a Project H Design initiative

Mad Libs

Create a story as a class while learning language basics

Age group: Grades K-5

Number of students recommended: 20

Subjects/skills learned: Vocabulary, grammar, spelling

Object of the game: To create a story by selecting words by part of speech.

Setup: As the teacher, write a short story with twenty-five blank spaces to be filled in by the class (mark which part of speech these missing words need to be- nouns, verbs, etc). Using chalk, write a series of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs on the tires (ideally corresponding to the number of each that you need to complete your story). Have the students line up in one single line next to you.

Game Play: Beginning with the first student in line (and the first blank in the story), the teacher calls out “noun” or whichever part of speech that blank corresponds to, and asks the student to find a tire with that word/part of speech. For example, if the first blank in your story is a verb, say to the first student, “find me a verb,” and they may go sit on the tire marked as “swim.” As each student finds the correct type of tire, have them read the word outloud, and fill in the blank spot in your story. Once the student has read out loud, they sit on the tire and remains there for the duration of the game. The teachers continues through all of the students until all of the tires are full.

Game Conclusion: Once all students are seated on a tire, the teacher reads out the completed story to the students.

Examples: The teacher call out nouns. The student must find a noun (for example: dog) within all of the other words on the tires. Once found, he/she calls it out and remains on the tire.

Tips and Variations:

  • Do not write words on tires. Instead, ask each of the students to start by sitting on the tires. Go through the group asking for nouns, adjectives, verbs from each student, filling in the blanks as you go. Once the story is complete, read the story out loud with the new words from the class.
  • As a homework assignment prior to running this game, have the students write their own stories with 25 blanks spaces. Repeat the activity with the student’s own stories.
  • Use for foreign languages, following the same rules, but in Spanish, French, etc.