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									                                       TIME FOR A LAUGH

Class:            Year Seven                           Dates:     August - September

Duration:           Four weeks                         Teacher:     Olivetta Harris

                           ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE
The ability to laugh makes human beings different from other creatures. It is important for all
of us to be able to laugh at and enjoy the funny side of life. Humour encourages us not to
take life too seriously. There is a serious side to humour too, and this unit aims to investigate
how humour is constructed and some of the myriad of ways in which humour is manifested.
Children will be encouraged to look at why certain things are funny.

Integrated Curriculum Areas                           Genres
English                                               ballads
Social Studies                                        cartoons
Media Studies                                         situation comedies
Music                                                 jokes
                                                      humorous narratives

Children have just finished a unit on Law Making which focussed on the gun debate. This
unit is seen as lighter material after the serious issues of the previous unit. The unit will offer
a chance to tap into the different intelligences of the class. Children have background
knowledge of stereotypes and symbolism. They have studied the narrative poems `The
Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes and `Taking His Chances' by Henry Lawson, and have a
knowledge of bushrangers and lawyers. This unit will focus on improving the children's
comprehension skills and their critical literacy. The unit also offers the opportunity to address
bullying which has recently been occurring in the class.

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                         TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
S: English syllabus for Years 1 to 10

                                      SCOPE AND SEQUENCE
                Integrating Device                                 Holistic Objective(s)
Children will compose a narrative                     - to understand how humour is constructed
poem/ballad or a comic strip story which              - to understand the techniques used to
depicts an incident from Midnite. The                  create humour
Phantom Tollbooth, or The Eighteenth                  - to write limericks
Emergency. The item shall be produced                 - to construct comic strips
for peers and will be written and illustrated
in a class book. The poems/comic strip
stories will be presented orally to the

                  Attitudes S: p.32                                Processes S: p.32 -33
attending: 1,2                                        decision making: 1,2,3
enjoying: 1,2,3,4                                     problem solving: 1,2,3
affiliating: 1,2,3,4                                  critical evaluation: 1,2,3
                                                      strategic planning: 1,2,3,4

                         Skills                                          Knowledge
• Textual Features: (see Analysis                     - generic structure of limericks, narrative
  Sheet)                                                poems, narratives, comic strip story
• Communicative Procedures S: p.35                    - basic elements of humour
speaking: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7                               - traditional types of comedy
writing: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10                         - techniques of cartoons
shaping: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8                                - differences between Australian, English
listening: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7                               and American humour
reading: 1,2,3,4,56,7,8,9,10                          - vocabulary - terms associated with
viewing: 1,3,4                                         humour

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                           TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                                         ANALYSIS SHEET
 GENRE                                                    Ballad
 SUBJECT MATTER                                           Incident from humorous novel
 ROLES & RELATIONSHIPS                                    Poets for audience of peers
 MODE & MEDIUM                                            Written and illustrated, spoken performance

                                         TEXTUAL FEATURES
 GENERIC STRUCTURE                       title
                                         short orientation
                                         optional coda or reorientation
                                         (similarity to narrative should be noted)
 COHESION                                repetition of words, phrases, sentences
                                         usually rhymed abcb in four line stanzas
 VOCABULARY                              plays on words
                                         double meanings
 GRAMMAR                                 generally written in the third person
                                         specific participants
                                         verbal processes can be omitted
                                         word order can be played with to suit the rhythm and rhyme

 INTONATION & RHYTHM                     regular rhythm to help with memorisation

 PRONUNCIATION                           standard
 PARAGRAPHING &                          verse format - capitals at beginning of lines
 PUNCTUATION                                            - four lines to a verse
                                         direct speech

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                               TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                                     LEARNING ACTIVITIES
                                         ORIENTATING PHASE
Activity 1 - Survey of TV sitcoms and comedy shows watched by children to be
conducted prior to starting the unit.

Activity 2 - Assess children's knowledge re humour. WHAT IS HUMOUR? Use sheet
Appendix 1 so that individual perceptions can be gained and so that the children have a record
of where they were when the unit started. Collect and keep until the end of unit.

