Use Humor to Teach Your Students About Careful Communication

One of the most important social and emotional (SEL) skills students need is clear communication. But in an age of Twitter, emojis, and auto-correcting iPhones, it is too easy to make very serious errors.

An Activity for Students

Taking a look at these bloopers can be instructive for students, as well as fun. Below is an activity to analyze these communication gaffes that can be integrated into language arts or social studies classes, as well as any class devoted to social-emotional skill development.

For each of the headlines below, ask your middle and high school students:

  • To figure out what the real message was supposed to be
  • How the headline could have been re-written as an example of clear communication

Debrief and discuss with them the importance of:

  • Checking their work beyond spellcheck
  • Asking others to read their work for clarity
  • The proper use of punctuation and grammar

It’s often best to have them work in small groups on the same two or three headlines, and see if they come up with the same analysis. After being debriefed for one or two rounds, the students should begin to improve their attention to the spelling, grammar, and word-use errors that can dramatically change the intended meaning of a brief communication.