Tic Tac Twist is an easy way to “create-a-need” for students to use vocabulary items.

This game is a great twist on Tic Tac Toe that can work with almost any subject.


In this example we'll use food as our topic and "What do you like?" "I like bananas." as the language target.


  • 9 different lesson related vocabulary cards
  •  A whiteboard.
  • Magnets.
  • A whiteboard marker.

How to:

1) Split your class into two teams.

2) Pre-teach the vocabulary using the 2-1-0 method.

3) Draw a nine square tic-tac-toe grid on the whiteboard and place one vocabulary card into each square on the grid.

Easy ESL Games Tic Tac Toe

Here's the twist

4) Have one member from each team come to the front of the classroom and have a "janken battle" (rock-scissors-paper) to see which team gets to choose a square. Instead of saying "rock-scissors-paper", replace it with an easy chant about the lesson's target language. Ex, "What - do you - like?" or "What - do you - want?" Make sure to practice the chant with the class as a whole.

5) The winning team then picks the square they want by using the correct answer to the question chant. Ex, "What do you like"? -> "I like pizza" or "What do you want"? -> "I want pizza", etc. Remember that its a group game so make sure the entire team agrees on the square selected.

6) Take down the vocabulary card the team chose and draw an X or an O in the corresponding square just like you would in a game of Tic Tac Toe.

7) Repeat until one team gets three squares in a row.