ESL Warm-up Activity: Play Tic-Tac-Toe the ESL Way

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I have been an ESL Teacher for more than 15 years and a Teacher trainer for the last three. Now I help new teachers start their journey traveling and teaching English abroad.
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Tic-tac-toe as an ESL warm-up activity

I tried this ESL warm-up activity today for my lower level students and it turned out very good, so since students enjoyed it I’m posting it here to serve as an idea to others too.

esl warm-up activity: tic-tac-toe

How to play

This ESL warm-up activity is best with a small size class.

It doesn’t work very well for a large class unless you have all well-behaved students, so when I used it for a class of 30 students it helped a lot that the students like me very much in this particular classroom.

But after doing the lesson, although they enjoyed it, I still think this will work best for a smaller class size because for one, the noise level won’t be as loud and other teachers will not be complaining about your class disturbing theirs and two, it will be a lot easier to keep track of all the students.

  1. Divide the class into two teams and tell them that you are going to play a game called Tic-tac-toe and that if they have played Bingo, they already know how to play this game.
  2. Draw nine squares on the board
  3. Fill the squares with vocabulary words, phrases, idioms, prepositions or any content you want to teach them
  4. I used vocabulary so my students had to use the word in a sentence and give an example
  5. If the sentence and the example they give is correct, they win that square
  6. You play until one team gets three squares in a row and calls out tic tac toe

This is a 15-minute exercise/ESL warm-up activity, so plan accordingly. Depending on the knowledge level of your students, it could last longer or less.

If you want to use paper or want a print out to remind you how to play in class, download it below. The one attached is on school items.



Hope this will be useful. Cheers!

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