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Monday, May 30, 2011

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.

5 comments:

Sparkling said...

that's a really good one! she clearly gets it!

i'll never forget my 4th grade teacher teaching us about puns. the one she used was about an ant that saw the label on the top of the bag that said "tear along dotted line" so he went racing across it at top speed. 25 years later and i'm still laughing!

Sarah said...

Hey!!! That's some real progress right there :). Also, you've got such a good point there - why is it kids feel compelled to make up their own jokes? One of life's mysteries I guess :)

Sarah Garb said...

I will have to use that "tear along the dotted line" one! Excellent. I really don't know why they feel the need to make up jokes when there are perfectly corny ones out there. Maybe the next time a kid starts to tell me a home-spun joke, I'll cut her off with the ant joke. Yes. That's my plan.

Pancakes For Recess (Pawan) said...

I think it's hilarious how "un-funny" these jokes can be.. First graders are worse. Their punch lines are TOTALLY unrelated to the first part of the joke. It's painful!

Sherri said...

I always love the kids that "get" some of the higher-level jokes...but I still love me some silly, little kid jokes!