Una misión espantosa

I am so excited to be able to share this activity with you! Connie Triplett, a blog follower from Cleveland, OH, emailed this Mad Libs activity to me and gave me permission to share it with other readers on my blog! It is perfect for Halloween (although she sent it to me in…cough…April…), and it is a great review of super high frequency structures in Spanish. (In case you’re looking for other Halloween inspiration, check out this old post and this follow-up…or just skip it and do Day of the Dead).

Connie has used this activity with great success in her 4th through 8th grade classes. I loved using Mad Libs in my classes, too, because it is an easy way to generate a large number of unique versions of the same story. The same target structures are used in each story, so as you read through them together with your students, comparing and contrasting them, your students will get TONS of repetitions of the target structures. Because the content is original (customized), it is easy to maintain engagement. With the follow-up writing/summarizing activity that Connie created, students get even MORE repetitions of the target structures. Pair the activity with a few PQA to target the word “espantoso” (scary)–some are included in the file download below–and you’ve got yourself an easy two day+ lesson plan! Yes!!

The challenge to creating a successful Mad Libs activity comes in the word bank. Students need to write the correct form of any given word in order for the story to make sense and the language to be accurate. Since we know that language is not acquired by learning and practicing rules (memorizing what a definite/indefinite article is and when to apply it), I don’t drill and kill grammatical nomenclature into my students. When we do Mad Libs activities, then, I can’t rely on my students being able to write down “singular, definite article + plural noun” on demand. What I have found to work best is the format that you will see in this Mad Libs activity: a chart with a short explanation of the kind of word that students need to write, along with several examples. Keep the grammar-speak as comprehensible as possible, and support it with examples. With the table and your guidance (make sure you’re walking around the room to support your students!), students should be able to complete the word bank accurately.

Click on image to access plans
Click on image to access plans

To pre-teach vocabulary for this Mad Libs activity, check out these plans:

If you love this Mad Libs activity…here are some more!

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