This is a professional development blog. We'll be discussing books we read as a group. Our discussions will be focused on gifted children.
One of the comments I hear from many of the parents of the SPIRAL students I work with is that they are really glad that their gifted child can interact with a classroom of other gifted children. This interaction is especially evident and amusing in the humor that arises when you get a group of gifted kids together. On page 66, the authors point out that "Combining their knowledge with humor brings great joy to gifted children. One of the things they love about being around other gifted kids is being able to share their intelligent humor with others who actually "get it."" It's important to give kids time to explore and play with words and ideas. Often times this is when we see numerous instances of humor. Having a sense of humor is very important when talking about serious or difficult topics, so we always try to find some sort of comic related to the topic at hand. One thing for sure is that we laugh A LOT in our classroom, and sometimes, even the more reserved and serious kids let loose and take part in the humor and the fun. Laughing also helps us to remember things better.
I like the laugh a lot comment. If the kids are relaxed and laughing they are learning and thinking. It also makes for a more enjoyable day for the teacher.
. I think that humor is a defusing mechanism in the classroom, especially the GT class. The students need to feel like they can say or ask anything without fear of repercussion from teachers or other students. If they can laugh, they relax, and if they relax they can start to think. Sometimes a funny comment can lead to a meaningful class discussion. A project about extinction of the dinosaurs required students to list competing theories, no matter how absurd they may seem. They laughed at some, but then when they thought about why the theory was proposed they realized that there aren’t really all that many really useless theories in science. There is a reason for everything; they just need to find it. One way to get them to relax when they give a really wrong answer is a comment like, “That’s a good answer, it’s completely wrong, but it’s still a good answer.” Most of the time the student giving the answer can laugh along with the rest of the class.
My now 25 year old was in spiral and she had a pretty mature sense of humor when she was young. How her school year went always depended on whether her teacher appreciated her sense of humor. When it was not appreciated she had some tough times. That's why I always try to appreciate a kids sense of humor. I think I have a pretty good sense of humor and fun and with the Kg's and first graders - they especially love it when I laugh at my mistakes. When they have said my name for the 1000th time in a day - I tell them if they say my name one more time, I will scream. So of course they all say it together and Mrs. Weber proceeds to let out a healthy scream!
In my Kinder class, I add humor by reading at least one silly story everyday and if not everyday at least three times a week. I add silly voices or sounds to the stories and the students love it and we get a lot of laughs. It helps to (p.69) build relationships in the classroom especilly if i make a connection to the story and then they in turn do the same. As it says on page 68, it helps if the teacher is willing to roll with things and have a little fun now and then, too. I recently purchased a version of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed that was put to rock and roll music -- my kids laugh and enjoy watching me play my air guitar and jam down with the music--some even join in now with their own air guitars. Also, on pg. 70, is states that "Playing is a part of relationships." I feel it would be hard to teach Kinder if I didn't play so i thrilled to see that it works well for G/T kids as well.
Humor is one reason I enjoy my PAP/GT classes so much. These kids pick up on irony and word play so quickly. Because of this ability, political cartoons that they create (for example) are marvelous products. Since I teach on the north side of the freeway, many of our kids come from poverty and telling them stories about my school screw-ups helps build a bond between me and my kids. Humor is indeed a stress deflator. I LOVE laughing with my students. They have fun and I have fun and when that happens, learning occurs painlessly.
p. 85--Humor is the biggest stress deflator. That is SO true! When we test at my school, the school is in lockdown with very strict rules about everything. Any opportunity I can find or create, lessens the test anxiety.
I liked what the author said on p. 64 about humor. "A sense of humor is a gift in itself. It is having a sense of gratitude for things that are diffferent and unexpected." I believe that having a sense of humor about yourself is important in handling stress and the perfectionism that we deal with in our students and ourselves. I agree with Kathy M about humor being the biggest stress deflator. On p. 69 it says, "Humor is one of the gifted teacher's greatest tools. It binds relationships and creates friendships and curiosity." It also makes us more "real" to our students.
I really valued reading chapter 6 because humor must be a staple in our lives. Just like Kathy M reminded us about the quote on page 85-- Humor is the biggest stress deflator. So many of our students have so much going on outside of school and place huge emphasis on scores, etc. that they need to see us model humor and laughter when we can. Being dyslexic I often model laughter and humor without meaning too, but it definitely allows my students to see how to handle various situations sometimes having to make lemonade from lemons!
I can think of a specific student I had in kindergarten and then again in first grade. He would catch my sarcasm and make little jokes that the other kids didn't quite get. It always caught me off guard and made me laugh when this student showed this side of himself. He is a third grader now and still has this funny sense of humor.I don't know how you can enjoy teaching without a sense of humor. As several others have said, humor will defuse most situations in the classroom. I also believe it is a huge factor in building relationships with students. I love having a job where I laugh everyday.
I agree with sutterr in bringing music, especially funny songs into the classroom. My students love it when we bring in funny songs to learn more difficult concepts. There is a wonderful song online called the Elements, and the video is quite funny. The students enjoy singing this song and especially seeing the funny illustrations that accompany the elements.
