As a professional educator with decades of classroom and administrative experience, Mary Kay Morrison is uniquely positioned to educate other educators about the benefits of using humor in the classroom. Below are resources personally selected by Mary Kay for educators of students of all ages.
Presentations & Handouts
Some of these handouts are a variation on the session you attended, as Mary Kay’s workshops are designed for a specific audience. If you would like the exact information that was provided in your workshop, please email Mary Kay and she will be happy to send it to you.
• Using Humor to Maximize Learning – ISHS Conference 2009 (PowerPoint)
• Using Humor/One Hour Presentation (PowerPoint)
• Strength/Style Inventory (PDF)
• Humor Bibliography for Workshop (PDF)
• Developing a Humor Being (PowerPoint)
Focus on the Arts
• Web Art Council (PowerPoint)
Humor Q&A with Mary Kay
Q: HELP! How can I infuse some humor into my presentation!
A: Movement and Emotion are critical components for humor! These are quick strategies to get your audience to think creatively and integrate humor and fun.
• Pair/Share: This is my favorite strategy. Simply have the group talk with their neighbor about what has been discussed.
• Top Ten: Have small groups come up with the top ten ways to solve a difficult issue or problem. Use humor and creativity!
• Bumper Stickers: Share some bumper sticker sayings.
• Analogy: This issue or problem is like a microwave because…(or like a lion…, cell phone…, rock group…)
• Group Work: Divide into groups and have the group share their ideas via symbols and text type shortcuts
Q: Can Humor Be Infused in Our Back-to-School Program? Our back-to-school night is the evening of the first day of school, after a short day with only a few hours with the kids. Reflecting back, my speech on that night is pretty dry and serious. I wondered if you had an idea of how to begin the year on a lighter note. We have 20 minutes to tell about our program.
A: Remember that you need to feel comfortable doing whatever you choose to do. You can make the humor/fun as simple or complex as fits your personality. You can also tell everyone that you are trying to bring more fun into your classroom as you know it is brain-compatible. Let the parents know that your use of humor is purposeful and designed to maximize student learning! Here are a few other ideas:
Do a top ten list—the top ten reasons that kids will have fun in my class this year.
Do an analogy—my classroom is like a roller coaster because I never know what questions are going to pop up when we do…thus and so; or my class is like a microwave…
Bring a few samples of the funniest things that kids have done in your classroom during certain projects—in other words—when you share the programs, include funny things that kids in your class have done during those projects in the past.
Join our discussion on Facebook and share your successes and get ideas and suggestions for your classroom strategies.
How to Tell a Joke by Mary Kay
OK, so you want to include telling jokes in you purposeful Humor Practice? Here are some tips from Mary Kay on how to tell a joke the right way:
1. Make sure you practice the joke and can get it straight before you tell it.
2. Check it out with a close friend…I once told a naughty joke and did not realize it had another meaning. YIKES!
3. KISS – Keep it Short and Simple! Even a shorter story may bore folks if you add too many meaningless details.
4. Watch for the response from the audience; they will let you know if it is funny. Puns often elicit a groan, not a laugh!
5. Jokes are supposed to be funny, not hurtful. Remember even if you do not intend for a joke to be unkind, if the impact is hurtful, it is inappropriate.
Stories Shared by Educators
The Dancing Worm
One day after recess, I was reading a story to my class. I noticed one of my boys (who was sitting in his assigned spot on the rug directly at my feet) was playing with something on his finger. He was making it dance over his shoe, and around on the floor. After a minute or so, I held out my hand to him, while continueing to read. He put the object in, and I continued reading. After I was done, I looked at what he’d placed in my hand. It was a little over an inch long, pinkish colored,gooey, and shaped like a string. I called him to me while the rest of the class was moving to start math centers. “Joe, where did you get this?” I asked. ” It looked like a crushed pulled-apart worm.” A worried expression crossed his face. “Oh, I hope not Mrs. Smith,” he exclaimed, “because it came out of my nose!” Soooo glad I had a bathroom in my classroom that year.
Thanks to Kathy Smith from Rockford for this story!
Mary Kay’s Recommended Humor Sites
Joke, Riddle and Quote Sites
Other Sites … Just for FUN!
Creative Classroom Web Sites
The Funny Literacy Project
Sponsored by World Laughter Tour
Using Humor to Help Kids Enjoy Reading!
The goal of this project is to provide incentives for kids to love to read by having them complete activities based on reading humorous books.
*Cartoon drawings by Bruce Quast