Using Humor to Build Classroom Community

27 September 2016 / 1 comment
Have you tried using humor to build community in your classroom? Belly laughs are good for the body, mind, and soul!

Are you looking for an easy, no-prep way to build your classroom community through shared experiences? Look no further than your corniest jokes, popular memes, and hilarious YouTube videos!
It has been proven time and time again that humor is good for the body, mind, and soul as well as building a community. Let's face it, belly laughs are hilarious for all involved and we could all use just a few more each day.

Using humor in the classroom is extremely easy, but here are a couple of guidelines to make sure that you are a success!

Guidelines for Using Humor

Stay Away from Sarcasm

It just isn't worth it. Most of our students don't understand sarcasm and the joke just won't land right. When you are trying to build community you want everyone to understand the joke and be in on the laugh. It is no fun to be the only person in the room not laughing. Sarcasm is not age appropriate for most of our students, so leave it at the door and embrace kid jokes for what they are. 

Stay Age Appropriate

Honestly, the cornier the joke the better. I love to tell a joke and hear students groaning from across the room. It seems that the cornier the joke the better they remember it too, and you can later hear them retelling it to their friends for more groans and laughter. 

There is really no need to venture outside of the kid zone when it comes to classroom jokes, even as students get older, because the corniest of jokes still get the same belly laughs and groans, so why risk it?

Don't Try to Relate Too Much

This one is hard, especially when there is a popular meme you think will translate to class well, but sometimes the more relevant something is culturally the less funny it is to our kids. Not to mention, sometimes they just aren't ready to admit that adults are also privy to this information and want to think that only they know about it. Stick to the tried and true knock knock  and corny dad jokes. They land every time, and are safe. 

Have you tried using humor to build community in your classroom? Belly laughs are good for the body, mind, and soul!

Ideas for Using Humor

Now that you have an idea of how to use humor, and how not to, here are some ideas for where and when to bring humor into your classroom.

Start the Day with a Joke

I am NOT a morning person. Most of my students were also NOT morning people either. We needed a way to get our brains working and oxygen flowing through our bodies. Our plan became to start with a joke and then do some morning stretches

For the first couple of weeks I supplied the jokes, but after that we started a submission process for students to tell their favorite jokes in the morning. The way we worked this out was that students wrote their name and their joke down and turned it into a basket we had by the group table. I would read the jokes to check from completeness, appropriateness, and that they just made sense. Those that fit were added to the calendar, and those that didn't we worked on together, then they were added to the calendar. 

When the day came up for your joke you got your submission back from me and were able to read the joke to the class. Note, I said READ your joke to the class. We tried just remembering and telling the joke, but it didn't go so well.

Fill in a Gap

If you have an extra bit of time, then it is the perfect time to tell a joke or two. I always kept a bank of them on my phone so that I could pull them out at a moment's notice. My class and I had an understanding that jokes would only be told if and when the class was meeting expectations, so this was a huge help when it came to hallway behavior or packing up at the end of the day. Students knew that if they packed up quickly and efficiently then we would have more time for jokes, and they made it happen!

Anticipatory Set

I love to use humor as an anticipatory set in the classroom.

Starting a unit on the solar system? Why not tell this bad boy?
"How does NASA throw a party? They planet!"

Studying insects?
"Why was the baby ant confused? All his uncles were ants!"

Observing lunar cycles?
"How does the moon cut his hair? Eclipse it!"

I mean seriously, if you didn't groan or laugh at those than I don't think we can be friends anymore. Don't you think your students would love them?

Break the Tension

We have tense moment in the classroom. There is no shortage of them. Sometimes we need to treat these moments with the somberness that they deserve, and sometimes we need to break the tension. Jokes are great for that. 

Where To Find Your Jokes

Now that you have a plan for how and when to use humor through corny jokes in your classroom it's time to talk about where you are going to find all these great jokes. 


Pinterest has a plethora of corny jokes for your perusal. This board, Classroom Humor, is a great place to start for jokes and puns that will get your students thinking.


There are a ton of joke books out there. I would check out your local or school library and can almost guarantee that you will find a ton!

Your Students

The absolute best jokes will come from your students. Give them a chance and they will blow your mind! Have fun with it! 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! I love all of the suggestions, and I think this is one of the best way to motivate, engage, and bring together your students. :-)


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