Teachers are generally on the receiving end of pranks, but on April Fools’ Day they have the opportunity to give lighthearted retaliation. Teachers should certainly steer clear of tricks that embarrass or draw attention to one student over another, and avoid potentially damaging student or school property. However, a carefully crafted prank on an unsuspecting class can show that teachers have a sense of humor. Here are some ways to fool students this April 1st.
Grade: K – 3
A playful way to get younger children giggling as soon as they walk in the room, suggested by commenter vrivera on TheTeachersCorner.net:
Prank: Re-write classroom labels and nametags backwards, and replace small chairs with large ones or vice versa.
Extra Credit: For added impact, arrange the entire classroom facing the opposite direction and hang classroom posters upside down.
Materials: re-written labels and nametags, different sized chairs
Grade: K – 8
Prank: Swap rooms and subjects with your fellow teachers for the day. When students arrive, they’ll be surprised to see the PE teacher leading algebra class and the science teacher in the art room!
Extra Credit: Take it a step further and swap grade levels as well.
Materials: sub plans for the ‘substitute’
Grade: 4 – 7
Prank: Tape strongly scented air fresheners of a unique scent (bacon, anyone?) under several desks throughout the room. Students will puzzle over what’s causing the strange new aroma.
Extra Credit: Either act like you don’t notice the smell, or create a ridiculous story to explain it: “A bacon delivery truck wrecked in the middle of the night outside the school”.
Materials: air fresheners, tape
Grade: 4 – 7
Prank: Ohio teacher Ryan Weingartner offered the following: “I told all my students we were trying a new tornado drill, and I made them all get under their desks and remain absolutely silent for 2 or 3 minutes as I got ready for class. Then I told them it was April Fools’ Day.”
Extra Credit: To lend credibility, have the principal pop in to inform them of the drill ahead of time.
Grade: 6 – 8
A twist on the classic “There’s a quiz today!” joke, provided by Patricia Young, a middle school teacher:
Prank: Actually give students a pop-quiz on information they don’t know, with enough familiar terms to make it seem like they should know it.
Extra Credit: Plant a student who seems to know all the answers to further confuse the rest of the class.
Materials: fake test sheets, answer key for the ‘super student’
Grade: 6 – 10
Prank: Pass out student worksheets or other in-class work with upside down text (try FlipText.net) interspersed throughout.
Materials: worksheet copies
Grade: 7 – 12
Prank: Paint the tips of pencils with clear nail polish so they don’t write, and pass them around for a class activity. Give them to several rows at once so students experience the prank at the same time.
Extra Credit: Provide pens in the same container with the caps glued on. When students speak up that their pencils don’t work, suggest they take a pen instead.
Materials: pencils, clear nail polish, nail polish remover (for afterward), capped pens that don’t work anymore, glue
Grade: 7 – 12
Prank: Hide a cell phone with a ‘mosquito’ ringtone (which adults can’t hear, but kids can) in the ceiling tiles or elsewhere in the room. Have an accomplice call the phone repeatedly during class. Be prepared for a distracted class period as students try to subtly figure out whose phone it is without you noticing.
Extra Credit: Shock students by acting like you can hear the tone!
Materials Needed: cell phone with downloaded mosquito ringtone, accomplice
vrivera, “April Fools Day”, TheTeachersCorner
Teresa Opdycke, “The Mosquitotone: A Hot New Ringtone”, Associated Content