytime. Not only is it a great way to review the lesson vocabulary and check grammar, the strategy brings out the competitive nature in each and every student.

The Details About Vocabulary Xs and Os:

  • ​The objective of the game is the same as Tic-Tac-Toe.  Teams must get three X’s or O’s in a row. Rows can be horizontal, diagonal or vertical.
  • ​This game is good for shy or low level learners because teammates are allowed to collaborate on their group's answer.
  • This game can easily be adapted to almost any level​ of classroom simply by changing the vocabulary and or language target.
  • Games can last from about 30 seconds to 15 minutes depending on class size and difficulty.

Here's How To Play Vocabulary Xs and Os

  1. ​Draw a large 9 square grid on the blackboard.
  2. Write a keyword from your lesson in each of the nine squares.
  3. Divide your class into two teams:  Xs and Os.
  4. Teams take turns using one word from the grid in grammatically correct sentences.  If a team uses the sentence correctly they capture the square and mark it with their teams symbol (X or O).  If not, they lose their turn to play.
  5. If a team makes an error, correct the issue and explore it in more detail if necessary.
  6. Repeat until on team wins by capturing 3 squares in a row.
  7. In this game ties are not ideal but they are sometimes unavoidable.

Here's A Few Extra Rules For Playing: 

  • Students are allowed to use their course materials but they are not allowed to read directly from their text books.
  • Students must begin to formulate their answers within 10 seconds.  Otherwise students will be too reliant on written materials.
  • When a student makes an error you should review it with the class.  The only student allowed to use the corrected statement is the same student that originally made the mistake.

Vocabulary Xs and Os:

    • ​It uses teamwork.
    • It reinforces grammar.
    • It involves strategy.