A Very Funny Day


I’ve decided to start doing Mad Libs with my adult students as a way to warm them up before the horror that is English grammar. I chose today for the denouement of what I hope will become a fixture in my lessons, if only to give me a new way to help them, bust out the creative writing skills and defeat boredom in class. This evening, after I sent the children packing, I wrote a story template, tailoring it for my “Beginner 2” level.

The test mice were receptive but, once we got going, balked. “I don’t know adjective,” they said. It would have been so easy to just translate – keiyoshi – but they’re not paying to hear Japanese and the few times I’ve lazily given them the word in Japanese I’ve received nervous, hostile looks. Thus, it was “Funny. Fat. Small. Big.” And when that didn’t work it was “Verb is run, walk, sit, dance, talk. Noun is octopus, log, blood, class. Adjective is funny, hairy, ugly, loud, stupid.” The enlightened Asoka! and Ehhhhh! signaled go time.

The fruits of the pilot Mad Libs session, as written by E, Kana and Toshi:

Today I woke up. I felt angry. I wanted a bicycle. I asked my friend for help. He said, “How are you?”

I worked. I left home and went to karaoke by bicycle. At karaoke, I saw my sister. She said, “What happened?”

We decided to go to a restaurant together. We had meat for dinner and then we went to the park. I was very surprised when I saw a fat chair. It was a very funny day!

A funny day indeed, and hopefully more to come.

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