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Teacher Center: Humor

Lesson Plan Title: Everyday Humor

Grade Level: 9–12

Duration: 50 minutes

Description: A record of an average day at a boring summer job, Jenna Maxwell’s satire, “Just Face It,” exposes the humor of everyday life. The purpose of the following lesson is to help students mine their mundane experiences for hilarious stories.

Student Objectives: Using Jenna Maxwell’s story as a model, students will write humor logs over the span of a week, collecting their funniest observations, which they will then transform into a humorous piece.

List Materials:

  1. Paper, pencil, or pen
  2. “Just Face It” by Jenna Maxwell

Set Up and Prepare: Distribute copies of Jenna’s story to the class.

Directions: Have students read “Just Face It,” taking copious notes in the margins of the story about what makes Jenna’s story funny. Ask them to share their observations. (15 minutes)

Step 1: Ask students to generate a list of funny things they observed on the way to school this morning, from the moment they woke up to the moment they sat down in class. These observations could be events they witnessed or simply thoughts that occurred to them. Have them timestamp each observation to the best of their abilities. (10 minutes)

Step 2: Have students share one of their humorous observations with the class. Ask students to take notes on what makes each story funny. Each person’s sense of humor is different. What kind of humor appeals the most to them? (10 minutes)

Step 3: Have students freewrite about an average day in their lives. What are the mundane things they do on a daily basis that often result in humorous situations? (10 minutes)

Step 4: Have students begin drafting a first-person introduction to the piece that will chronicle their humorous experiences over the span of the week. (5 minutes)

Assess Students: Ask students to read their work out loud.

Lesson Extension: Have students keep detailed humor logs. Ask them to carry around a journal and write down every humorous idea, observation, or event they encounter over the span of the week.

Evaluate Lesson: Were students inspired by the lesson to discover humor in their everyday experiences?

Assignments: Have students transform humor logs into polished stories. These pieces, like Jenna’s, should follow a logical progression and feature a clear beginning, middle, and end.