• The student will be able to review what they learned about language acquisition
  • Teaching ELL's by figuring out the meanings of "Mad Gab" phrases


Print the cards on card stock or heavy paper. One student reads the phrase on the card. The other students guess what the actual phrase should be. Students should listen to what they hear and how the phrase is said, rather than focusing on the individual words. Each student should take a turn at reading the cards.

Example Mad Gab Phrase: Thief Act Huff Them Adder 
Answer: The fact of the matter.

Looks Like: Students sitting in small groups playing a game.

Sounds Like: Students reading the cards and trying to figure out the phrase. Students should be careful to use their 2-inch voices for this one because other students will hear the correct answers.

Feels Like: Students having fun as they play a game and learn at the same time.


This is a game that many students are familiar with. Because it is a game, students have generally been excited to play. It is a good way for students to review important phrases or terms from the discussion about language acquisition. All students are able to participate and working in small groups helps the students focus on the words and phrases.


Mad Gab cards, one set for a small group of students (3-4 students per group). (Materials for this activity came from a SIOP Training.)

Phrases for cards

  • Water Wee Tall Kennel Bout? (What are we talking all about?)
  • Come Pray Hands Say Pulling Poot! (Comprehensible Input)
  • Sim Pail Sent Ants Struck Shore (Simple Sentence Structure)
  • Call Hear Rex Plane a Shun Off Hack Addy Makes (Clear Explanation of Academics)
  • Hans Song Hex Pier Hens Ann May Nay Teg Sneaks (Hands-on Experience and Many Techniques)


Cards can be made for any topic area. Many games in general can be adapted to academic topics in order to facilitate a more fun environment. It is probably best to use with fluent readers who are able to put the words together to figure out other phrases.