By Robin Earnest, J.D., LL.M. Author of “Just Kidding: Jokes for Kids by Kids” justkiddingjokes.com It’s No Joke — Good writing is required for any job you might want. doctor lawyer teacher President, or politician cartoonist scientist computer operator secretary investigator, or spy What other jobs can you think of? Sadly, many little (and big) kids feel writing is hard. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be as easy as telling a joke. * Can you tell me a joke? In fact, many skilled writers also write jokes. . . . Jokes by Kids, for kids Jokes by celebrity characters Jokes for adults. . . Jokes are often called the “layman’s poetry.” (Hockett) Jokes, like poetry, require a good understanding of how words and phrases are commonly used and understood. Jokes, like poetry, involve “word play” the use of common words in an uncommon way to create a funny punch line (jokes) or clever ending (poetry). For example: Q. Can a turkey jump higher than the Brooklyn Bridge? A.Sure, bridges can’t jump. * See how “jump” is used 2 different ways? Jokes, like poetry, can be good because they use everyday ideas Jokes can work well when they are about everyday life. For example, Student: I was born in California Teacher: Oh really, what part? Student: All of me. Or when they take a word out of context. Mummy, Mummy, I don’t like my sister, Then leave it on the side of your plate and eat your vegetables. To write a good Joke, like any writing, you must use the RULE of 3 1) P - Plan and write a first draft: Begin with an idea—this may take planning and some discussion with your teacher, a friend, etc. Then write it down to revise later. 2) R - Revise: Hey we all make mistakes, so the first draft is NEVER your best. Take another look and get editing assistance if necessary. Make changes to correct—word usage, style and to see if your idea just makes sense. 3) F - Final Draft: More editing is always better, so take another look at your writing to correct “technical” errors—e.g., spelling, grammar, etc. These 3 rules will be referred to as: P for Planning and writing the first draft, R for Revising, and F for the Final Draft Now that you know the rules, you can write jokes for fun! Here are the 3 basic types of jokes: 1) Riddles 2) Knock Knock Jokes 3) Tongue Twisters What is a Riddle? Riddles, use ordinary words, in an unusual way to create an answer that's funny and clever. They are in a Question: Answer format and so often begin with: * Why? * How? * What? The CLOZE exercises below help illustrate this. The Question: Answer pattern Many good riddles start their question sentence with “what” and, like in the CLOZE exercise below, answer the question using a common word in an uncommon way. Like, Q. What school supply is the ______ (bug, pet, king) of the classroom? A. The ruler. Others may begin with “which” and have an answer that also depends on using a word out of its usual context. Like, Q. Why did the ____________ (bear, dog, student) sit on her alarm ____________ (bag, bug, clock)? A. Because she wanted to be on time for school Clever, huh? Try to make up a few on your own using the worksheet. Don’t forget the Rule of 3. Knock Knock Jokes Learning word pattern and rhythm Knock Knock Jokes use a simple 5 line pattern and so teach structured writing in the way riddles do. In addition, knock knocks teach rhythm (much used in poetry) as words must possess a certain rhythmic beat in the pattern. For example, you know that the first 2 lines, and the end of the 4th line, are always the same. 1. Knock, knock. 2. Who's there? 3. ________ 4. ________ who? Just find a single noun for the 3rd line, which when added to "who” makes a funny phrase; like, . . . . 1. Knock, knock. 2. Who's there? 3. Boo. 4. Boo who? 5. Don't cry, it's only a joke. ________________________________________________________________ Now try a few of your own, 1. Knock, knock. 2. Who's there? 3. __________________. 4. __________________ who? 5. _____________________________. Tongue Twisters Learning Rhythm and Rhyme Tongue Twisters are great fun while still teaching the writing skills of timing, word sounds and rhyme. For a good twister, like a good poem, you should use words that rhyme and/or begin with the same letters or letter sounds. Like, • Dan’s dad danced bad (repeat 3 times fast) Helpful Hints for Tongue Twisters HINT #1 Words beginning with certain letters—like b, d, p, f, th, v and s—work better because they are harder for the mouth to form and so easier for your tongue to get twisted with. For example, try these 3 times fast: • Barbara burned the brown bread badly. • Fran fried five flat fish. • Sara and Sam sang seven silly songs at school. HINT #2: You can use various tenses of the same word for effect. I never smelled a smell that smelled as bad as that smell smelled. It’s Your Turn to Write: Let’s see your tongue twisters here: 1. ___________________________________________ ____________________________________________. 2. ___________________________________________ ____________________________________________. 3. ___________________________________________ _____________________________________________. NOTE again: Remember the Rule of 3: 1) Plan, 2) Revise, and 3) Final draft. Get a friend to help and it will be fun!