so today . . . something funny happened in my classroom, and i have no idea what it was.
after my kids "nap" (and i use quotes, because the kindergarteners don't really nap. they put their heads down on their tables and wish it was time to play. sometimes they do fall asleep, but before long i have to wake them up, so it isn't really long enough to be called a nap. and yet, we do . . . ) i let them play for a little while before we dive back into our work. i do this, because if they have slept, they need a little transition time before their brains are fully functioning again. and i need a little transition time before i am ready to deal with social studies or art.
as i looked around the room, i saw that two children were playing on the floor with legos, and three were at a table playing with little rubbery dinosaurs. and then i heard the laughter. not just giggling, but the full-on, laugh-out-loud kind. it was coming from the table.
(to my knowledge, the dinosaurs aren't that funny. in fact, what usually happens when the dinosaurs are out is something like this--
"i want the red ones."
"no! i'm playing with them."
"but i WANT them!!!"
"no! i had them first!"
"TEEEAAAACHERRRRR! he won't share the dinosaurs!!!"
and then we have the discussion about how sharing doesn't mean you get what you want when you want it--sharing means taking a turn.)
so i was curious, because while they get the giggles sometimes, i can usually hear it coming. as the five-year-old conversation swirls in the background of my brain, i will hear the beginnings of a joke or the smile in a voice that tells me mild hilarity is right around the corner. but that didn't happen today.
because they were speaking in chinese.
i don't speak chinese, so it was a little hard to catch the punchline. and the students aren't really supposed to speak chinese at school (because most of them speak chinese at home, so school is where they are supposed to be working on their english skills) but they were laughing so hard! so i tuned into the conversation. and even though i couldn't understand a word they were saying, i could tell they were laughing about words--i think they were making puns! in chinese!!
i am constantly amazed at the language skills of people who have only been alive for four or five years. they can't even tie their own shoe laces, but they are fluent in two languages! not only that, but they can apparently be funny in two languages! you have to really understand a language to be able to pull off a play on words. of course, chinese is the language they were born to speak, but they are also able to be funny in english.
the difference is, i understand it when they are funny in english.