I've never done this before - mainly because I'm not that creative so I get most of my ideas from other people - but I had a fun idea for teaching/practicing grammar that actually worked out pretty well (which doesn't always happen) and produced a fun (and, I think, effective) activity in my class today; so, I thought I'd share it here...
I realize I've already lost more than half of you by using the words fun and grammar in the same sentence; but for those of you still sticking around (I'm assuming you are a teacher, home-schooler, or one of the rare breeds of grammar lovers in the world), I present to you: Modifier Mad Libs.*
Here's the basic gist:
For part one, I provided students with a basic story in traditional Mad Lib form. Then, in pairs, they worked to complete it by having one student blindly provide specific types of modifiers/modifier phrases while the other filled them in to the story. The finished product was - as I suspected it would be - outlandish and funny, and the students loved sharing them with the class.
For part two, I distributed index cards to each pair of students and asked them to write a simple sentence (Subject + Verb + Direct Object). Then, I provided space on the hand-out for them to write different modifiers and modifier phrases that could potentially be added to their sentence to give details. When everyone was finished, I collected the index cards and re-distributed the simple sentences. The students' challenge was to write a new sentence combining the sentence they were given and the modifier/phrases they had written. This was mainly designed to help them practice placing modifiers correctly in a sentence.
If you think you might like to try this with your class, here is the Google Docs link to the Word version of the hand-out I created with instructions and space for students to write. Feel free to save, print, or modify (haha, I crack myself up) it. :)
A few other things...
- I used this as part of a "Grammar Crash Course" I'm doing with my ninth graders after a review of modifiers. The activity provided here is geared towards that age-group (roughly) and unit of study; however, it could easily be adapted for any grade level. (I've heard of lots of people using Mad Libs to teach parts-of-speech specifically.)
- You may want to give your students a warning that all material should be "classroom appropriate." I trust my students, but sometimes 9th graders are unpredictable. :) Better to be safe than sorry - especially since you won't necessarily read everything before they share it with the class.
- Sorry if this is totally lame.
*Obviously, I'm not the first teacher ever to think of using Mad Libs in the grammar classroom. I'm just calling this my own because I created the worksheet and thought up the instructions and process myself. FYI.