Students will create a Mad Lib story in which other students can fill in either “happy” or “excited” to complete the story and apply their understanding of the difference between happy and excited.


Students will be able to:

  1. Create a Mad Lib story in which other students can fill in either “happy” or “excited” to complete the story.
  2. Apply their understanding of the difference between happy and excited to their own Mad Lib as well as to completing those of their classmates


Paper and writing utensils or computers if creating Mad Lib online


Time Activity Notes
2 min

Ask students to spend the next few minutes thinking about definitions for “happy” and “excited” and in particular defining them in terms of the difference between feeling “happy” versus feeling “excited.”

5 min
Class Definitions

Discuss as a class how best to define and differentiate “happy” and “excited.” As a class, decide on definitions for each word and display where everyone can see.

You may want to guide students through defining the words by asking questions such as:

  • What causes us to feel happy? What causes us to feel excited?
  • What types of things do we tend to do or be doing when we are happy? What about when we are excited?
10 min
Writing Mad Libs

Explain to students that today they will be creating and exchanging Mad Libs that use the words “happy” or “excited.”

Ask students to share in pair shares: “What is a mad lib?”

Then do a group tell back. In the tell back be sure to cover that a Mad Lib is a short story that has words missing, which someone else fills in to complete the story.

Explain that today, in the stories they create, they can write about any topic of their choosing as long as there are at least 4 places within their stories where either the word “happy” or “excited” can be filled in.

As they create their stories, they should craft sentences that clearly call for either “happy” or “excited” given the definitions the class created. These stories can be handwritten or typed.

You may want to offer an example, such as the following:

I am going on vacation next month to [place]. I am so [happy or excited]! The sky there is always so [color]. and the people there are so [personality trait]. That vacation spot is my [happy or excited] place.

3 min
Exchanging Mad Libs

Once every student has written his or her story, collect them (print them out or have them exchange via email if typed) and distribute so that no one has his or her own story.

Have students spend 2 minutes completing the Mad Lib they received.

10 min
Group Share and Discussion

Select a few volunteers to read the stories with the new words filled in.

After each story, have the class decide if the words, happy and excited, were used properly in the story.

Once several stories have been read, ask students what details/sentences of students’ stories tended to call for “happy” and which parts tended to call for “excited.”

Given these commonalities and differences, can anything be added to or changed in the class definitions for “happy” or “excited?”

5 min

See the questions under “Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment” below. Have students answer these questions in a format that works for your class, whether that is on paper, in smalls groups, as a whole-class discussion, etc.

Connections to Other Emotions

Writing stories and sharing them also may help students to feel energized and connected.

Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment

  1. How did your definitions of happy and excited differ from the class ones?
    What was this activity like for you? How did it make you feel?
  2. How did the Mad Libs contribute to a better understanding of the difference between happy and excited?