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- The Prize: Mark Zuckerberg & His $100 Million Gift to Newark Public Schools (Book Review) - April 10, 2017
- “Active Monitoring” Standardized Tests Is a Joke - April 3, 2017
- 20 April Fools’ Pranks for Educators - March 27, 2017
- Sesame Street’s Julia: Changing the Way We See Autism - March 27, 2017
- Yes, Failure IS An Option - March 22, 2017
- Why Engaging Students with Politics is Worthwhile - March 17, 2017
- Making Learning Extra-Ordinary: A Sarcastic Stab at EduJargon - March 9, 2017
- Teenage Girl Drama: Breaking The Everlasting Gobstopper - March 2, 2017
- The Myth of Teacher Planning Time - February 23, 2017
I love Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but one of his greatest contributions is giving us our first written record of playing pranks on one another come April 1st. With Tax Day just 2 weeks later, standardized testing season right around the corner, and everybody itching for Spring Break, I have some pranks for you to play on one another for April Fools’ Day – some my colleagues and I have already implemented, some found elsewhere on the Internet (with sources credited). April Fools are for everyone – even educators!
To play on fellow staff members:
- Place a sign on the copier with my district’s insignia that stated the machine was now voice-activated. Check in intermittently for laughs.
- Call in sick to your substitute coordinator, and then dress-up as someone else to teach for the day.
- Enter a staff member’s room the evening before, and turn the students’ desks upside down. Bonus points if you go a bit further (Note: don’t damage their stuff).
- When a colleague doesn’t place their computer on lock down, change their desktop backgrounds. Make it your calling card: a standard meme, dogs pooping, a picture of yourself doing something ridiculous.
- If a colleague has a hallway to their room, get several students to help you fill 100 or so Solo cups with water to completely block their passage.
- Stick Googley Eyes on everything in the Family Consumer Science teacher’s fridge. (Buzzfeed)
- Have a set of twins switch classes all day. Bonus if you yourself are a twin. See how many of your colleagues catch on.
- Load someone’s car up with random things, like balloons, packing peanuts, etc. Just don’t use golf balls — they tend to get stuck near the accelerator and brake pedals (and I have colleagues who know from experience). Or hit them hard with sticky notes, saran wrap, or the like.
- Place a pan covered in tin foil that says “free brownies” where all your colleagues go to gather snacks. Fill it with cutouts of the letter “E” in brown construction paper.
- Tie the lid of the staff toilet to a bullhorn. Bonus points if you use a laser circuit for repeated, hands-free functionality of the prank.
To play on students:
- For elementary students, to begin your lesson of the day with your mouth moving but no sound coming out. This REALLY freaks the kids out. (Squarehead)
- Type up a fake email from your principal that says the cafeteria ran out of food. Share it with the stomach-grumbling class before lunch before you begin your instruction. Keep your straight face the whole period.
- Find an old phone and get a student to stage this one with you: when you catch them texting in class again, take out the phone and smash it to bits. Sledgehammer might need principal approval ahead of time. (WeAreTeachers)
- Or make it a musical instrument, like this orchestra teacher.
- Tell the students that their standardized testing has been moved up weeks ahead of time. Create a fake standardized test with one problem or writing prompt. Make it a funny one.
- Play candid camera. Invite a local celebrity, newscaster, the police, or your spouse. Have them jump out of the closet and run out of the room. Act like nothing happened.
- Tell the kids you received a block grant of iPads for all of them — and then handout Eye Pads to everyone. (Buzzfeed)
- Make candied apples out of onions. (Buzzfeed) Note: I can be considered a sarcastic jerk, but this one’s too awful for me to do.
- Create a “cake” made out of a box, a balloon tied to it, and then cover it with whipped cream and sprinkles. Hand a kid a butterknife to cut it. Have paper towels on hand. Buy the custodian a beer the next day. (Buzzfeed)
- If you’re great with technology, make a video of you messing with you in person. Try to outdo this guy; if you can, post it and share it on TER‘s Facebook page!
Some things to keep in mind while implementing or inventing your April Fools’ pranks:
- Nobody should get hurt, ever.
- In fact, nobody should have the chance of getting hurt. Ever.
- This includes hurt feelings.
- You can be funny while being professional.
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want on the front page of the newspaper.
- This shouldn’t impede someone from doing their job – whether it’s students or staff.
- Don’t be afraid to team up and tag-team on the joy – especially with some of your students with a sense of humor.
If there’s any year you’ll get away with April Fools’ pranks, it’s this one. Since April 1st isn’t a school day, you colleagues and students will be unsuspecting victims. Happy pranking!