Thursday, November 19, 2020

Understanding Humor

Do you have students on your caseload who have trouble understanding idioms, riddles, jokes, or sarcasm? I know I do! As SLP's, we know that understanding jokes or humor is actually a higher level thinking skill Often times, jokes include puns, words, or phrases that have more than one meaning. If our students struggle in this area, they are likely missing the humor in jokes they read or hear. 

Lets take a look at some jokes and break down the skills a student might need to understand it: 

Q: Why did the teacher have to wear sunglasses? 
A: Because her students were so bright.

Aside from being corny, this joke has the homonym "bright." Many jokes have multiple meaning words. If a student can't pick this up, they likely won't find it funny.

Here's another one that requires the ability to make an inference (as well as vocabulary knowledge):

Q: What do you call an old snowman?
A: A creek.

First, students have to know that a creek is a small body of water (vocabulary). Then, they have to make the connection between a creek and an old snowman. Isn't that wild? Who would have thought so much goes into understanding jokes!

Here's one more:

Q. What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down?
A. It gets toad away.

ha. ha... OR NOT, if you missed the pun. A student would only find this funny if they understood the play on the word "toad."

All of this to say that humor involves a ton of language skills our students struggle with. If this is an area you think your students need to work on, jokes/comics would be a fun way to target these skills!

Finding comics/jokes appropriate for your students is super easy, and shouldn't take long. Since Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and to narrow my search, I typed "Thanksgiving comics" into google, and got a ton of results. I like looking on google images for easier finds. Add each comic to a google slide, and you're set for teletherapy! Here are a few I thought would be funny:

Thanksgiving Cartoons - Lessons - Tes Teach

Pickles - Thanksgiving Comics And Cartoons | The Cartoonist Group

5 Thanksgiving Comic Strip Prints to Honor the Season of Giving and  Gratitude | MUTTS

.                    .         .                

While reviewing these comics, you can ask students:
What do you think the X meant when he said...
What is the comic implying?
What do they mean by...
What makes this comic funny?
What does the word X mean?
If comics aren't your thing, you can also do jokes. Here's a bunch of Thanksgiving themed ones. If you're trying to extend the session, you can also have students create their own comics and share with group members using this website. I'm sure this would engage your students for several sessions! If you happen to be on break, you can still use these the week you return, OR search for winter themed jokes/comics.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! While this has been a year for the books, there is always something to be thankful for. 

Enjoy your long weekend <3

1 comment on "Understanding Humor "
  1. Thanks for the great ideas, will definitely use these.


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