Thursday, December 17, 2009

ELL Joke Worksheets?


Kate wrote a great post about the value of a well-structured worksheet last month.

I agree that there are huge benefits of having a unified task, with some type of self-checking or affirmation. And a little fun and/or creativity doesn't hurt. Joke worksheets do that pretty well. However, my students (who are generally not native English speakers) hardly ever get the joke. They tackle the sheet with excitement, but there is usually that little moment of disappointment at the end when they don't get the punchline. Instead, of course, of the expected groan and eye-roll that accompanies a quality pun.

"What do you get when you mix prune juice with holy water?"
"A religious movement"

After two minutes of explanation, that loses some of its original zing.

So my question is if anyone has or knows about these kinds of worksheets developed for ELL students? I'm kind of doubting that there are any, but it never hurts to ask. I think I will probably end up creating some next semester, with jokes solicited from my students. Then I can publish the DCP Spanglish Algebra Joke Book.

7 comments:

Kate Nowak said...

I don't know of any - wish I did! I think your students would love it if you asked them for jokes and then they found their joke in your worksheet.

Christy said...

You always have such fun ideas. I am sure your students will give you some good jokes, but another place to look for really silly jokes that just about anyone can get is on "Laffy Taffy" candy. The jokes are short and would be perfect for solving on a math worksheet.

Ms. Ashton said...

I just ordered the Calculaugh worksheets and haven't tired them out with my ELL students yet. I love teaching them about American culture, so I often enjoy things like this. It might work to do some front loading such as when you hand out the sheet, asking them if they know what prunes are, do a quick google search and make a joke about why older people like to drink it. Then when they finish the paper, they will have a better chance at understanding the joke.

Sarah Cannon said...

Spanglish Math. So many languages blended together there. I don't know of any ELL worksheets, but I'll keep an eye out.

Jessica said...

I wish I knew! My kids are (kinda) ELLs...their native language being ASL. They don't get the homonym puns or many of the joke worksheets. I'll keep looking here to see if you find any.

Dan Greene said...

Jessica, I doubt there are any commercial ASL targeted joke worksheets out there. But those would be really cool. Have you tried making one?

jen said...

Behind on my teacher blogs, but I share(d) your irritation with the joke worksheets. I didn't use them often -- part of the reason I burnt out so quickly was that I wanted to do everything from scratch -- but my English learners, and even many of my native speakers, were not impressed by the end gags. Though it was sometimes a teachable moment to explain the idiom or pun or whatever. Sometimes.