One of the ways to make learning more effective is to transit from mechanical practice to more engagement with the target grammar or vocabulary focusing on the use of forms for students’ own production of speech or writing.
My today’s post describes an adaptation of the extended version of Noughts and Crosses (or Tic-Tac-Toe) that offers a higher level of challenge for students turning a tense review into a personally relevant and meaningful activity.
For the game, students will need coordinate grids with each square defined by the horizontal axis (Simple, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous) and the vertical axis (Present, Past and Future).
a 3×4 grid – for tenses in active voice,
or a 6×4 grid for tenses in active and passive voice.
How to play the game:
1. Pair up students and ask them to draw a grid (6×4 grid; with 4 spaces ‘your choice’) to play the game.
2. In order to place a mark X or O, the players should make a sentence about themselves or somebody they know in the corresponding tense form. They may choose any square they wish to place their marks (X or O) in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row. The players are not allowed to put their marks in the same square so they have no option but to use different tense forms.
For Grid 1
The player who succeeds in placing three of their marks in a row wins the game.
For Grid 2
The player who succeeds in placing four of their marks in a row wins the game.
2. To add learning value to the game, have your students make a list of 12-24 words (they can use it during the game crossing out the words used) or fill in the grid with the vocabulary they have recently learnt. Lots of variations here: for example, ask students to fill in one square in the grid with a target vocabulary item and then pass their grids on to another pair, exchange again, and so on, until all the grids are filled in.
In order to place a mark X or O, the players should make a sentence about themselves or somebody they know in the corresponding tense form, using the word given in the square (or the list).
Before the game*:
*This is an optional step, however, it could be rather helpful, especially if you have a multi-level class.
You can also coin a ‘verb’ using some culture-specific concepts or realia of your students’ culture.
For example, I like to use ‘to burek’ with my Montenegrin students (a burek is a traditional Montenegrin pie) –
I burek every day – I’ve just bureked – I’ll burek tomorrow – I’d bureked before she came back home, etc.
This stirs up much laughter in the classroom, boosting retention – students remember the forms way better.
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