Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
Here’s a game that I came up with while teaching an unusually small class in my first year teaching. I’ve had lots of success with this one, but the larger the class the more difficult (and probably futile) it is to implement as a class activity.
TVXTAX is more than just tic-tac-toe.
The game is TVXTAX, a version of the familiar game of tic-tac-toe (AKA noughts and crosses), and if you know this Latin term you may be curious as to why it was chosen.
Well, I take the ‘tic-tac’ of tic-tac-toe to be onomatopoeic for the sound of pens or pencils scratching Xs and Os on paper. TVXTAX is onomatopoeic for the sound of a lash across a slave’s back. Kids always find that a bit fascinating, but it also works well as a Latin approximation of ‘tic-tac.’
How do you play?
The game is more than just marking boxes, however. It is highly adaptable, and I’ll leave it up to you to find more ways to use it, but this is my usual version:
Either with a set plan or just off the cuff I’ll fill the boxes with various forms (it’s particularly effective with declension endings), and have the first team choose their starting box carefully. To be able to place their mark in the box, students need to give every possible answer for the form. For example, if we were doing adjective endings and the box simply had ‘-a’, then answering ‘feminine nominative singular’ would not be enough to earn the box. What about the neuter plural?
A little variety
I occasionally use various forms of the same word. If the box were to read ‘feminibus’ then the only correct answer is that this is an incorrect form. Incorrect forms, however, should be used sparingly.
One way that I make the game a little more lively is to forgo the Xs and Os for mascots or symbols of the students’ choosing. Want to play as panda bears vs. butterflies? Crabs vs. monkeys? Fine by me. They’re entertained every time I draw that little cartoon on the board. And don’t be afraid to stretch the board beyond nine squares, and the game beyond two teams. It may all blow up in your face, but it will be fun nonetheless.