Enjoy the silliest day of the year with these April Fools’ Day pranks for teachers to play on students!
April Fools’ Day holds a special place in my heart, because on this day nearly 20 years ago, my husband (boyfriend at the time) hopped into my classroom dressed as the Easter Bunny and got down on his knee to propose marriage. He is quite the prankster, but lucky for me, it wasn’t a joke on that occasion. My students sure did think it was silly, though!
Truth be told, it doesn’t take a whole lot to make me laugh, and I have always enjoyed a good hard belly-laugh with my students. I think laughter has an important part in the classroom, especially when doing it together.
Whether you consider yourself a bit of a trickster or not, April Fools’ Day can be a lot of fun with perfectly timed jokes and silly tasks to keep your students engaged and on their toes all day long.
If you are wanting a little inspiration for this year’s April Fools’ Day, then you are in the right place!
Get others involved
One way to get the most bang for your buck on April Fools’ Day is to include as many other teachers as possible. This may mean doing the same trick as other teachers to see who gets the best results, doing a challenge (like #5 on my list) and seeing which teacher is most successful, having an award for the best prank, etc.
Teachers need to have a little fun, and April Fools’ Day can be the perfect catalyst for teachers to make some silly memorable moments, but these tricks and pranks are even more fun if you do them with others!
I know this may go without saying, but make sure the results of your prank are harmless. You never want to embarrass a student or colleague or put them in an awkward situation. Aim for jokes and tricks that are ‘self-imposed’ or allow students to enjoy the prank as a group.
Embarrass yourself all you want, but try not to put any individual person on the spot.
Don’t be afraid to keep ’em small!
Sometimes we automatically think we need to go for a big prank for it to be effective, but a series of small pranks can add up, and the result is students who are on their toes (and a little suspicious) all day long.
Throw in some honest work!
It can be easy to let April Fools’ take over the whole day, but if there is a trick in every part of the day, students will most definitely catch on, so it is best to intersperse some regular assignments in with all the extra stuff. For example, you can have students work on a few of these April Brainteasers before you hand them the April Fools’ Day “Test” Prank (I talk about this more in #2 below). After the brainteasers, the “Test” will just seem like another activity…but (spoiler alert) it’s not!!!
5 April Fools’ Day Pranks for Teachers to Play on Students!
I have compiled a list of 5 April Fools’ Day pranks for teachers to play on students throughout the day. These pranks are all appropriate for upper elementary-aged students and will be varied enough so that you can drop a few in throughout the day!
#1 | The Backwards Desk
This one works well if your student desks have chairs that are not attached. Before the students arrive, turn some (or all!) of the desks backwards. Place each chair in its regular position, facing forward, pushed into the backwards desk. See how long it takes for them to realize that the opening is on the wrong side. Usually this happens when they try to reach inside (haha).
#2 | A Silly Test
One easy way to spread a little April Fools’ cheer this year is to give students a special April Fools’ Day assignment using my FREE April Fools’ Day “Test” Prank Download (see below)!
Now depending on how good your students are at following directions, they may be able to save themselves a little bit of time on this assignment, but for those students who aren’t the greatest at reading directions…let’s just say they may find themselves doing some odd tasks! Be sure to download the freebie to get all the details!
Join the Undercover Classroom email community and receive the April Fools' Day "Test" Prank as an instant download!
#3 | “Brownies”
This one is a classic, but word spreads fast, so it’s usually only possible to pull off this prank every few years. Bake a tray of brownies for your students. Hide that tray in a cabinet and prepare another special tray that is filled with brown letter “E”s. Cover it with tin foil. Tell your students that you brought them a special treat… brown “E”s. Have the kids wash their hands and pass out some napkins. Then, dramatically pass out the brown letter “E”s on their napkins. When disappointment sets in, pass out the real brownies.
#4 | Math Gone Wrong!
Play around with your math teaching by either teaching your students an odd new math concept with ridiculous rules, or by purposefully stating only incorrect answers during the lesson. Keep going until a student calls you out.
Well, I guess that’s it, five ideas for a little April Fools’ fun!
We only shared 4 ideas not 5, so I guess we owe you one more…and this one can be a lot of fun if you like to be super sneaky!
#5 | Sticky Note Challenge
Get a package of the small sticky notes, and over the course of a lesson, leave as many sticky notes on students and their stuff as possible without them knowing. Before you start the challenge, put a number on the board where the students will be able to see it that represents your goal. Once someone says something about the sticky notes, stop the class and announce that this was an April Fools’ prank and tell them to count the number of sticky notes on them and their belongings. If you got more than your goal number, give them a treat, but if you got less than your goal number, give them two treats!
I sincerely wish you all a happy April Fools’ Day, full of fun and hope that you have gained at least a few ideas for some April Fools’ Day pranks for teachers to play on students! I strongly suggest that you share your favorite ideas with some of the other teachers in your building and have a little friendly competition to see who is most successful at pulling off these pranks.
Now don’t forget that April Fools’ Day is simply the kickoff to April and there is so much more fun to be had over the course of the month, so if you’re looking for a little inspiration on things to do the rest of the month, check out this post and this post which include some additional activities to try this April!