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How To Use Humor To Keep Your Students Engaged

 
Several years ago, I read the book The Highly Engaged Classroom by Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering.    I absolutely love this book!  It is filled will tons of strategies to keep your students engaged in your lessons.  One of the strategies they talk about is the use of humor and unusual information to pique your students' interest.

http://www.amazon.com/Highly-Engaged-Classroom-Strategies-Series/dp/0982259247

I have used humor in my classroom for years.  It has always been a way to help my students retain information.  If you look, there are hundreds of books and videos which incorporate humor to make the content more memorable for students.  When teaching social studies, one of my favorite resources to use is the Horrible Histories materials.

http://horrible-histories.co.uk/
                                
Your students will have a blast exploring this website!  There are fun games and activities, horrible jokes, and quizzes and printables.  There are over 20 Horrible Histories books now in print.  One of my favorite ones is The Awful Egyptians.  Ancient Egypt is a unit I have taught for over 20 years to my gifted students, and I have had several editions of this book.  It's always a favorite with the kiddos.  They love all the disgusting facts about everyday life in ancient Egypt, especially the information about the mummification process. 

 
There are several Horrible History videos on YouTube.  One of my favorites from the Groovy Greeks book is the Spartan Parent Teacher ConferenceI like to have my students create their own Horrible History videos in class.  This is one of their favorite activities because they get to select unusual, gross and gruesome facts from a culture or historical period and present them in a humorous way.


You can also use humor in your science and language arts classes.  I especially like to add humor when we are studying animals.  Two fun books I used when learning about animal adaptations were What If You Had Animal Teeth?  and What If You Had Animal Hair?  The follow up activities the students can do after reading these two books are fabulous!


Yolanda, over at Oceans of First Grade Fun has created some adorable activities to use with the What If You Had Animal Teeth book.  Click here  or the picture to go to the post!
 
http://oceansoffirstgradefun.blogspot.com/2013/03/patterns-for-what-if-you-had-animal.html
 
Nancy over at First Grade Wow! has also created some great activities to go with the book.  Click here  or the picture to check out the post!
 
http://firstgradewow.blogspot.com/2013/03/up-close-and-personal-with-animal-teeth.html
 
Groundhog Day is February 2nd, and I thought it was a great holiday to celebrate and to incorporate a little humor.  Thus, Welcome to Groundhog Academy was born.  This product includes a slide show which you show to your students to build background knowledge and get them excited about groundhogs, and a packet of activities for your students to complete.  I love the slide show because it incorporates humor to keep the students engaged.  Chuck, a groundhog, is hidden and asleep on every page, and the kiddos have a great time finding him.  Chuck finally wakes up in time to take his final exam and graduate from Groundhog Academy.  Here are a couple of the slides to give you an idea of how the slide show is set up. Click on the Welcome to Groundhog Academy picture to view the unit on my Teachers Pay Teachers page.
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhog-Unit-Welcome-to-Groundhog-Academy-1072857


 

 
I've also included a number of fun activities to accompany the slideshow.  Here is a sampling.
 
 
There are activities for students to read informational texts about skunks and porcupines and complete a checklist to see if they are eligible to attend Groundhog Academy.  They can also complete a Groundhog Facts book and complete a survey of the predictions of the class to see how many classmates think the groundhog will see his shadow.
 
 
Other activities include a Fact and Opinion sort, a Do You Think a Groundhog Would Make a Good Pet? survey, creative writing activities, a Design Your Own Burrow activity and a fun Groundhog Craftivity where students complete an I Am Poem about the groundhog.
Click on the Groundhog Craftivity below to get a FREE copy of the craftivity directions and patterns.
Groundhog Craftivity FREEBIE
 Click here to see the unit at my Teachers Pay Teachers store and be sure to check out the preview to see even more of the activities and slides in this unit!
 
That's all I have time for today!  I hope you got some fun ideas on ways to incorporate humor into your lessons.  Remember to always... Keep 'em Thinking!
 

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