Engaging Students with Humor

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. – Dr. Seuss

April Fool’s Day is almost here! Spice up a lesson plan, activity or project with humor. Humor is a great way to ease the anxiety of learning and can make learning difficult or stressful topics engaging and fun. Below are our some free web tools and apps your students will enjoy using to enhance their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, while engaging with your topic or preparing for a test. For ideas on how to effectively use these tools for learning, check out my webinar recordings, Engage Learners with Humor and Teach English with Jokes, or my articles in the GO Teach magazine and The Education Horizons Journal, LOL! Teacher! Using Humor to Enhance Student Learning and Let’s Laugh! 10+ Resources for Inspiring Laughter.

Enjoyed these ideas? Get your copy of Learning to Go and The 30 Goals for Teachers.

Tips and Resources

  • Check out my infographic on Integrating Humor in the Classroom.
  • Here is my webinar recording of Using Jokes for Learning and resources.
  • Show funny video clips! Here’s a list of the funniest TedTalks and the Epic History Rap Battles.
  • Big Hug Labs has many different ways to create humorous photos and presentations.
  • Create Memes with Meme Generator. I recommend this for adults and not students.
  • Students can create games including humorous characters with TinyTap appHopscotch, or Code Monkey.
  • Bill Nye has a new video series #EmojiScience where students can snap an emoji and receive science videos.
  • Teach with humorous literature! Try the OMG Shakespeare series or books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Find some of my favorite humorous authors in this Pinterest board.
  • Talking Tom and Ben News is an iOS, Android, and Amazon app where students act as newscasters. They report the news in pairs as either Tom, a talking cat, or Ben, a dog. Check out the other talking characters from Outfit 7 to get your students speaking English via funny characters.
  • Quizizz is a web tool and app that works on any device to create fun games and quizzes. Teachers have the option of showing a meme after a question is answered.
  • MouthOff is a free iOS and Android ($1) app where students choose a mouth, put the phone in front of their mouths, and talk to watch the mouth move.
  • Bitstrips is an iOS, Android, and Kindle app for making fun comics with avatars that look like the students and their friends.
  • Voki is a web tool for students to create animated talking characters.
  • Blabberize is a website students can use to upload their drawings and images and draw a mouth to make the images talk.
  • YakIt Kids and Chatterpix Kids are iOS apps students upload their images and drawing to and add a mouth to animate the images.
  • Plotagon is a web tool and app that allows students to create animated avatar videos.
  • SockPuppets is an iOS app for creating short movies with talking socks.
  • Puppet Pals and Toontastic are iOS apps for creating short videos with fun characters that students animate.
  • Tellagami is an iOS app for creating a talking adult avatar.

Challenge: Try one of these resources to integrate humor in your curriculum this year!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.

Bookmarks

Humor & Learning, by shellyterrell

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

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