So this day turned out to be one of my favorite therapy days in several years, and it was completely unexpected. I had perfectly good lessons printed, cut, laminated, lined up, and ready to go. But as it turns out, some classes at my school are doing an ABC countdown and this was “J”oke day. What can i say, I was inspired by laughter. I channeled my inner Ellen…and it was worth it!
It started with my first group when I realized it was Joke day. I pulled out my pirate joke book that we made back in September when we celebrated “Speak like a pirate day”. The students in this first group have a combo of language and phonological process goals. So we spent the first part of the group rehearsing the mechanics of the joke. How to introduce (Excuse me, today is joke day, would you like to hear a joke?)…proper delivery of a joke (actually saying the joke first before the punchline!)…and turn-taking. Then we discussed the jokes themselves…what was it that made them funny? This involved explanation of multiple meaning words. And then of course, we painstakingly rehearsed the specific articulation skills to make the joke intelligible. These two kiddos worked on /f, sh, p, v, h/, final consonants, and multi-syllable words just to deliver their one liners!
We carried around unifix cubes as visual cues for their introduction:
And for better or for worse, we set off around the school. We shared our jokes with the AP, the children’s current and previous teachers, literacy facilitators, special area teachers, the custodian, parent volunteers, and our super-fabulous secretaries. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to pause for two minutes to hear these children share their jokes. Within just one session, these children transformed into confident speakers. Their voice was heard, they brightened someone’s day. They felt validated. And I felt proud.
As the day went on, Joke Day got better and better. We covered every single type of goal…pragmatics, vocabulary, receptive, expressive, phonological. (I don’t have any voice or fluency students at the moment, but it would work for their goals too). I loved watching my 4th grade language/pragmatic group blossom with this activity. I am usually navigating the social skills with them, but this day they were so independent! They walked into the office, made a polite introduction, delivered their jokes, interacted with the secretaries, asked novel questions, responded to their humor. I literally sat on the chair and just watched the magic unfold before my eyes.
Our secretaries had their own joke to share:
Some children knew their own jokes, some used the pirate joke book, and others researched a joke through National Geographic Kids (Loooove that site! The photographs!!)
Here was one of my favorite jokes from a 4th grader:
Leave a comment to share some of your successful surprise therapy sessions!