Tuesday, September 16, 2008

defining funny

i have to admit, i adore my bff. my awesome co-teacher and i frequently find ourselves trying not to giggle while we observe his antics during lessons. yesterday he stretched his arms out around us while we were standing on either side of him and gave us a big group hug. he's taken to patting me on the head and saying, "thank you mrs. lipstick!" during lessons.

his new thing these days is keeping track of what is funny and what's not funny. whenever someone laughs he asks, "what's funny?" and so i try to take a moment to explain it to him. my bff has autism and so is very self-aware that other people have decided something is "funny" so they laugh. i'm not sure he understands what "funny" is, but he's trying his best to make sense out of it so he can laugh along with the rest of us.
yesterday our administrative intern was in the room and our literacy-collaborative coach/phenomenal co-teacher was teaching a lesson from handwriting-without-tears. she made a mistake with the b/d pieces and so the three of us laughed, knowing that's something the kids do all the time, why not us too? my bff of course said, "what's so funny?" i whispered that ms. w had made a mistake. "THAT'S NOT FUNNY" he announced. "don't laugh!" true, smart boy, we don't laugh at people who make mistakes.

today during a particular funny read aloud one little girl just kept giggling. she was the only one and in truth she was making a show out of laughing. my bff did not like this at all. "mrs lipstick! tell m it's not funny! we are quiet and she is laughing, it's not funny!" i'm kind of impressed he recognized that if only one person is laughing then maybe it's not funny.

he's also taken to identifying what is funny and what is not funny in our guided reading books. we have the fabulous danny book series, small square books featuring a yellow lab and all his funny antics. kids LOVE these books, but my bff becomes overwhelmed with the excitement of a new danny book. "oh DANNY!" he sings, and swoons his body into me. "thank you! thank you!" the first time reading a book he'll find particular pages and ask, "is that funny?" if i say yes from then on out he'll overwhelm himself with giggles every time we come to that page. on days i wasn't paying attention and said "yes" on a particularly mundane page i sentence myself to daily independent reading giggles of laughing at danny sitting on the steps. oops.
i love that he's so dedicated to his research project of making sense of this laughter thing.

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