New Game: Tic Tac Toe Grammar Game

This week Mido jumps up a bit to do some funky grammar practice.

First let’s illustrate it with “Can ….” then we can level it up a bit! πŸ™‚

1. On the board draw a 3 x3 gird with I, You, He/She on the side, + – ? on the top. Β Then put several different verb (e.g. here or hereΒ or hereΒ or “play” or “speak“) Β flashcards that you want to review in each space Β e.g.


2. Β The first team gets to make a sentence using the structures on the board e.g. if they say “You can’t drink” they get to put a cross in the middle square! Β ( A very sensible first move πŸ™‚ )

Ninja Tip: Β Teach the “It’s not good” song to teach the “not” or “can’t” forms!

3. Β Then the next team gets to make a sentence and put a circle there e.g. if they say “Can she sing?” they get to put a circle on the bottom rightΒ square!

4. Β First team to make Tic-Tac-Toe e.g. three crosses or three circles in a row wins!

You get the idea?

Now, just as we learnt from War Games, Tic Tac Toe always ends in a draw.

So ….. now we do it with a 5 x 5 grid!

And to make it tougher we can add in nouns ( or Β just about any theme from the curriculum!)


So this time, if you’ve done for example the Do you have any pets? theme, they have to also think about the verb to use e.g. She has a banana. etc.

If you want to be even tougher, add in things likeΒ What do you want to be?Β and the kids have to come up with things like “Does he want to be a rockstar?” orΒ How are you?Β and the kids have to say things like “She isn’t cold”

Ninja Tip: Β If a grammar piece that you haven’t covered yet crops up, e.g. “You don’t want to be an artist” you get the kids to take their best guess and then, right here and now, teach the extra parts they need. Β This is Β the *very* best possible time to teach new grammar because the kids have a real need for it, *right now*, to win the game – and this motivation is all it takes! πŸ™‚

Pretty cool, eh?

What’s even cooler is that if you combine many themes that you’ve done before, the kids will naturally start combining themes to say things like “He doesn’t want to be a watermelon!” etc. Β which is also very cool – and very funny when it happens!

So, what favourite combinations will you use with this theme? Β Do let us know in the comments!

Be genki,


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

16 Responses to “New Game: Tic Tac Toe Grammar Game”

  1. Margit

    Hey! This is GREAT!!! Please, please please give us the printable link for these!!!!!
    And I bet everyone would love many grids!

  2. MIDO

    Hi margit
    What do u think of this one !
    Hope you and all the teachers enjoy it

  3. Margit


    yes indeed , but this will be really lots of work and time consuming. And they would end up NOT being a nice square on the copy machine,

    Here you have the grids already, so if you could give us a link that would be great. And of course if it won’T be too much of work to jumble and mix up some more that would be even better.

    I don’T think many teachers would use this brilliant idea if they would have to make it all from scratch.
    And this is the best activity here for linking topics and using negatives AND Questions at the same time!
    MIDO, YOu’re a star!

  4. Richard

    Hi Margit,

    I’m a bit confused! πŸ™‚

    I wasn’t thinking of having them as handouts for copying, just putting the regular flashcards on the board with magnets. Isn’t that pretty easy??? Or am I missing something?

  5. Margit

    OK~ we were imagining different classes here.
    I’d love to have these for my classes at home=no board=so sheets would be better. And I’d love to have these kids to do pair work with them;
    I was imagining to copy and laminate them, so they would be reusable!

    For big classes and ES of course the board and cards are much easier!

  6. Emmanuelle

    Really cool to play with 10-14 years old!

  7. lexli

    I think this grid-idea is excellent. In word you can insert a table, and then copy the pictures in the different squares. It doesn’t take much time. I usually do it when I need ad-hoc-flashcards to a specific theme.

  8. Margit


    if you play this with a 5×5 grid, do you have to get 5 in a row or still 3?

  9. Gumby

    Margit, I like to say 3 in a row is one point and let students play for longer. With a 5×5 grid, you actually get a lot of playing time.

  10. Helga

    Mido San, Richard San!!!
    these are amazing!!! I used them with little ones and even adults. They worked great.

  11. Rose

    Yes, I agree a4 cards would be super useful and perfect for bigger class sizes.

  12. Alicia

    Wow! Great idea! I always play this game for word spelling. But now i see the way to practice Q and A.
    Wonderful game! Thank you! I’m going to try it next week. Imagine: Teacher: Let’s play “Tic – Tac – Toe” Kids: Again! Oh, no! Teacher: Wait and see, new style!… That will be a big surprise for my students!!!

  13. Chu Thanh Hang

    Tic-Tac-Toe is really amazing. I can use this game for phonics, words in a specific category such as clothes, toys, body parts, etc. and grammar.
    Children do not want to stop learning and competing.

    Thank you!

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