`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.’

So begins Lewis Carroll’s classic poem, Jabberwocky.

But, what does it mean to gyre or gimble.  And where is a wabe, anyway?

Lewis Carroll is not alone in using invented language.  Other authors such as Richard Adams, Dr. Seuss, George Orwell, Roald Dahl, A.A. Milne, Chaucer and, of course, William Shakespeare all invented words, many of which worked their way into common English usage.

In this COW Writing Challenge, students are given a bonus word list of nonsense words.  It’s completely up to each student what the nonsense word means.

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 understands the intended 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 nonsense words from the context of the sentence.

After students complete this writing challenge, have a sharing session of the stories.  In each use of a nonsense word, have the students try to define the word based upon its use in the context of the writing.

We hope your class has a blazzorkle time working on this thlingmahoof writing challenge!