How Can Your Primary Students Write The Perfect Joke?

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How can schools help promote literacy using comedy in classrooms?

Would you like to see your students’ rib-tickling jokes performed live on Blue Peter? BBC Learning would like all teachers to get their primary school pupils writing jokes, using flexible lesson plans and a guide to teaching comedy in classrooms.

Aimed at 6 -12 year olds, BBC Red Nose Day Comedy Classroom includes key stage 1 and key stage 2 curriculum-linked, literacy lesson plans and a flexible guide to teaching comedy. It provides all the tools your pupils need to start writing jokes and develop their literacy skills.

Comedy writing plays with language, technique, grammar, and creativity, and can be used to develop reading, speaking and writing skills. Comedy Classroom can help teachers deliver key literacy objectives and outcomes that work towards core requirements. The National Literacy Trust have worked with BBC Learning to produce educational resources to support the competition, and have helped ensure they are of real value to teachers, curriculum-linked and easily integrated into lessons.

We want BBC Comedy Classroom to be making a difference in real classrooms across the UK, so why not enter the competition and send in your students’ hilarious and well-written jokes? By entering the competition, your pupils could have the chance to see their jokes performed live on Blue Peter on a special Red Nose Day programme, as well as receive an orange Blue Peter competition winner’s badge!

Resources:

Teachers can download a fantastic set of free resources that are closely linked with the curriculum, brimming with lesson plans, presentations, printable worksheets and a handy comedy toolbox to get the funny bones jangling. The resources include expert tips from famous funny faces, including David Walliams and Sir Lenny Henry, including helpful films hosted by Blue Peter’s Barney Harwood and CBBC’s Hacker T.Dog which are full of hints and ideas. The site also includes some brilliant clips from the CBBC and Red Nose Day archive that can be used to explain and showcase the topic.

Image: BBC

Schools are always looking for opportunities to be creative. What better way to increase speaking and listening, reading and writing, by asking students to design and perform their own jokes? It’s so important to step away from all the serious aspects of school life, resources offered by BBC Red Nose Day Comedy Classroom give schools, teachers and students, a chance to let their hair down! (@TeacherToolkit)

The resources are of real value to teachers and can be easily integrated into lessons or extra-curricular activities. You will find everything you need to deliver this confidently and flexibly within the classroom.

The resources have been supported by a cast of comedians and writers, giving the learning material a great sense of authenticity and relevance. The initiative is supported by stars of comedy and film with Richard Curtis, Sir Lenny Henry, Miranda Hart, Sara Pascoe, and David Walliams who contributed to the resources and offered ideas on how to showcase comedy in schools for Red Nose Day.

The final judging panel will include both writer and director Richard Curtis and comedian Miranda Hart.

How can schools get involved?

  1. Take a look at the BBC Red Nose Day Comedy Classroom website for lesson plans, great comedy clips and a useful Comedy Toolbox.
  2. Download and print the competition application form.
  3. Encourage your pupils (aged 6-12) to write their 3 original and creative jokes in the spaces provided on the form.
  4. Complete teacher box ‘A’ on the form agreeing to the Terms and Conditions.
  5. Post your entries to the Blue Peter address on the application form, before 28th February 2017.

There are also a set of downloadable resources for secondary school pupils which work towards English GCSE core requirements, introducing key stage 3 and four students to writing great captions, sketches and stand-up comedy, including how to put on a show for Red Nose Day!

The primary school competition is open to children aged 6 -12 and closes on 28 February 2017. For further details of entry and an application form, visit www.bbc.co.uk/comedyclassroom

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Holly Gardner

Holly Gardner is TT Editor, as well as a Freelance Publisher. She has been working with @TeacherToolkit for over 6 years - since she published his first book in her role as Senior Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing. Since then, she left her day job, moved to Madrid and trained as an English teacher. She is now a key member of the TT team, continues to teach english and edit books, and also spends her time learning spanish and searching for the best tortilla de patata! You can follow her at @HollyEditTeach.