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April Fools' Day in the Classroom | Dear Rashida...

Rashida Ladner-Seward

Rashida Ladner-Seward is Director of Program Support at ExpandED Schools. This blog is part of our bi-weekly advice column where we answer burning questions from program directors, educators and administrators on how to develop and run successful expanded learning programs.

Dear Rashida,

I really like April Fools’ Day. How should I communicate expectations for safe pranking with my students and staff?

-Just Kidding

Dear JK,

Thanks for remembering that safety comes first when celebrating April Fools’ Day. Though most pranks can be lots of fun, some can get out of hand quickly if people are not careful or mindful of how the person on the receiving end might feel. It is important to have conversations with staff and students about acceptable foolery and that you set clear boundaries. For example, as a general rule, pranks involving food, or messing up someone’s hair or clothing should be avoided. Before planning any prank, staff and students should consider the following questions:

  • Is the prank I/we want to do safe?

  • Is the prank I/we want to do kind?

  • What are the possible consequences?          

A safe, kind prank is a fun way to teach students about thoughtful planning. Here are two suggestions for pranks that meet the safe and kind criteria with low to no clean up required:

'Celebrity' Sighting:

Start spreading the word that your program is going to be visited by a VIP (e.g., Beyoncé, Elvis, a representative from the local clown college). Have a staff member dress up as this VIP and make a grand entrance during supper or dismissal time on April 1st. Remind students that every VIP has a bodyguard (perhaps you or another staff member can take on this role) and that all bodies need to be treated respectfully (i.e., don’t throng the VIP!).

Wacky Websites:

Companies like Google, Cottonelle, and PetSmart have a history of producing April Fools’ Day spoof ads containing products that don’t actually exist. Check out some of the top 2015 internet pranks for yourself, and invite your students to invent their own prank products. Students can vote for categories such as “Most Believable,” “Wackiest Idea,” or “This Product Could Actually Be Useful.”  Have fun and be safe!




♦ Have a question? Send it to info@expandedschools.org with “Dear Rashida” in the subject line. Be sure to check back each week for a nugget of wisdom.



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