Get It?

Third graders appreciate a good joke.  Wait--let me rephrase.  Third graders appreciate a super corny joke.  The other day I was putting together some math work with a joke at the end, and searched around online a bit before finding this:   

When do astronauts eat?  

At LAUNCH time! 

Ha!  And if you are eight: Hahahaha!

When it comes to jokes that kids have made up themselves, however, I can count on them being 100% terrible, 100% of the time.

Elementary school kids seem to lack the understanding that people don't usually make up a new joke, but that they are passed down from third grader to third grader to third grader, or are read off of a cereal box, the Internet, or math classwork.

This doesn't stop them from trying, though.  A few months ago, Michael had heard a joke that went something like this:   

Q: What do you get if you cross a parrot and a centipede?
A: A walkie talkie.

"I can do that!" he must have thought.  I will start out with "What do you get if you cross...." and then pick two animals at random.  And what I will end up with is one dynamite joke.

What he actually came up with was this:

"What do you get when you cross an alligator with a mouse?"

"Geez.  I don't know..." I replied.  I always like to guess something very wrong and un-funny so that the real answer will seem even funnier.   "An alli-mouse?"

"An outer space alligator!"

Oh.  Um.  But.  That's just not funny at all.  You see, there's got to be a double meaning to really get that laugh / groan you're looking for.  It has to work on multiple levels, you know?  I mean, clearly you don't know, Michael, but I am telling you now.  Stick to cereal boxes.

And then.

On Friday, Maya came up to me during dismissal with a joke.

"OK." I said, gearing up for a joke about something like astronauts eating at snack time.  "Let's hear it."

"Well, Delvon and I are the pencil sharpeners after school, right?"

"Yes," I replied.

"I told him he needs to be here at 3:15, SHARP!"

AHAHAHAHA! I was genuinely amused.  Get it?  3:15 sharp!  To sharpen the pencils!  Ha!

Allow me to adjust my previous calculation for how much of the time student jokes fall flat.  It's now down to only 99% of the time.

Here's Lookin' At You

The stage was set.

The actors were in position.

The plastic gavel that's broken on one side from over-eager silencing was in place in the prop box, ready to be used on its other side.

The play began--the culmination of our semester in drama.

The lines happened for the most part at the right time, for the most part with feeling, and for the most part loudly.

None of the other actors told another to "Get your butt up here" or froze and walked off stage.

The music teacher started in on the piano accompaniment for the first song.

I stood in the audience off to the side, gesturing my best, "Sing loudly and like this is the best song in the entire world!" gesture.

They stood in their spots, ready to sing.

And then.

From on stage.

Jeremiah looked right at me.

And winked.

Perhaps the wink was to say, "We got this, Ms. Sarah."

"You can stop all of that gesturing."

Or "I knew all of my lines!"

"I'm kind of a big deal."

"This one goes out to all the ladies."

Or maybe just, "Alllllllriiiiiight.  It's showtime!"

One more performance Thursday--who only knows what I'll get next time.....

This Post Makes Me Sick

Now is the time when I'm going to advise you to leave this blog....and hop on over to another one.  I'm up today on An Army of Ermas, writing on this month's theme of childhood memories.

If you're wondering whether it's worth going over there, here's a rave review from one commenter:  "This post makes me sick." 

No wait--but it's in a good way!  The whole point of the post is to leave you feeling a little queasy.  Mentally flipping through all of my childhood memories, I realized that an awful lot of the pastimes from my youth involved spinning, flipping, rolling, turning, flopping, or twirling, and generally getting sick to your stomach.  For fun.  Because kids are weird.
I can't say that I was ever mischievous enough to do something like Lisa Dovichi wrote about doing as a kid, but I sure did have more than my fair share of fun crashing into walls.

Are you hooked yet? 

When you're done, pop on back over here for more odd and entertaining childhood memories in the making.  Thirty years from now, Cassidy will be reminiscing with friends about "that time when I put on fake glasses and told everyone they were real and really thought I had my teacher convinced."


If you are a child growing up in the District of Columbia, you miss out on the chance to memorize fun facts such as your state bird or your state flower.  Actually, thanks to a little quick research I found out that we, in fact, do have an official bird (the wood thrush) and an official flower (the American Beauty rose).  But the point I’m making here is that we are not a state.
The unique status of D.C. as a federal district is what we’ve been studying this spring in the third grade.  In second grade we focused on understanding how a democracy works (by way of things like a thoroughly entertaining day of dictatorship), and now we’re investigating the bizarre representative democracy loophole that is our nation’s capital.

Early on in the semester we learned that D.C. doesn’t have a voting representative in Congress.  OK—we’re now very solid on that.  We then moved on to exploring why that is, and why we’re not a state or part of a state.  It became clear that some further exploration was needed when I saw this answer to the test question, “Why is D.C. not a state?”

“Because we’re just a country.”

So we backed up a bit and established the differences between a country, a state, and a city and now I think we’re good on that front.

Celebrity Apprentice
The other day we were looking at how many representatives different states get in Congress, and by now many kids are able to name some of the states that have a large amount of representatives.  “So why does California have a lot of representatives?” I asked.  

While several of the kids in the group were able to say that this was because California has a large population, I can see how Max might have come to his conclusion about why the Eureka State should get more Congressional representation.

“Celebrities might get more rights than other people” he replied.

Yes, Max.  It sure seems like that could be true, doesn't it?

Randomly Encountered Children

In all of the time that kids spend in classrooms, they generate a rather large number of quotes and entertaining stories.  But they don't turn off when they leave school for the day, and sadly a lot of their material is beyond my purview.  I do, however, sometimes get to listen in on the antics of some randomly encountered children outside of school hours when they happen to cross my path.  Or when they happen to kiss my elbow.
Yesterday we were out jogging and ran by a two such children out walking with their families.  One of the perhaps six-year-old boys was dressed in a Superman shirt and had some kind of superhero device strapped to his wrist.

"Let's just fight!" he shouted out to his friend who was running ahead.  When the friend failed to stop running or to respond, he called after him.  "Dude!  Dude!"

The friend, who wore a rather regular shirt and was device-less, had his own plans.  "Let's just run!" he called back to his fighting-obsessed friend.

We jogged on and left the boys to continue the debate over fighting vs. running as the superior pastime.

A few weeks ago another kid popped into our weekend wielding chalk.  She sat on her stoop as we walked to the grocery store, surveying a heavily decorated sidewalk.  We stopped for a minute to admire the drawings.  "A lot of people have been signing their names" she said.  We took the hint and added our own names.  I felt the occasion called for my most fancy signature.  "I can't read cursive" the girl said as she looked over my shoulder, so I translated.  We went along our way, impressed by the girl's ability to employ neighborhood residents in the creation of a sprawling masterpiece.

I'm also sometimes entertained not only by the kids being kids, but by the parents managing those kids.  As I walked into the mall the other day, I hear a mom behind me setting the groundrules for her two sons as they approached the door.

"We're not playing 'Touch Your Brother and Make Him Cry,' we're not playing 'Run Around the Store.'  Keep your hands to yourself and don't bother anybody."

As a shopper on a mission that did not include tripping over or colliding with any children, and as an anybody not wanting to be bothered, I very much appreciated this mom's no-nonsense lecture.

On the weekends, I get a break from having to have to tell any kids to sit down, to finish their work, or to stop nibbling their classmates, but still get to be amused by them.

We are NOT Joking Around, Here

This summer I have been getting lots of advice on the impending baby situation that will be happening this fall.   Highlights of this advi...