“Don’t Laugh Challenge”: A Fun Classroom Activity To Shake Things Up

Remember the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? It originated as a proverb but found its mark in contemporary culture from this famous scene in the movie “The Shining”:

I’m not a huge fan of horror movies and I don’t mean to creep you out, but the film and the proverb present an important lesson to learn. No teacher wants their classroom to become a scene out of “The Shining”: to become dull, dull to the point their students check out. Long story short, sometimes our students can benefit from playing in the classroom. A little break from work can go a long way with generating student buy in.

Here’s a great idea that you can use as an icebreaker, something to help the students take a quick break, an on going event, or even an incentive/reward for a week of hard work. The “Don’t Laugh Challenge” is simple, but I have to admit, IT’S A HOMERUN WITH THE STUDENTS!!.

Here’s the basic concept: Two people sit facing each other in the front of the class with a list of jokes. In succession, they deliver the jokes to each other. If either person laughs while listening to the joke, delivering the joke, or after the joke is delivered; their opponent receives a point. It’s that simple, but the results are hilarious.

Here are a few ways you can incorporate it into the year.
***Very important that the teacher controls the joke pool. This ensures clean humor and avoids any cultural, racial or identity insensitivities***

1. Simple One On One Challenge: Have two students volunteer or even one student calls out another student for the challenge
2. On going one side of the room versus the other side of the room contest. Have different students represent each side of the room for a challenge that can last for a part of a class or ongoing for the semester.
3. Teacher Student Challenge: Teacher takes on any challengers (maybe on a weekly basis or as an incentive for students to work for.
4. Tap Out Challenge: Two teams of students challenge each other and can “tap out” to another team member, like in wrestling.
4. Champions Challenge: Have the best from each class compete at lunch.

Below are a few links to help you build a database of jokes. You could also have students submit jokes for the challenge. Just make sure you review the jokes for appropriateness.