Think Tac Toe -- a Strategy for Differentiation

A Visual Means of Assessing, Enriching and Broadening Inclusive Experience

A Think Tac Toe Chart for an End of Unit Project. Jerry Webster

Think Tac Toe is a strategy that harnesses the visual pattern of a “tic tac toe” game into a means of producing a variety of products to broaden students understanding of instructional content, to challenge students who already have some mastery of a subject, and provide a variety of means to assess student mastery in a way that is fun and unusual.

A teacher designs a Think Tac Toe to support the particular purpose of the puzzle.

Each row may have a single theme, use a single medium, explore the same idea across three different media, or even explore a single idea or subject across different disciplines.

I found this differentiation strategy in a couple of great resources from Prufrock Press, Inc: Strategies for Differentiating Instruction, and Differentiation Made Simple by Mary Ann Carr.

The reasons for using a Think Tac Toe:

  • Optional Learning Experience: If, after a pretest, it is clear that several students in the class have already mastered the topic, a Think Tac Toe might be an alternate approach to the instructional strategy you are using for the rest of the class: Students with mastery are given the option of working on projects from each line of the Think Tac Toe, and may be assessed with their peers, or with a written assessment.
  • Project to Accompany Unit: The Think Tac Toe would be given to the students at the beginning of the unit. The activities completed support the learning of all students during the course of the instructional unit. Think Tac Toes may also be differentiated into“Emerging,” “Progressing” and “Mastering” levels of difficulty. Semester Reviews: Like the project, the semester review is a means for students across abilities to exhibit mastery of the content.
  • Unit Assessments: If your main objective is for children to exhibit mastery of the content rather than process (writing or speaking publicly) than the variety of methods made available through the Think Tac Toe frees students with disabilities surrounding speaking and writing from the constraints writing or speaking might create.