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April Fool's Day in the Classroom: 8 Resources for Teachers

I still remember April Fool's Day when I was a fourth grader. A reading comprehension worksheet went out to the class, and in minutes, we were all dumbfounded. The story and questions were incomprehensible, written in complete gibberish. But our teacher went along with the joke. We had a half hour to finish it, and it was going to be worth a substantial amount of points.

I don’t remember how long the gag lasted exactly, but I do remember all of us students, mouths agape, wondering if the assignment was serious. Then, once we’d all thrown our hands up, our teacher let us in on the joke: “April Fools!”

April Fool's Day is the perfect time to play some light-hearted pranks on your friends, family, and co-workers, and if you’re a teacher, pulling an unexpected fast one on your students can be entertaining -- and memorable -- for everyone. So if you’re looking for ideas for classroom pranks, or you’re hoping to bring a humor lesson into the classroom, these are a few of our favorite April Fool's Day resources and teaching ideas.

  • 5 April Fool's Day Pranks Teachers Can Play from Edudemic: There are plenty of great ideas here for educators. Whether it’s letting your classroom run itself, or suggestions for a few 21st-century pranks, this list will make you laugh and help you pull a prank on your unsuspecting students.
  • Lesson Plan: Comedy in the Classroom from the Times Learning Network: The Learning Network put together this resource for teachers looking to bring to humor to their lesson plans. There are some great ideas for teaching the history of humor, writing and performing fake The Daily Show-style newscasts, and analyzing political cartoons. There’s something here for teachers in every grade level.
  • April Fool's Day: A Foolproof Primer on Classroom Laughter: In this Scholastic Teacher post, author and teacher Allie Magnuson takes a look at the importance and benefits of using laughter in the classroom. It’s a great read for educators who have been reluctant to use humor in their classrooms, and offers some simple ways educators can get their students laughing and learning.
  • Tips for Using Humor in the Classrooms: Here's a great article from the National Education Association that highlights effective strategies for incorporating humor into your lessons. There's a few examples that teachers have used in their classrooms, as well as a short video Q&A with humor researchers and a teacher who doubles as a stand-up comedian.
  • The Museum of Hoaxes: This is a super fun resource to share with students. (And thanks to Julie Winterbottom for sharing this with us last year.) The Museum of Hoaxes features some interactive and interesting April Fools timelines, a gallery of hoaxes and other fun stuff for students.
  • Five-Minute Film Festival: April Fools' Day: Last year, Edutopia’s VideoAmy produced this playlist of April Fool's Day videos, featuring a variety of hilarious pranks and some contextual videos as well. If you've got a few minutes, it will definitely entertain.
  • April Fool's Day Teacher Resources on Pinterest: There are so many Pinterest boards for teachers on April Fools -- it's impossible to list them all. But there are a few favorites for teachers, including Rachel Friedrich's board, PediaStaff's useful pins, and Deb Chitwood's great roundup.
  • Foolproof Fun Lesson Activities for April Fool's Day: This post from BusyTeacher.com features some great ideas for April Fools' Day in the ESL classroom. Although these ideas are ESL-focused, all of the ideas translate well to any classroom.
  • These are just a few of our favorites. Do you have other ideas for classroom pranks? What resources are you using to bring April Fool's Day into your class?

This post originally published on March 22, 2013.

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