Lesson Plans

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

March 22, 2013         Updated March 11, 2016
Drawing of a jester hat

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 sitting there, 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 Fool's!”

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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. Plus, we've also added some more general resources for using humor to reach students. First, check out this incredible prank pulled last year:

Do you have other ideas for classroom pranks? What resources are you using to bring April Fool's Day into your class?

Tips, Strategies, and Resources for Using Humor to Engage Students

The research is clear about using humor in the classroom -- humor is an extremely engaging tool. But for educators, it can be a challenge to bring a little levity into lessons. Where should you begin? What types of humor are the most effective? And how exactly is humor best incorporated into lessons? Here are a few articles that provide ideas, tips, and strategies for engaging students with humor.

  • Humor in Education Resources, the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH): The AATH database of humor resources offers tons of useful content and will provide ideas for incorporating humor into many different subjects. In their "Humor and Education" section, you'll find articles that cover a range of topics related to humor in the classroom, as well as a long list of books dedicated to humor in education.
  • Tips for Using Humor in the Classroom: Here's a great article from the National Education Association that highlights effective strategies for incorporating humor into your lessons. There are 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. Also check out How to Effectively Use Humor in the Classroom, another NEA resource that offers great ideas and tips.
  • Lesson Plan: Comedy in the Classroom: The New York Times' 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 of every grade level.

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