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9 Humor Strategies to Use in the Classroom

Image Source:, Classroom fun, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Even if you are “humor challenged,” there are things you can do to lighten the load and dissipate the clouds in your classroom. Just remember, above all, that sarcasm has no place in the school. Only “no hurt” humor is acceptable.

  1. Laugh at yourself — when you do something silly or wrong, mention it and laugh at it

  2. Add humorous items to tests, homework or class assignments — even at the University, one of my favorite options when I give multiple choice exams requiring students to identify pairs of psychologists is Calamari and Endive. It always gets smiles, and helps to break exam tension

  3. Keep a quotable quotes bulletin board or corner in your room — look for humor quotes and post them and encourage your students to do the same

  4. Keep a cartoon file, and have an area where you can display one or two a day on a rotating basis, with students making the choice

  5. Have Joke Friday — ask students to bring in jokes to share, either to start the day on Friday, to make a transition between lunch and the following class, or at the end of the day (be sure to screen the jokes in advance, of course)

  6. Ask students to try to build humor into occasional writing assignments — that will start a conversation about what it funny, how they know something is funny, why different people find some things funny but some things are funny to almost everyone

  7. Have a funny hat day, or mismatched socks day, or some other funny dress-up time

  8. Build creative and humorous thinking by showing cartoons and picture without captions and asking students to create them — individually, in pair-shares, or small groups

  9. Ask students to bring in books they think are funny. Ask them to talk about why, and to use examples from the book.

Let’s add some more enjoyment to school. We don’t need guffaws — a smile and a little levity can go a long way. It’s time for us educators to take humor more seriously.


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