Friday, July 24, 2009

Are You Smarter Than MY Fifth Grader?

I am a television grump: I can't stand most tv, and I'm always nagging my kids not to watch it. I say subtle things like, "Do you want to maintain ANY kind of visual imagination?" and I point to ditch diggers on 90+ degree days and say, "He used to watch hours of television and now..." The kids roll their eyes and say things like, "Right, mom,'cause it's not like he was dumb to start with." They are so sarcastic -- just like their father.

Anyway, I was on the couch recently, and I wanted to read, but I couldn't focus enough from the a) pain and b) the pain killers. So I watched tv, at least for a little while. And my kids showed me some of their favorite shows:

16 and Pregnant


South Park

Family Guy

I sort of liked the first two since the first was scary and the second was actually funny sometimes. The other shows just seemed mean and uninspired. They reminded me of jokes I heard when I used to supervise a time out room in a terrible high school.

Then Emma, a fifth grader, put on the show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? I, thinking the obvious, said to her, "Are these questions you get asked in school?" She started laughing. "No, Mom, they're so easy. It's the adults who are dumb." I didn't believe her. Then I watched it. Is it possible to be given a drivers license and not know there are seven continents? I mean, could there be nine? Or did one melt? Good Lord.

Since I live with a fifth grader, here are Emma's two latest questions that she asked during a long car trip:

What shape is the universe?

She has not been able to accept Dad's answer that it has no shape. We are at a loss on this one.

The other is this:

Since I'm here now, where was I before I was born? Was I a spirit? Not after I die, but before I was born, what was I doing? And WHAT was I?

That's the show I want to see.


Elizabeth Bradley said...

My son is 18 and he's not much of a TV watcher. He never was. When his sister, (she's a mere 18 mos older) would be engrossed with the TV when they were little he would always get her to leave the TV to go play with him. I digress, anyway he was watching Family Guy a few months ago and I sat down to see why he was laffin and laffin. That's a cartoon show? The episode we watched was full of stuff that shocked me. I mean, that's a cartoon show? It's a far cry from The Flintstones of my youth.

Anne Spollen said...

I know -- Family Guy is high school boy humor (not Emma's show -she can repeat lines from SpongeBob though) It's mean spirited and not particularly witty. It's more of an animated show, I think, than an actual cartoon. South Park can be even worse.

Christy Raedeke said...

Know any Buddhist Lamas? Emma could have a fantastic conversation with a Tibetan Buddhist...

Anne Spollen said...

Lol, Christy.

I think fifth grade must be the onset of those kind of questions --maybe, but I don't think I ever wondered about the shape of the universe in my life, though.

adrienne said...

One of my son's classmates was in the original cast of Are You Smarter..., so we kind of had to watch the first season. I'd rather ponder your fifth grader's questions, though.

I do like SpongeBob - that porous yellow one is pretty funny.

Mary Witzl said...

My husband has taught fifth grade. If you ask him why some stars are more twinkly than others, he can give you a totally scientific answer in seconds -- I am seriously in awe of him. If everybody just learned the fifth grade curriculum, there would be a LOT fewer dumb people in the world.

As for Emma's second question, I'm waiting to find the answer to that one myself. I'm betting it's going to be good: they save the best for the last.

Anne Spollen said...

Wow, you knew someone on tv. Emma would have gone crazy if she knew someone. And I think everyone loves Sponge Bob. My 56 year old brother laughs at him along with my ten year old. Pretty successful humor there.

The REAL fifth grade curriuculum is pretty neat, Mary. I think that's where they first put in critical thinking skills. But it's just weird and sort of sad that the ADULTS can't name all the planets or continents or spell simple words. It must be staged; it has to be.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

I enjoy quizzes but with the years , I'm not answering right!! I enjoy the 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader' on and off. Have to hand it to the kids :)

Colorado Writer said...

Hope you are starting to feel better. We watch a lot of Spongebob here. And the 17 year old watches Family Guy. Don't like any of it.

Nora MacFarlane said...

Okay. I googled the question "What shape is the universe" and came up with this!

Anne Spollen said...

Hey, KTSG, welcome! I don't worry about not answering quizzes; I worry much more about not being able to find my keys...

I know, CW. Family Guy is just offensive. I will never understand why my 17 year old thinks it is so funny. Guy humor?

Thanks, Nora! I am going to show Emma this page. I knew someone would come up with something sooner or later.