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.
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.
humor and social studies
When teaching social studies, one of my favorite resources to use is the Horrible Histories materials.
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 Conference. I 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!