Activity 3 - Discuss the basic elements of humour - triumph, incongruity, surprise.

Activity 4 - Make a collection of cartoon books, humorous novels, jokes, humorous poems from
the library and students for display in the classroom.

Activity 5 - Give children a brief overview of the unit, its purposes and direction - Examining the
subject humour and `Why do we laugh?' by studying cartoons, novels, poems and TV comedy.

Activity 6 - Start compiling a vocabulary list to accompany the unit. Children to use newspapers
and other resources in the classroom to find examples to illustrate elements of humour chart.

                                          ENHANCING PHASE
                                     Subject Matter                                    Language

During the unit there will be three ongoing activities in which children will
participate. These will commence after teacher modelling and demonstration.

Activity 7 - Listening to the novel The Phantom Tollbooth, discussing              Listening
the word play and humour, e.g. synonyms, idioms, puns, irony,                      Discussion
figures of speech. Teacher and children to compile an ongoing summary of           Summarising
the story. Children to follow the story using the map shown on the endpapers       Vocabulary
of the novel                                                                       development

Activity 8 - Poetry sharing - children to take turns to share a humorous           Prepared
ballad/narrative poem with class. See Appendix 2 for task sheet.                   reading of

Activity 9 - Literature Circle where children work in groups to read and           Reading
discuss a humorous novel.                                                          Discussion

1. Midnite by Randolph Stow
2. The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars
3. Misery Guts by Morris Gleitzmann

Voluntary Activity 10 - Joke Sharing where children tell a joke to the class.      Joke telling
Teacher will conduct brief lesson on the art of joke telling

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                     TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
Activity 11 - Teacher to model the presentation of ballad to class. Discuss          Modelling
text features and how humour is created. The Lion and Albert - Marriot               Deconstruction
Edgar.                                                                               Generic
                                                                                     structure of

Activity 12 - Immerse children in a wide variety and number of cartoons and          Classifying
comic strips. Start with examples from The Courier Mail and have children            Terminology of
find and classify the following:                                                     cartoons
                editorial cartoons (social comment)                                  Deconstruction
                gag cartoons
                syndicated comic strips
Examine and discuss how humour is created, what elements are used, i.e.
play on words, taboos, fears, custard pie.

Activity 13 - Discuss and explore idioms and their use in jokes and                  Idioms,
cartoons. Create cartoons to illustrate idioms, such as `time flies'. See            vocabulary
Appendix 1 for some common idioms which could be used. Children's                    study
illustrations to be captioned and collected for compilation in class book.

Activity 14 - Examine and discuss techniques of cartoons -                           Terminology
CARICATURE, SATIRE, SARCASM, IRONY, FARCE AND FANTASY,                               and cartoon
SYMBOLISM, SURREALISM, STEREOTYPES, CAPTIONS.                                        techniques
Give examples and ask children to find more examples in their cartoon
reading. Stories and picture books also provide examples of irony,
symbolism, surrealism and stereotypes.

Activity 15 - Gag Cartoons. In groups have children create captions for              Composition
given cartoons. Share and discuss.                                                   Discussion

Activity 16 - Have children work in groups to create cartoon pictures for a          Discussion
given caption or speech bubble. Share and discuss.

Activity 17 - Repeat Activities 15 and 16 with comic strips. These should            Discussion
also be group or pair work tasks.

Activity 18 - Revisit Limericks, discuss structure and features. Read                Generic
examples to immerse children in the genre. Children complete worksheet on            Structure of
limericks where they compose their own limerick after finishing incomplete           Limericks

Activity 19 - Children create a cartoon strip based on a limerick. See
Teaching Viewing and Visual Texts: Secondary p. 56 for example.                      Storyboard
This text features activities on cartoons and comic strips pp. 50 - 60.              Composition

Activity 20 - Children create a cartoon strip based on a joke from a joke
book, and one based on a homograph, for example, 'Mick is taking his rock            Storyboard
band on the road'.

Activity 21 - Jumbled text. Have children put a poem, the verses of which
have been scrambled, into the correct sequence. Select a sequencing                  Cohesion
humorous ballad or narrative poem for this group/pair activity. Have children        Sequencing
explain why they chose the order that they did.

