Make Em Laugh

Posted on February 15, 2014. Filed under: Laughter |

Sadly, the sound of laughter is not one that I encounter when I visit classrooms to observe my student teachers. Smiles too are becoming extinct. I would like to start a humor movement and bring humor back to the classroom.

As a third grade teacher I often used humor as a way of gauging, which students were listening. For example, if I were teaching a unit on space, I might ask, why did the cow go to outer space? At first I would get some strange looks, but when I gave the class the punch line, To get to the Milky Way, laughter erupted and filled the classroom. Of course, those who were not listening had no idea why everyone was laughing and learned to listen a little more closely.

Humor has many benefits; in fact research has demonstrated that humor can help motivate student learning, help students retain information and humor helps to create a comfortable, supportive classroom environment. Furthermore, when teachers adopt a light-hearted attitude, they are often rated higher than other teachers.

Using humor in the classroom is essential and healthy for students of all ages. Laughing makes learning a lot more fun and also more interesting. When we laugh, our stress levels go down. Laughter lowers anxiety and depression levels (Mayo Clinic 2010). Even on the busiest days we can spare a few minutes for a good laugh.  Here are some ways you can get started:

  • Share a funny story—especially one from your childhood!
  • Tell a joke, riddle, or puzzle. Save the answer for the end of the period or day.
  • Share a daily cartoon. Tack a student favorite on a bulletin board. Invite students to create their own cartoons that illustrate vocabulary words.
  • Read daily from an entertaining, humorous book. Tickle the funny bone of your age group and promote literacy!

Humor makes the learning process fun and interesting. If you do not do this already, try adding some humor to your teaching. You will get a much better response from your students. Even if you crack a joke or say something funny once a day, that is a start to bringing laughter back to the classroom!

If you know any great jokes and would like to share, please feel free to comment. Thanks!

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