Whenever I hear a fourth grader say how much they enjoyed a lesson, they often add, “You’re funny, Mrs. Kasper,” even though I’m not a natural jokester. With today’s packed curriculum and preparation of students for testing, it’s important to keep in mind that kids remember more if they’ve found some humor in the lesson. But what if you’re more reserved? What if you tend to have a more serious personality? Here are five ways to add some humor to your classroom, even if you have a more somber personality.
I keep a joke book and an anthology of funny poems by my desk at all times. When we’ve finished with our morning warm-up, I spend a minute reading a joke or funny poem. Everyone laughs (or groans!) and they all sit up straighter to see what’s coming next.
Allow students to post cartoons on a small corner of a bulletin board or on the side of a file cabinet.
At the end of the day, we gather our backpacks and gather on the carpet to say good-bye and remind students of last-minute agenda items. Set aside a minute or two during a similar time in your day for students to share a joke with the class—school appropriate, of course.
If I make a mistake, I don’t get upset when the kids laugh. I laugh with them. Sometimes I give a ticket to a student who catches me in a mistake. You should see the huge grins that spread across their faces, and mine.
When we play whole-group review games, I pretend I’m Steve Harvey, Bob Barker or Drew Carey. You know what a carnival barker sounds like, right? Just pretend you’re one of those when you announce whose turn it is next. “Stevie, Come On Doowwwn!” In one review that we play with our task cards, I ask each team for their score in my best Tom Cruise voice: “Shooow Meeee Your Scooore!” Just ham it up a bit, and your students will love it!
So remember, when they’re smiling and laughing, they’re learning!