For some, April Fools' Day is the scariest day of the year. For others, it’s the most anticipated. For teachers, it’s a chance to give students a taste of their own medicine and play some pranks on them! It’s a totally acceptable and fun way to get a little jokey with students while being creative.
Reassigning seats, doing classroom switches, and planning weird candy pranks are some common tricks teachers pull. This year, let's take a look at some other April Fools' Day jokes that we love for the classroom.
1. Fake Pop Quiz
This one is a classic. Basically, give students a super long pop quiz, and instruct them to read through the entire quiz before doing it. In the last question, make it say something along the lines of, “Don’t answer the questions. Write your name and turn this in.”
2. Assignment Due
For this prank, you’ll need to tap about half the class in advance. Midway through your class, you can “remember” that they had an assignment due. For the students you told in advance, they’ll turn in a fake assignment, leaving the other half of your class totally perplexed! Just make sure not to wait too long before revealing it was a prank. You don't want any of your usual over-achievers totally freaking out.
3. Speak Silently
This is a great remote prank if you're teaching a virtual class, as your students will begin to think something is wrong with your sound or with theirs. Basically, just talk without making any sound. In person, this will go over better with younger students and can be especially funny during story time.
4. Final Exam Answers
This joke was first played by Gabi Martorell, a professor of psychology at Virginia Wesleyan University. Basically, when sending out a homework assignment, “accidentally” include a link that says “Final Exam Answers.” It might even help to send a follow-up email saying, “Please disregard the link in the last email,” to really get your students to click it.
Professor Martorell linked to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” but you can link it to anything! Maybe an early-2000s YouTube video like Charlie the Unicorn is ready for a comeback.
5. Upside-Down Computer (Remote or In-Person)
This is a super fun joke to play on students this year. Even if you cast a screen in the classroom to a SmartBoard or some other device, it’s still totally doable. If you’re in a remote classroom, it’s even easier to do while sharing your screen. Basically, flip your computer screen upside down, and pretend nothing’s wrong when sharing the screen with your students.
Here’s how to flip a computer screen: If it’s a Windows, type CTRL + ALT + Down Arrow. On a Mac, go to System Preferences and hold down Command + Option while clicking on Display. There should be a new field for “Rotation” and then click the 180 option. Beware, it may take a few tries to get the “Rotation” field to show up!
6. Backward Classroom
This joke can only be done in person. Before the beginning of the day, flip everyone’s desks to face the back of the classroom! That’s it! Then, all you have to do is walk in and start teaching at the front of the room like normal. Little kids would get a kick out of this one!
7. Paper Props
This is another April Fools' Day joke that will surely receive some giggles. Basically, make a bunch of paper versions of classroom items. For example, instead of real scissors, draw scissors and cut them out of paper. You can take this one really far and replace crayons, colored pencils, books, and more with paper versions of the objects. It’s a bit creepy and very funny!
8. The No-Prank Prank
Some of us don’t have time to come up with and plan elaborate schemes for April Fools' Day. So instead, hype it up with your students and talk about the upcoming April Fools' Day a bunch to keep them on the edge of their seats. Then, when April Fools' Day finally arrives, you can watch them nervously wait for a joke that’s never coming.
9. The Robert California List
While many gave up watching The Office after Michael Scott's departure, there are still some great scenes in the last couple of seasons. Plus, what better television show to find pranks in than The Office, which is full of pranks between Jim and Dwight that range from a Pavlov’s dog joke to cooking items into meatballs?
In one episode, the new CEO, Robert California (James Spader), has a random list with the names of everyone in the office in two columns. Andy finds the list, and the entire office tries to figure out what it means. To translate this to the classroom, simply put all your students’ names into two columns at random, and "accidentally" show them the list. They’ll be wondering what it means for the entire class.
10. The Fake Spelling Test
This one is super cute. Give a spelling test of made-up words, and then, read aloud the correct answers that can have any number of silent letters. Teacher Joey Dee pulled this one off in 2017 and it’s hilarious.
Bonus April Fools' Joke: A Joke for Students to Play on Teachers
This is a great joke for students to play on the unsuspecting teacher. Basically, one student will ask to go to the bathroom. When the teacher says yes, all the students should stand up together at the same time and walk out into the hall. The teacher will have no idea what's going on!
Happy pranking, everybody!