Students learn through laughter

It is said laughter is the best medicine, but one teacher at Clements/Parsons Elementary School has found it to also be a pretty effective teaching technique.


After independent reading in teacher Daphne Courson’s third-grade class, students are allowed to bring joke books to the front of the room and read a joke to the class.

Courson said students are learning while having fun and receiving more than just a good joke to take home.

jokes“Reading and telling jokes helps not only with their reading skills, but with oral expression and literary devices such as puns, homophones, figurative language and more,” Courson said. “Reading jokes addresses Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills by identifying and applying playful uses of language like tongue twisters and riddles. It also challenges students to think more abstractly and look for hidden meanings and clues.”

Courson said one of the hardest things for English language learners to understand is many of the expressions and idioms used in the English language. “They can begin to understand some of those funny expressions just by learning to tell a joke,” she said.

For third-grader Michael Rash, the opportunity to get in front of the class has taken away his stage fright too.“I like to tell jokes because I learn stuff like homophones, and it’s fun,” he said.

Another TEK addressed involves speaking. Students are expected to speak coherently, employing eye contact, speaking rate, volume, enunciation, and the conventions of language to communicate ideas effectively.

“They find out really quickly if they didn’t speak clearly or enunciate or stress the joke correctly because the class doesn’t get it,” Courson said. “The students realize that it’s not as funny if they have to explain the joke, so they are all anxious to say it right in order to get a big laugh.”

For third-grader Abby Sutton, that’s really where the reward comes in. “I just like to make people laugh,” she said.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Canoe who?
Canoe help me with my homework?

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