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                       TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
 Activity 22 - Examine and discuss traditional types of comedy - farce,        Terminology
 black comedy, burlesque, comedy of manners and satire.                        Classifying
 Have children try to match these types to TV shows.

 Activity 23 - Watch one of the 'Mr Bean' tapes and discuss how                Viewing
 humour s created: facial expressions, clothing, mannerisms, voice,            Body language
 words said, actions, the situation.

 Activity 24 - Outline three different styles of comedy shows on TV:           Classifying
 sit coms, parody/sketch, variety. Have children use TV guide and
 classify shows under categories used in Activity 22. Also classify
 according to country of origin.

 Activity 25 - Watch some examples of Australian, American and British         Analysing
 sitcoms and analyse how the humour was created. Use the three                 Viewing
 elements of TRIUMPH, INCONGRUITY, SURPRISE as well as the
 framework in Activity 23.

 Activity. 26 - Watch some segments from `Full Frontal' and compare            Viewing
 with the personalities being parodied, e.g. Ray Martin, Kerry O'Brien,        Comparing

 Activity 27 - Children to work on either a humorous ballad or a comic         Composition
 strip story based on an incident from one of the novels studied.

                                       SYNTHESISING PHASE
 Activity 28 - Children to read/perform their humorous poems/comic strips stories for class.

 Activity 29 - Big book of poems and comic strips to be prepared for use in the school
 library,and by other classes in the school.

 Activity 30 - Reflection WHAT IS HUMOUR? Children to complete reflection sheet in
 Appendix 1.

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                    TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                                    LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Laugh Lines – Kerry Mallan
Introduction to Newspapers – The Courier Mail Primary Newspaper Kit
The Media: Ways and Meanings – Colin Stewart (An invaluable teacher’s resource for this
Teaching Viewing and Visual Texts: Primary and Secondary – Quin, McMahon and Quin
(The secondary volume of these texts is particularly useful)
HBJ Our English Book 5
Rigby English: Fun and Fantasy (Middle Primary B)
The Funnies: Cartoons and Comics – Dianne Bates (Rigby English – Middle Primary B)
Videos of Sit Coms and other comedy shows. (The ABC Shop has a wide selection.)
Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns – Doug Macleod

The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
Midnite – Randolph Stow
The Eighteenth Emergency – Betsy Byars
Misery Guts – Morris Gleitzmann (Other titles by this author would also be appropriate.)
The Fox Busters – Dick King-Smith
Fat Chance, Living with Leanne, Famous for Five Minutes, Hold my Hand, Or Else –
Margaret Clark
Freaky Friday – Mary Rodgers
Hating Alison Ashley – Robin Klein
Snow White in New York – Fiona French (satire)
The Frog Prince Continued – Jon Scieszka (satire)
Ironic – Alanis Morissette (CD, audiotape – examples of irony)
Looking for Atlantis – Colin Thompson (surrealism)
I Hate my Teddy Bear – David McKee (surrealism)
Freefall, Hurricane, Tuesday – David Wiesner (surrealism)
The Whipping Boy – Sid Fleischman (slapstick humour)
A Day with Wilbur Robinson – William Joyce (ironic and humorous contrast between text and
Come out and play, Little Mouse – Robert Kraus (puns)
Zoo – Anthony Browne (ironic humour)

The Lion and Albert - Marriott Edgar
The Geebung Polo Club - A B Paterson
How McDougall Topped the Score - Thomas E Spencer
A Bush Christening - A B Paterson
Mulga Bill's Bicycle - A B Paterson
Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Roald Dahl
The Ant Explorer - C J Dennis
The Man From Snowy River - A B Paterson
The Terrible Tiger - Jack Prelutsky
Sister Poppy and the Plague - Doug McLeod

