Thursday, March 17, 2016

MadLibs! How to get reps in without feeling the burn

MadLibs is a fantastic activity for when you are low on brainpower. It is a terrible activity for a day you are losing your voice, so don't use it then. It's also a great activity for your lowest achievers to get some class work done for once! TPRS stories are perfect for this since they're essentially MadLibs to begin with.

The steps to using it are as followings:
1. Earlier in the week, tell a story, TPRS style (or however). Maybe your story turns out like this:
Jack wants dogs. Jack goes to McDonalds. In McDonalds there are many dogs, and they are hungry. The dogs eat Jack.
2. Review it at least one more time through choral reading &/or translation or reenactment or something else to get them familiar with the target structures, story pattern, & vocabulary.

3. Hand out MadLibs sheet, which looks like this:
__________ (1) person
__________ (2) person or thing, plural
__________ (3) place
__________ (4) adjective (describing word)
__________ (5) transitive verb (I would never use the word 'transitive' for my students though)

 __________ (1) wants a __________ (2). __________ (1) goes to __________ (3). In __________ (3) there are many __________ (2), and they are __________ (4). The __________ (2) __________ (5) __________ (1).

Now draw the ending of the story to show me you understand what happened.
So you could end up with:
Hello Kitty (1) person
sandwiches (2) person or thing, plural
Rome (3) place
fuzzy (4) adjective (describing word)
kidnap (5) transitive verb

Hello Kitty wants sandwichesHello Kitty goes to Rome. In Rome there are many sandwiches, and they are fuzzy. The sandwiches kidnap Hello Kitty.

(imagine there is a beautiful drawing of Hello Kitty in a sack being carried by sandwiches here)
n.b.: The picture part is important because it shows you whether the kids comprehended their own story or not.

4. Reenactment time! Ask for volunteers to be actors & to have their stories read. Actors do not have to be the ones who wrote a given story. Read each MadLib aloud as the actors perform it. Reps, reps, reps!

Extra tips:

  • The MadLib should be in the TL, but I always allow them to fill in the parts of speech in English so there's no limit to the madness. It also means even your weakest, most "I don't know Latin I can't do this" kids have no excuse not to write down some random words. 
  • ... but  if someone puts an English word that you know everyone should have acquired by now (e.g. stupid = stultus, and they all know that), replace the English with Latin when you read aloud. I also always fix inflection of nouns, etc.
  • Make it shorter than your original TPRS story. If your story had 3 locations, cut it down to one or two. Filling in the blanks gets pretty arduous.
  • I often put them in pairs to do the MadLib part, since they're going to be asking each other for help thinking of adjectives anyway. I still require each individual student to make up their own worksheet though. Plus if some kids are slower to finish than others, you can have the finished pairs read & translate their stories together before you do the whole class part.

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