SOS: XO Let’s Go!

Welcome to  Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

***This strategy has been modified from DEN STAR Terra-Lee Gratton. You can find her resource HERE. ***

XO Let’s Go

PDF Version



“I’m ‘X,’ You’re ‘O’…Let’s Go” is a paired, verbal fluency, instructional strategy that activates thinking. It allows the opportunity for students to orally share with a partner what they’ve learned from a lesson of any format type, such as a video, a reading, a presentation, a discussion, and even a song. As students have their turns at speaking, their partners will be actively involved by listening intently, so they do not repeat anything their partner says. This strategy can also act as an assessment for learning process where the teacher can check for student strengths and weaknesses in their understanding of given topics.


  • Have students work in pairs. One will be “X” and one will be “O.”
  • Have each pair create a tic-tac-toe board on a piece of blank paper.
  • Show students the video Yellowstone National Park.
  • Without interruption, so that each student gets a chance to speak, student “X” will have 1 minute to verbalize to student “O” what he or she learned from the video. He or she can then place an “X” on the tic-tac-toe board.
  • Student “O” will then have 1 minute to verbalize what he or she learned from the video. Student “O” should not repeat anything that student “X” shared. He or she can then place an “O” on the tic-tac-toe board.
  • Students may add information to the tic-tac-toe board such as:
    • Yellowstone National Park has 80% of earth’s geysers.
    • Old Faithful is in Yellowstone.
    • 3 major volcanic eruptions helped to create what is now Yellowstone National Park.
    • The heat from the geysers comes from the Yellowstone hotspot, 2 miles below the surface.
  • This will be repeated twice, with shorter time limits.
  • Student “X” will then have 30 seconds to share again what he or she learned from the video.
  • Student “O” will then have 30 seconds to also share more about what he or she learned from the video.
  • Finally, student “X” will have 15 seconds to talk about something he or she learned from the video, followed by student “O” having the last 15 seconds to wrap-up the conversation about what he or she learned.
  • If a student repeats what the other has already shared, their partner gets to select where they should place their “X” or “O”. The goal is to win tic-tac-toe against their partner as they complete this activity.



  • Select a topic that matches your curriculum.
  • Find a video or reading passage for students to watch or read.
  • Pair students with one being student “X” and the other being student “O.”
  • Have students create a tic-tac-toe board.
  • Explain to students that they will have a total of 3 1/2 minutes to talk with their partners about what they understood from the video or reading passage, starting with student “X” speaking for 1 minute and then student “O” speaking for 1 minute. Explain that they need to listen carefully, so they do not repeat what their partner says.
  • Student “X” will then have 30 seconds to speak, and then student “O” will have 30 seconds to speak.
  • Finally, student “X” will have 15 seconds to speak, and student “O” will have the last 15 seconds to wrap-up the conversation.
  • After each sharing opportunity, he or she will place their “X” or “O” on the tic-tac-toe board with the goal of winning the game. If a student shares something that was already mentioned, their partner gets to tell them where to place their “X” or “O”.



  • Once the students complete this activity in pairs, the winners of the tic-tac-toe move on to play another winner. This will repeat until there is one class winner.


You can take the challenge by:

  • Implementing this strategy and letting us know how it went by posting a comment below.
  • Using this strategies in your grade level planning discussions and/or professional development and reporting your events. (Remember we consider an event anytime 3 or more educators gather together… doesn’t have to be in a computer lab… could be sitting around the lunch table)
  • Photocopying the flier and distributing it in your colleague’s boxes and/or posting it to your own BulleDEN board.

To see other strategies in this series click here.  For a link to all the PDFs in this series click here.


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  1. Sara Badiner said:

    Love this idea. Since I teach hs freshmen, I’m anticipating lots of bickering over who gets to go first and “that’s not fair, he/she said all the good stuff already.”
    I’d love to hear your thoughts about ‘fairness factor’ !! 🙂

  2. Ginny Washburne said:

    Great question Sara! I would have them pick who is X and who is O, and then you as the teacher can flip a coin to decide who goes first. Or you could have them each in groups flip a coin to figure out who goes first 🙂

  3. Sara Badiner said:

    Got to try this today (with a few tweaks) in my freshman English 1 class. It was awesome. Kids loved it, they were engaged, on task, doing a great job.
    If anyone is interested, I’ll happily share how I changed this up a little.
    Regardless… Ginny, thanks for posting this strategy. It is awesome!

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