Pic Tac Toe game for English language classes

Click here for the Pic Tac Toe PDF file

This is a great English language icebreaking lesson involving pictures, a game, creative sentence production and a drill to present or contrast verb tenses – excellent for teaching present simple or present continuous.

1. Draw an empty grid 4 by 3 on the board and tell the students to copy it.

2. Then tell them to draw a boy and an ice cream in square 1. If they don’t follow draw it yourself so they get the idea you’re dictating pictures.

3. Have fun with the picture dictation and keep up a fast pace so they don’t linger on details. Keep the descriptions spare:

“square 12, a man, a woman and a heart”.

When the pictures are finished explain the rules of the game.
1. Play a little game of traditional tic tac toe with yourself on the board

2. Explain you’re going to play a variation of tic tac toe where one square is worth 5 points
and a row of 3 is worth a bonus 10

1. All sentences in present simple or target tense.
2. No sentences shorter than 6 words.
3. Sentences must be correct.

Draw an example picture on the board and elicit a correct sentence using present tense( or target tense) i.e. “He plays pinball at the game center everyday”.
-make sure the students understand the connection between the pictures and the
sentences-the best way is by playing a little game with yourself on the board.

Then divide the students into 2, 3 or 4 teams of 4,5 or 6 students. Start walking around the class in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction asking for sentences (this is a spoken exercise..no writing…students must orally present a correct sentence). If a team gets a correct sentence mark it on the board “Tic Tac Toe” style. Play until the whole board is filled up- not until sometime gets “Tic Tac Toe”.

Immediately after the game and before the energy recedes….select a good student and say

“You are present simple”
“I (the teacher) am present continuous”
Systematically start to work your way through the pictures.

Picture 1

Student : “The boy eats an ice cream”
Teacher: “The boy is eating an ice cream”

Picture 2

Student: “He drives his car in the rain”
Teacher: “He is driving his car in the rain”

Click here for the Pic Tac Toe PDF file

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