Before doing this writing challenge, you might want to have students read Lewis Carrol’s classic poem, “The Jabberwocky.” The poem is loaded with made-up or nonsense words. Yet, within the context of the poem, the reader can speculate as to the meaning of each.
In this writing challenge, the writers are given a bonus word list of nonsense words. Here is the challenging part. As they use each nonsense bonus word in their writing, they should try to create enough context so that the reader gets the meaning of the word.
Here’s an example: “I guzzonoided off the top of the cliff and landed with a blangerhoot in the river below.” In this example, the reader can infer the possible meaning of the non-sense words from the context of the sentence.
To complete this writing challenge:
- Go to your Bonus Word List Manager. Copy the “Nonsense Words” Bonus Word list over from the ‘Shared’ tab. Be sure to assign it to your class.
- Any prompt will work for this writing challenge, so have the students either choose to get a prompt, or just start with a blank page.
(NOTE: As none of these words exist in our dictionary, variations (such as plurals or different tenses) of a word will not be recognized. The exact word as it appears must be used.)
- After the writing session, be sure to have a sharing time where students can read their stories. Compare the stories in how they use the same nonsense words. Challenge students to come up a definition of the nonsense words from the context of a given story.