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland               TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
Technique                        Activity
Observation                      - Viewing habits of children
                                 - Children's knowledge of ‘What is Humour?’
                                 - Listening behaviours during story reading
                                 - Group/pair work habits
                                 - Participation in activities/discussions
                                 - Poetry sharing
                                 - Joke telling
Consultation                     - Conferences with teacher or peers about cartoons, comic strip
                                  stories, ballads
Focused Analysis                 - Summary of last two chapters of The Phantom Tollbooth
                                 - Limericks
                                 - Comic strips from limericks
                                 - Ballads
                                 - Comic strip story
                                 - Idiom illustrations
Self & Peer                      - Poetry sharing feedback from peers
Assessment                       - Reflection of learning at the end of unit
                                 - Reading/Performance of comic strip story or ballad

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                            TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                                               APPENDIX 1
                                                            Q? How many chickens does it
Question:             What is HUMOUR?                          take to change a light bulb?
Name:    __


What makes you laugh?

Who makes you laugh?

List as many form of humour as you can

Spoken – riddles,


Written -



TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                   TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland   TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                        REFLECTION: WHAT IS HUMOUR?
NAME: __________________________________________________________________________

List some things you have learned about humour during this unit:

What aspects of the unit did you enjoy the most?

Have you been able to apply any of the things you have learned in the unit to other
situations? e.g. watching your favourite Sit-com, reading a comic strip etc. Give examples

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                 TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
Idioms are colourful ways of using our language. They have been around a long time, but the
practices from which they originated have long since vanished from our way of life.
Some common idioms which children may find amusing to illustrate:

A fish out of water                                   Frog in my throat
I’m all ears                                          Catch his eye
Sight for sore eyes                                   Foot the bill
Put your best foot forward                            Toe the line
Give him a hand                                       Green thumb
I’m all thumbs                                        Wind him round your little finger
Blow my mind                                          Face the music
Hang one’s head                                       Keep a straight face
Level-headed                                          My lips are sealed
Eat you heart out                                     Heart to heart talk
Armed to the teeth                                    Eat your words
Sharp tongue                                          Tongue-tied
Watch your mouth                                      Chip on your shoulder
Cold shoulder                                         Turn my stomach
Pay through the nose                                  Take the floor
Stick to your guns                                    Wet blanket

A limerick is a humorous five line poem. Limericks have a special rhyme pattern.
Lines one, two and five rhyme together and lines three and four rhyme.
The rhyming pattern for a limerick is aabba.
Lines one, two and five have the same number of syllables - no more than nine per line.
Lines three and four are shorter, having no more than six syllables each.

                                 There once was a baby of Yore
                                 Whose parents found it a bore
                                 And being afraid
                                 That it might get mislaid
                                 They stored it away in a drawer.

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                         TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
Homographs are words that have more than one meaning. Some examples of
homographs are: rock, match, trip, plant, stamp, train, ring, fly, glasses, arms.

                                  HUMOUR VOCABULARY
IDIOM – An expression which does not have a literal meaning: “raining cats and
IRONY – A figure of speech where the literal meaning is the opposite of that
             Not always humorous.
SARCASM – A sneering or cutting remark, similar to irony but always intended to be
                   derisive and mean. (Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.)
SATIRE – The use of mocking or exaggerated humour to ridicule faults and vices.
PARODY – A humorous imitation of a serious piece of literature, film, TV show,
                poem, etc. May also be satirical.
WIT – The ability to be amusing in a clever way using words.
PUN – A play on words: “The anti-gun lobby should stick to their guns”.
SKIT – A slight parody or short satirical play.
DOUBLE ENTENDRE – A pun of a sexually suggestive type.

                                  ELEMENTS OF HUMOUR

TRIUMPH – Ridiculing someone or something so that the audience feels superior.
INCONGRUITY – Unlikely mismatch in language and images – Animals in clothing
SURPRISE – Laughter results when something is expected and does not occur or
when something occurs when it is not expected.
A PUN is a surprise in language.

