I LOVE April Fools’ day.
For 99% of the school year, I look like a fool. I trip over my chair almost hourly. I do voices out loud when I read and I teach at a secondary school. I accidentally say or imply horrible things that my students remind me of when I’m being observed. My students comment on my sense of fashion by saying things like, "You dress like you're married," or "You look like a thundercloud."
But on April 1st, the tables are turned.
There is an art to the April Fools’ prank. It requires careful planning. It needs to be cost and labor-effective. It needs to shock and alarm, but not humiliate or scare to the point of distress.
I am still not entirely sure what I’ll be doing yet, but here’s some ideas for you to consider for 2013. Some I found around the Internet, and some I found in the darkest corners of my own mind.
1) Convince them they have lost their minds by switching their chairs for ones of drastically different sizes and then deny it.
When I did alternative certification, I student taught for a 5th grade classroom that was on the same campus as an early childhood program. The day before April Fools’, I got together with one of the EC teachers after school and we spent probably an hour switching my kids’ huge chairs with her kids’ tiny ones. It might not seem like this prank is that great, but the real prank lies in the teacher reaction. The kids came into the classroom the next morning and absolutely lost their minds. Most teachers would stop the prank there and say, “April Fools’! Got you guys!”
But I am not most teachers.
For probably an hour, I pretended like I had no idea what they were talking about and that the chairs were ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT from the day before.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Why would I switch your chairs? You think I have time to be doing that?”
“Um, OKAY, let me get this straight: you’re telling me your chairs just shrunk. On their own. Overnight.”
My favorite, FAVORITE part of the day was watching all 30 of them, finally resigned to the idea that their chairs were normal, working at their desks with their arms and legs bent at bizarre and unnatural angles. It made my heart ache with pleasure.
2) Frighten them moderately.
Hide plastic doll heads or some other creepy object in their desks. Write a short story or fake news article about the creepy object (“Mysterious Doll Heads Found Around Town: UFOs to Blame?”) and enjoy the mania that ensues when you ask them to get something out of their desk.
Or, just hiding plastic doll heads in their desks would be awesome.
3) If you are gifted with technology, DO THIS!!:
4) If you teach music or orchestra, DO THIS!!:
If you don’t teach music or orchestra, you could do this with a kid’s pencil or something else that would be funny. I am considering getting certified in music JUST so I can do this one day.
5) Say they’re having a pop quiz. Then say, “April Fools’!” THEN ACTUALLY GIVE THEM A POP QUIZ.
I love this one.
6) Pretend to have accidentally revealed some sort of creepy, elaborate plan and then deny knowing anything about it.
Sometime during class, pretend to accidentally project a list of your students names with random information next to their names (phone numbers, times, cardinal directions, instructions, etc.). Here’s an example of what I mean, using some of my favorite movie, TV, and literature protagonists instead of actual students.
Then, when your kids say “MISS WHAT’S THAT I DON’T GET IT WHY IS THAT BY MY NAME?!”, quickly and awkwardly try to fix it and project what you were originally intending ("Oh, no.... I mean, what? That's nothing." Deny knowing anything about it, but in a way that shows you definitely let them in on something they were supposed to know.
It will drive them nuts.
7) Make a word search with none of the words in it.
Hope you are able to pull a fast one on your little (or big) ones this April 1st.