Submitted by Tina Morgan, Columbus, Missouri

Idea posted May 11, 2004

Here's something I did last week with my sixth graders, in honor of April being National Humor Month.

I got a kid's joke book and typed out some jokes, cut the jokes into strips, and put one in 25 or so Easter eggs. Each child got an egg, and instead of a yolk, there was a joke inside. (Yeah, that was pretty bad but it amused them.)

Here's the little chant I made up:

"Tell us a joke that's as funny as can be.
Make us giggle, make us laugh, fill us with glee."

We said the chant, then went around the circle and had everyone read their joke aloud. (We said the chant for each child's turn.)

After that activity I talked to the kids about a video clip that we were going to watch from "Singing In the Rain." (I set the stage for the clip and explained that earlier in the movie, the two men were talking. One man was bothered because he met a woman, and through various circumstances, he was afraid he'd caused her to lose her job. In addition, the man thought the woman was pretty and she didn't like him very much. His friend tries to console him and tells him to snap out of it while doing a song and dance routine.) Then, I explained that song and dance routines aren't necessarily funny, but that this one was funny. I asked the students to create a list of criteria, in their opinion, that would make a song and dance routine funny. After creating the list, we watched "Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singing in the Rain," and then discussed it afterwards to see if it met their criteria. (This was also a good way for me to get in that "evaluate a musical performance" benchmark.)

The kids really liked the video. Later, I showed them a segment from earlier in the movie that showed the physical strength of Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. (It's when Gene's character is spinning a yarn about his early beginnings in show business and his motto was "Dignity. Always dignity." The one particular spot that I think is so great is when both men are in a squat position, playing fake fiddles, and kick their legs straight out.)

After the video, we sang one of the songs from the Music K-8 "Lighten Up" revue. Even my "tough" kids like this lesson!