                   Angry Man: “Why you little ……… I’ll teach you to
                               throw stones at my green house!”
                   Student:    “I wish you would … I haven’t hit it

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                 TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                             CARTOONS & COMIC STRIPS
Syndicated Cartoon – tells a story in pictures, might tell a short joke with the ending
or gag as the final panel.
Gag Cartoon – a simple drawing with or without a gag line which parodies everyday
Editorial Cartoon – simple satirical drawings designed to make readers analyse and

                                               APPENDIX 2

    1. Identify the orientation – characters and setting, the complication and
       the resolution

    2. Identify the rhyming pattern.

    3. Is there a refrain or a repetition of some words or phrases

    4. How was humour created in the poem?



         The situation?

         The character/s?

    5. Make sure you practice reading your poem aloud. Remember, it’s a
       performance piece.

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland             TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                             TIME FOR A LAUGH – TASKS

NOVELS – Midnite, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Eighteenth Emergency, Misery

POETRY – Ballads / Narrative Poems

  - Write a limerick
  - Translate a limerick into comic form
  - Create a cartoon strip based on a joke
  - Create a cartoon strip based on a homograph

CHOICE - Create a humorous ballad, OR a comic strip story based on an incident
         from one of the novels.

                        CRITERIA FOR HUMOROUS POEM
              CRITERIA                                COMMENT
 Appropriate generic structure
 (orientation, complication,
 Use of repetition
 Rhyme pattern
 Vocabulary used (puns, double
 Conventions (spelling, punctuation)


 Overall effectiveness

 Presentation of poem

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland        TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                          CRITERIA FOR CARTOON STRIP

           CRITERIA                                   COMMENT
 Choice of joke

 Illustration I Speech bubble
 Speech bubbles sequenced
 left to right
 Proximity of speech bubbles
 to speaker
 Action moves left to right

 Variety of shot types used

 Appropriate use of close-up
 Overall effectiveness

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland        TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
                      CRITERIA FOR COMIC STRIP STORY
            CRITERIA                                  COMMENT
 Appropriate generic structure
 (orientation, complication,
 Illustration / Speech bubble
 Speech bubbles sequenced left to
 Proximity of speech bubbles to
 Action moves left to right

 Variety of shot types used

 Appropriate use of close-up shots

 Vocabulary used (puns, double
 Conventions (spelling,
 Art work


 Overall effectiveness

 Presentation of comic strip story

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland       TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001
TERRIBLE TRIVIUM                                      MIDNITE ESCAPES AGAIN

Milo, Humbug and Tock the watch-dog                   A wild colonial boy was he
Were going to the castle in the sky                   Midnite was his name
They walked between trees and over a log              Tricked into jail by Miss Wellborn
And they saw a man with no face, OH MY!               That cunning, deceitful dame.

With a voice that was gentle and kind                 For the third time young Midnite
He said, "My friends will you please help me?"        Is in the dreaded clink
He was a demon really and so unkind                   How's he going to break out
"Well you seem very gentle and manly."                This will make him think.

"Terrible Trivium is my name,                         But this lucky, plucky lad
And here are three terrific tasks."                   Has some good friends at his side
Milo said, "This is not a good game."                 Gyp, Red Ned, Major, Dora and Khat
"Tell me, how long will they last?"                   Will ensure that once again he'll ride.

"Task one: to move a pile of fine sand                The jail was as solid as a rock
Using twizzers in your fingers                        Its walls were made of stone
Task two: hold a needle in your hand                  Midnite was sitting all by himself
And dig a cave that forever lingers."                 Feeling sad and all alone.

"Task three: to move water from a well                Then he saw two eyes in the corner
To another with an eyedropper."                       And when the warder couldn't hear
How long it would take he did not tell                He let out a magnificent cry
He did not even give them a clue.                     Khat his saviour was here.

Terrible Trivium was really a demon                   Major had built a nest of gunpowder
Whose job was to waste peoples' time                  In the jail cell walls
A voice told the trio to "run, run, run."             And when the fuse was lit
To keep looking for Reason and Rhyme.                 The explosion could be heard through
                                                      the halls.
The moral of this story
Is not to waste your time                             Off into the night Midnite dashed
On tasks that have no glory                           Through the hole the blast had made
As wastage is a crime!                                Midnite had again broken out
                                                      And could bushrange another day.

TIPS is an AccessEd Project of Education Queensland                 TIPS # 01514 – 25.01.2001

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