A POPCORN Lesson: “CORNY” Humor, Facts and Perspective Taking with SGM - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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A POPCORN Lesson: “CORNY” Humor, Facts and Perspective Taking with SGM® and ThemeMaker®

by Sheila Moreau July 23, 2019 3 min read

I saw this meme on Facebook recently and cracked up laughing at the “corny” humor!

Popcorn cartoon 1 image

(This comic is altered to remove the word “shut up” in order to use it with your students.) You can find the original cartoon here.

It just so happened that it was a 95-degree day here and I felt just like that popped stalk of popcorn—SO HOT! I am sure many of you can relate to the weather this summer. I actually Googled to see if that could actually happen—that popcorn would “pop” while still on the “ear.” First, I found a website Popcorn.org and realized there is WAY more to popcorn than I ever realized!

The website talks about the fact that...

“Millions of people like you eat it every day at home, work, or play. Popcorn’s popularity comes from the fact that it tastes great, but also because popcorn is connected to good times and the people we love. We eat popcorn while snuggling up together watching movies, sitting together playing games, cheering for favorite ball teams, walking hand-in-hand at a local fair, during seaside vacations, and while trekking thru the big city.”

Popcorn Flyer imageI loved this idea! And I do associate the smell of popcorn with good times! I also found a flyer of quick facts about Popcorn that has some concise and more academic information from the Popcorn ThemeMaker cover imageBoard. I used Maps from our ThemeMaker® Manual to organize some of this information into the expository text structures of Description, List, and Sequence.

Then, while using the Description Map from the ThemeMaker® Manual, I learned so much about popcorn. Popcorn is actually a member of the grass family—a specific kind of maize (corn). Its scientific name is “Zea mays everta.” See below for more facts about popcorn:

 Descriptive Map image

7 Ate 9 book cover iamgeIn a typically developing brain, it takes mere seconds to “get” a joke or a play on words. However, comprehension of humor can be a challenge to children with language learning disabilities, very young children, children with Social Communication Disorders and/or Autism. For example, one of my 5-year-old daughter’s favorite books is 7 ATE 9 by Tara Lazar and Ross MacDonald. Most of us immediately process the facts/information: the title is a play on words of the numbers seven, eight and nine (7 8 9) and we get a mental image of 7 actually “eating” nine! The whole book is a play on words with letters and numbers in the style of a “murder mystery/missing person case.” Very humorous and a great selection!!

Next, WHY is this Popcorn comic funny? What additional information or facts or information do we need for this to be funny? About what do we need to understand what the characters are THINKing and what they SAY?

This led me to add to the information from the Description Map and add the follow LIST and SEQUENCE Maps from the ThemeMaker® Manual. See the maps below:

Popcorn Types image

Popcorn Process image

Martha Stewart video screenshotAfter that, I also looked a little, but further, into the idea that popcorn could pop on the ear of corn, and came across this Martha Stewart video with a super cute and yummy idea. It IS possible to do this, in fact. She demonstrates putting an ear of popcorn in a brown paper bag, rolling up the end and putting it in the microwave for 2 minutes – voila! Popcorn! Watch it here.

Making Connections cover imageFinally, let’s take the perspectives of the 2 characters in this comic: each ear of Zea mays everta (popcorn)! Using page 14.14 and 14.15—the Perspective-Taking Maps—in our manual called Making Connections, I analyzed their reactions to the Kick-Offs, as well as their Feelings, Thoughts, and words of the Characters. See below…

Popcorn Perspective 1 image

Popcorn Perspective 2 image

Popcorn Cartoon 2 imageHere is another funny “ear of popcorn” comic! We used it here with permission from the artist, Gordon Caulkins. Use these Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker® Maps to try analyzing this comic as well!

Sheila Moreau
Sheila Moreau

Sheila M. Moreau, M.Ed. is vice president at MindWing Concepts. Her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology is from St. Anselm College and Master’s of Education degree from Cambridge College. Sheila has twenty years of experience in marketing and sales in the telecommunications, commercial real estate, fundraising and educational publishing industries. Sheila co-authored The Essential SGM® with Maryellen Moreau, drawing upon her experience in her graduate studies. Sheila was on the Early Literacy Advisory Board of Cherish Every Child (Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation),; she sits on the Board of Directors for the International VolleyBall Hall of Fame and serves as Co-Chair of Marketing and Sponsorship for the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, Inc.

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