Discuss humor and the role it plays in the students' lives. Note the breadth of
outlets for humor with examples such as "Laughter is the Best Medicine" from
Reader's Digest© and adages such as, "When you laugh the world laughs with
you" and, "It take less muscles to smile than it does to frown."
Ask for volunteers to tell their favorite joke then discuss what makes a joke
funny. Provide a few "punch lines" and ask each student to create a joke using
one of them. Have each student tell his or her joke to the class while the rest of
the class rates it from 1 to 10, 10 being the funniest. The joke with the highest
score should be considered the funniest. Discuss what makes it funny.
Ask students to bring in a humorous scene from a movie and show them to the
class. Examine differences between visual humor and joke telling, and discuss
what makes each scene humorous -- is it dialog, slapstick, silliness, and so on.
Divide the class into four groups and assign each group to investigate one of
the following categories:
Ask the groups to present their findings to the class. Then lead a discussion
about the results. Have the groups act out scenarios that test and/or support
|-- ||Physical effects of laughing|
|-- ||Emotional impact of laughing|
|-- ||Emotional impact of not laughing|
|-- ||How someone's laughter impacts others|
Have the class brainstorm and list questions that evoke answers that determine
a person's state of mind regarding happiness and optimism. Discuss the list
and generate 5 - 10 questions to use in a survey that will record the general
happiness of the person filling it out, for example, "When you woke up this
morning how excited were you to start your day?" The choices for answers
should be a sliding scale such as very, somewhat, not much, not at all. Ask the
school student body and teachers to take the survey and tally the responses.
Have the class create a "Pro-Laughter" campaign that (1) says laughter is
healthy, (2) makes people laugh, and (3) makes people want to make others
laugh. The promotion should include signs, mottos, handouts, etc., but
challenge students to use as many creative methods as possible. Conduct the
promotion for 2-4 weeks. At the end of that period, have the student body and
teachers retake the survey. Compare results and discuss the effectiveness of the