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Using Mad Libs® in the Classroom: Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs (Gr. 4-6)

Verb activities look at tenses, helping verbs and main verbs, irregular past tenses, and contractions. Adjectives activities focus on "which, what kind, and how many"; comparative and superlative adjectives; article, adjective, and noun phrases; and words that can be used as adjectives or adverbs. Adverb activities provide practice in adding -ly to an adjective to form an adverb, using comparative forms of modifiers, and finding the word that is modified.
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Using Mad Libs in the Classroom: Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs (Gr. 4-6)

Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs (Gr. 4-6)

Supplement your upper elementary reading and language arts lessons on verbs, adjectives, and adverbs with these activities for use with Mad Libs® books. Or, allow your students to enjoy Mad Libs® online!

Verbs (Gr. 4-6)

Clap, Stamp, and Snap
Review that verbs have different tenses, or times. Present-tense verbs tell about actions happening now, past-tense verbs tell about actions in the past, and future-tense verbs tell about things that will happen. Assign students to small groups. Have them take turns reading a sentence from a Mad Libs® story aloud. Have the listeners clap if the verb is in the present tense, stamp if it is in the past tense, and snap if the action described will take place in the future.
Lend a Hand
Review that some verbs consist of a helping verb and a main verb. Have students look through several Mad Libs® stories and copy helping verbs and main verbs on separate index cards. Have them stack the verb cards in two separate piles. Then have partners take turns selecting a card from each pile. Have them put the two cards together to create a verb phrase and then use these phrases in oral or written sentences.
Lights, Camera, ACTION!
Create game cards by looking through several Mad Libs® stories and writing the present tense of action verbs that have irregular past tenses. Possibilities include words such as run, swim, come, sit, write, teach, take, ride, fly, and rise. Assign students to small groups. Have one student select a card and pantomime the verb. Have others in the group identify both the present and past tenses of the verb and use both forms in sentences.
Let's Tighten Things Up
Remind students that a contraction is a shortened form of two words where an apostrophe is used to take the place of one or more letters that are left out. Have students scan Mad Libs® selections looking for pronouns and verbs that can be rewritten as contractions. Have them choose five sentences and rewrite each using at least one contraction.

Adjectives (Gr. 4-6)

Color-Coded Adjectives
Review that adjectives are describing words that provide information about nouns by telling which, what kind, or how many. Give each student three colors of highlighters. Have them browse through Mad Libs® stories looking for adjectives. Then have them color code these adjectives to indicate whether they tell which, what kind, or how many.
Let's Compare
Remind students that adjectives can be used to compare words. Then review how comparative and superlative adjectives are formed. Pair students and have them select previously completed Mad Libs® stories. Have partners reread the stories and use comparative and superlative forms of adjectives to compare the stories' contents.
Article, Adjective, Noun
Assign students to groups of three. Have each student pick a Mad Libs® selection and write at least five nouns from the story. Have students take turns sharing these nouns. After each one is read, have the other two students add an adjective and then an article to create a noun phrase. Then have all three students use the phrase in an oral sentence. For example: princess, extraordinary princess, an extraordinary princess.
Adjective or Adverb?
Explain that some words such as little, hard, slow, and fast can be used as adjectives or adverbs. Have students look through several Mad Libs® selections to locate other words that belong in this category and write them on cards. Have students take turns displaying a card and saying either adjective or adverb. Have the others write sentences illustrating this usage. Conclude by having students share their sentences.

Adverbs (Gr. 4-6)

Adverb Spin
Review that adverbs are describing words that provide information about verbs by telling when, where, and how. Have pairs make a spinner with when, how, and where as choices on the spinner. The students will then take turns spinning. Based on the result of the spin, have them look through Mad Libs® stories for adverbs that tell when, where, or how.
Presto Chango
Remind students that many adverbs can be formed by adding -ly to an adjective. Have students scan a Mad Libs® story looking for adjectives, and list them. Where possible, have them transform the adjectives into adverbs by adding -ly and list these words in a second column. Have students use the two words in oral sentences, and discuss how the meaning of the word changes when an adjective becomes an adverb.
Using Good and Well
Explain that good and bad are adjectives and well and badly are adverbs, except that well can also be an adjective when it means "healthy." Present the list below to help students with the comparative forms of these modifiers. Have students use the words in oral sentences and encourage them to refer to the chart when slotting these words in Mad Libs® stories.

Adjectives: good, well (healthy), bad
Adverbs: well, badly
Comparing Two: better, worse
Comparing More Than Two: best, worst

Where's the Action?
Remind students that adverbs can modify either verbs or adjectives. Have students scan several completed Mad Libs® selections to locate adverbs, and use colored markers to draw a line from each adverb to the word it modifies. Suggest that they use one color for adverbs that modify verbs and another for adverbs that modify adjectives.

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