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parts of speech

Mad Libs to Teach Parts of Speech

Grade Level: 6th - 8th grade

Duration: 45-60 minutes

Objectives: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify, define, and apply the basic parts of speech, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

Teacher’s Note: It’s time to finally make grammar and parts of speech fun for your middle school students. Mad Libs are a creative and interactive way to teach nouns, verbs, adjectives, and more. Students should begin with a basic understanding of each of these parts of speech. This activity can be re-done throughout the year to strengthen their skills.

Materials Needed

  • Mad Libs worksheets (create or find age-appropriate ones online; for example Mad Lib Printables )
  • Pencils or pens
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Projector or screen for displaying instructions

Introduction (10 minutes)

Ask: Begin by asking your students a simple question: "Who here thinks grammar is boring?" Chances are, you'll see plenty of hands go up. Let them know that today, you're going to prove them wrong!

Do: Read out a Mad Libs story without filling anything in. Where there’s a blank, say “blank.”

Ask: After reading, ask students if they can guess what's missing in those blanks.

Discuss: Briefly introduce the concept of "parts of speech."

  • Use a metaphor like "Imagine a sentence as a pizza, and parts of speech are the toppings that make it delicious."
  • A pizza needs essential things like crust, sauce, and cheese. These are like nouns, verbs, and direct objects. Together, they make the foundation of a pizza.
  • Explain that adjectives, adverbs, and other topics are like the pepperoni, sausage, and veggies that make the pizza unique and flavorful.

Parts of Speech Review & Warm-Up (25 minutes)

Discuss: To ensure everyone is on the same page, conduct a quick review. Encourage students to contribute their own examples and definitions. Use the whiteboard to list examples of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

Say: Now, it's time to get your creative juices flowing!

Do: Hand out a Mad Libs worksheet to each student. Choose a relatively simple one for this warm-up.

Say: You’ll need to fill in the blanks with specific parts of speech. For each blank, I’ll tell you the part of speech you need (e.g., "Give me a noun!" or "I need a verb!"), and you shout it back to me. I’ll pick the one I like the best.

Do: Read the Mad Libs story aloud once until everyone has filled in the blanks. Prepare for a lot of laughter.

Discussion: After reading, ask students how understanding parts of speech helped them complete the Mad Libs. Emphasize how choosing the right words made the story funny and entertaining.

Creating Mad Libs (15 minutes)

Say: Now, it's time for the main event. You’re going to do your own Mad Libs stories!

Do: Divide the class into small groups, and give each group a blank Mad Libs worksheet.

  • Depending on the stories you choose, students will need to collect 10-15 parts of speech from their teammates (2 nouns, 3 verbs, 2 adjectives, 1 adverb, etc.).
  • Each group member takes turns asking for a specific part of speech and writing down their teammates' responses.

Share: Have each group take turns sharing their completed Mad Libs stories with the class.

Discuss: After the groups present, discuss how the different parts of speech influenced the story's humor. Talk about the importance of choosing words that fit the context.

Conclusion (5 minutes)

Say: Wrap up the lesson by emphasizing that understanding parts of speech can make language exciting and fun.

Ask: Ask your students if they still think grammar is boring. Hopefully, the answer will be a resounding "No!"

Homework (Optional)

For those who want to take their love for Mad Libs beyond the classroom, assign a Mad Libs worksheet for homework. Encourage them to complete the task with their family or friends.

Extension Activities (If Time Allows)

  1. Challenge your students with more complex Mad Libs stories.
  2. Have students write their own Mad Libs stories, focusing on using certain parts of speech. They can swap with other students the next day.
  3. Explore the history of Mad Libs and its creator, Leonard Stern, as a mini research project.

Written by Brooke Lektorich
Education World Contributor
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