Want to make this April Fools Day unforgettable for your students?
These two (FREE!) April Fools Day pranks work like magic.
Below are some of my past students’ comments on that day:
This was the best April Fools I’ve ever had!
I love this day!!
Wait till I tell my family!
Kids from middle school and even high school return, saying it was one of their best memories from elementary school! And today you’re getting the goods to pull these off with YOUR kids!
The jokes are all in the spirit of fun. (Mean spirited jokes make me cringe.)
April Fools Day Word Search
Since my fourth graders study the states and capitals of the United States, I do a word search of both. But because kids are quick to catch on, I made it more fool-proof, so to speak, by making it a two-day event.
Here’s how you do it.
On day one, the day before April Fools Day, give them a State Word Search. This one is actually a real word search with all the states right in there. There are loads of false starts, though. In other words, if they are looking for Alabama, they will repeatedly come across “Alabamziz,” “Alaiqic” and “Alabaiens.”
But “Alabama” is actually in there too. So when you give the April Fools Day Capitals Word Search the following day, the false starts don’t tip them off to the fact that this might be a joke.
Day 2 (April Fools day!)
Pass out the second word search. Try to keep a straight face. (That’s the hard part, right?)
They just keep looking and looking. (The similar format from the day before also keeps them from jumping to the conclusion that this is a prank.)
If a kid complains that they can’t find the words, you can be “helpful” by sharing strategies for finding the words, like scanning the puzzle for the first letter of the word. Peek over their shoulder to say, “Try one of the big words, like Sacramento. I can see that one. Search that long words first and the others will probably pop out at you.”
Want to up the ante? Lecture them a bit about growth mindset. “Just because you’re having trouble with something, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Think of strategies you can try. Don’t give up.”
You’ll sense the right moment to shout out “April Fools!” and see their reactions.
(At the end of the day, you can give them copies of both word searches so that they can prank their families. They LOVE this part!)
You can do this virtually as well! While they’re online with you, assign the wordsearch each day online. Then have them use a PDF marking tool like Kami so that they can circle or highlight the words as they’re sitting there with you on the screen.
Faux Spelling Test
Preview the Day
Set the stage for this at the beginning of the day while you’re going over the schedule.
“We have a spelling test for the district of ____ to give to you today. It usually takes 2-3 days to do. All the fourth-grade students are taking it this week.” As these kinds of district-wide assessment happen every now and then, they should be unfazed (and VERY unexcited.)
Preview the Test
Later, when it’s time for the test, you can make it even more legit by going over some ground rules.:
- They should do their best.
- Their work needs to be legible.
- Capitalization and punctuation count.
Explain that it randomly tests lots of words, so they might get a word like, “an” and then the word like “February.” Encourage them to do their best on all the words.
If you want to go full on, you set everyone up with privacy screens, make sure they use the bathrooms first, and then explain the directions. (The directions on the top of the student’s test page are purposely confusing, as such test directions often are!)
There are three pages to the test to make it look truly daunting, but you can just print two back-to-back to save on paper.
Start the Test
As the teacher, you read aloud the word, then the sentence. So for example, “Number one. The. The dog is in the yard.” And so on. At number 12, things get interesting with the word “This.” From then on, the words gradually spell out, “This. is. not. a. real. test. Happy. April. Fools. Day. Have. you. figured. it. out. yet.?” At some point, one or two kids will look up at you quizzically. You can wink at them, and give them the “Sh!” sign so they know that you know they’re in on the joke. You can keep going if kids aren’t catching on, but when you start using silly words like ‘hippopotamus” and “mischievous” they’ll realize something’s up and will figure things out fast.
This is SO much fun! And when they realize it’s fake? Gold.
Want to give them a trick to play on their families? In bright red marker, circled all the words that spell out the joke and wrote a big “F” at the top of the page.
They LOVE this part. “Gramma! I got an F on my test today!” (Just remember to write “Happy April Fools Day” on the hidden side so parents believe their kids when they say it’s a joke.)
This one can be virtual as well! Give parents a heads up and have them print the test out the night or a few days before. Remind kids to have their test papers ready so they can write their answers in the blanks. (You could try it online — however, many programs automatically underline misspelled words, so that might complicate things.)
Your Free April Fools Joke Kits!
April Fools Day Word Search
The Word Search can be found for free on my Teachers Pay Teachers page. (Click the green star by Fitted to 4th — All new products are 50% off for 24 hours, so it pays to follow me!)
April Fools Day Spelling Test
There are two formats for you. The first is a PDF that you can print as is. The second is an editable powerpoint. This is if you want to go the extra mile and write your district name on the test itself.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Tell us in the comments below:
- What will YOU try when you prank your kids this year?
- OR … What was the best prank you ever played? (Or that was played on you?)
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