I happen to have a keen sense of humor myself (I think!) and encourage it in my class. I love to point out odd things in history, or peculiar moments in a novel. I try to point out irony in things...all these things help develop a students' higher levels of thinking. Also, if a student can't laugh at others as well as himself, he's missing a great joy in life.
I teach fifth grade language arts! We laugh every day. One of the best ways to bring humor into the classroom is with good books and read-aloud. I love the author, Christopher Paul Curtis, for this. His characters are always authentic and laugh-out-loud funny. The best thing about humor is that it eases stress and helps everyone to learn. No one can perform well if they are anxious.
best quote ever... p.71"some teachers are certified. Others are certifiable". I am still laughing!Using humor as an outlet is absolutely what teachers do. We need this! So much of our job is serious and stressed, humor is our greatest tool (p.69). I tend to have a dry sense of humor, and while it escapes most kids... the GT ones are always the ones who 'get it'. Many times, the gifted child will make a joke and it is beyond most. Welcoming and encouraging humor is necessary. I want kids to feel comfortable to be able to laugh and joke in the class. We need to allow this outlet for all (including ourselves as teachers).
Sutterr... can you share the Five Monkeys rock and roll version with us? I'd love to have that for home and for professional development!
A good sense of humor has been my saving grace in the classroom. Admittedly, I probably laugh at some things that my students say and do that I shouldn’t, but what they hey. They seem to be amazed that I am both human and teacher. What a concept “Make them want to learn because it is so enjoyable and/or amazing (pg. 72).” Love this quote. Wow, I needed this confirmation. One of my daily goals, in my role as teacher, is to express that I think what I am teaching is fun ……and as obnoxiously and silly as I can say “Oh, you’re going to think its FUN too; just wait!!” Most of them bite. The students seem to relax and be a bit more confident and willing to participate (both academically and jokingly) after I make this comment. However, some are horrified because it means that they are going to have to think and do work. I love laughing and I want my students to love it too. More importantly, I want them to know they can laugh and learn simultaneously!
Humor does really make a classroom more fun, lively and you cna see who is up there and who is not. When I taught 2nd grade, we had a lot of inside jokes going around between several GT students and myself. The other kids didn't get it, they just kept on going but the 2 boys and a couple of girls just thought it was all hillarious. Now in Kindergarten, I do not have any idetified GT kids this year, but I do bring humor in and love to see how the kids react. I use a lot of books like The Hungry Thing, Junie B Jones and some of the retellings of fairy tales. Right now we are reading Texas Mother Goose. The author has, as you can imagine, changed the nursery rhymes like Jack and Jill or Little bo Peep into humorous Texas versions. We also read the Coyote who swallowed a flea, a texas version of the old woman who swollowed a fly. Light humor but just right for Kinder. For these kids these off versions bring a lot humor into our classroom. We also asked silly riddlesof each other (kindergarteners thinks they are silly at least.)I love it when the kids try their own hand at riddles and silly poems. I agree with many of hte respon ses above that humor and laughter are saving graces somedays!
I agree with a lot of the other comments. I think humor in the classroom is a must. It allows the students to be more open carefree in their comments. By being such, the students are not afraid to ask questions of the curriculum or even of other students. We also get to laugh at mistakes and move on instead of dwelling on them and being embarrassed.
Humor makes life seem “almost” stress-free. One of my favorite quotes that I often recite is, “Crisis plus time equals humor.” There were many times that I wished a lesson/presentation had had a different outcome, but learning to expect the unexpected can be fun…especially in a class setting and/or while working with gifted students. Just like it was mentioned on page 70, “the suspense keeps them coming back for more” and humor create a fun relaxing way to learn.
Joyous music making is the hallmark of the elementary music classroom. Kindergarten and first grade students respond to humorous lyrics and unexpected twists in ‘story songs.’ They also find humor in unexpected instrumental sounds. I agree with the author that “humor gives lessons sticking power” (p 71).
S.acevedo reminded me that I do use the phrase “This is going to be SO MUCH FUN as I’m presenting the instruments or beginning to teach a new folk game. If I’m having fun, 98% of the time, we are going to have a productive experience which draws in all the learners. If an activity has lost its joy for me, then it’s time to find a new way to present and master those concepts.
As the end of the year approaches, we have been creating "memory books" to help showcase the students' narrative skills. One of the things that has truly struck me is how many of my students have written about how often we laugh in my classroom. Laughter and humor is essential to learning in my world. It allows me to express a sense of enjoyment for learning and education. I believe that this is contagious within the classroom. Plus, it helps us to bring in a sense of levity when stress levels begin to rise.
Laughter and humor can also be a wonderful socailly acceptable coping mechanism, so it is certainly helpful for students to see us weild a positive attitude as a tool.
To tag off of the perfectionist discussion from question 2...this humor question and bcofer's words make me think of something else that students learn from me: How to find humor in errors, if we laugh at our mistakes we are metacognitively aware of the fault but not worried about it. I love it when someone can mix knowledge with humor and create witty literature. Gifted Kids are many times naturals at this. For, instance a gited child in my class came up with some hilarious poems about Santa Anna. The poems were modeled after famous nursery rhymes. We were all laughing so hard. Not only at the witty prose, but at his delivery of them. Dead-pan wit that you might see from a professional comedian.