Photo by: Dacie Ritch
Just Fooling Around: April Fools’ Day Jokes to Try in Your Classroom
Written by Kate McGuire
Now, I’m not usually the teacher who plays pranks on students but with everything we’ve been dealt this school year (for me – leaking ceiling, a classroom with no outlets, class size over 40 students) it’s about time to have some fun and roll with the punches. This April Fools’ Day, why not try out a prank or two on your students to add in some classroom laughs and light-hearted scares?
- Teacher flip – Have a good teacher friend dress up and pretend to be you and lead your class. You pretend to be them and teach their class. At some determined point, meet in the bathroom and switch clothing and return to your real classrooms. No explanation, no reaction, just really commit to the act.
- The great blackout – Unplug every computer before class started. My kids never think to check whether a computer is unplugged when it’s not working. May take them a little bit to figure it out and plug them in again.
- Change up the classroom – Move little bits and pieces around the classroom. If you’re up for it, move your desk to the other side of the room or flip it 180° and work on it like nothing has changed. Alternatively, move around their computers to different spots or rearrange the desks/chairs.
- ‘Correct’ their writing – Want to really mess with yearbookers? Correct their use of AP Style by giving wrong answers only. This can be used with caption writing or headline writing assignments and taking off points (give them back later) when students use correct grammar, punctuation or spelling.
- Dip out early – This one I plan on doing in all my classes. When it’s the last 10-15 minutes of class, give the students an announcement like this, ‘A special guest is coming to visit you all, let me go grab them,’ and then leave the class completely. It’ll leave them confused and give you a chance to take a breather, maybe finish your coffee until the bell rings.
- Disappearing chairs – Take all the chairs from your room and place them in other classrooms/bathrooms/random locations somewhat near your classroom. Tell the kids that in order to sit they need to find their chairs. Give them something fun to do before getting to work. Alternatively, remove all the mice from the computers and do the same thing. You might want to ‘sweeten’ the deal by placing little pieces of candy on the chairs.
- Ultimate fake out – If you really want to freak out and get a gut reaction, tell them the yearbook is not going to be published. Any believable excuse will do. There is a shortage of CMYK ink, and the printer has suspended books until further notice or not enough books were sold to cover the cost of printing. Make sure you tell them it’s a joke, don’t give them a heart attack.
- You’re in trouble – This is a great one for the troublemakers in class who cause you daily headaches. At a point in class, have a pass delivered (by another teacher or admin) asking a student to go see the principal. When the kid shows up at the principal’s office, you’ll prank both the principal and the student. Or… have the principal in on the joke and when the student arrives at the principal’s office make sure the principal acts in a disapproving manner and when they’re ready to give up the jig, send them back to class. I would also offer them a treat for being a good sport.
- Who wants pizza? – We do frequent late nights where students get pizza and soda and work on the yearbook for a few hours with peers. Instead of pizza in the pizza boxes, replace it with broccoli, carrots, or other food items not as delicious as pizza.
- Fake word search – An easy one if some of these seem too far stretched for you to pull off. Give the kids a list of words that are actually not on the word search and have them try to figure it out.
While creating a yearbook is a rewarding experience, it is also a lot of work. As the school year begins to wrap up, make sure to take time to have fun, create new memories and unwind. Fun and creative pranks can be a great way to lighten the mood after a big deadline and connect with your staff.