I love a good classroom and office April Fool’s prank as much as I love a good prank at home. Quite frankly, I love them so much that I don’t understand why we only have one day of the year to celebrate their awesomeness. The last couple of years, my April Fool’s pranks at home have been kind of lame. I need to up my game this year.
However, I did pull off an awesome classroom prank two years ago. I hate that I only thought of it the night before and had little time to throw it together. This was actually my own brainchild and wasn’t a product of Pinterest or magazines for once.
What brings middle school kids together in unity more than their shared dislike of school lunches? Now, I really don’t think most of the lunches at my school are half bad. But I am aware that most thirteen year olds cannot be convinced the lunches are edible – at any school. I decided to use this situation to my advantage.
I printed a school lunch menu from our district’s website and estimated the font size. On my computer, I tried to find a font of similar style and size. I came up with several bogus – and gross sounding – food entrees and a few side items, as well. I typed and printed the items to mirror the way the daily lunches are presented on our regular menu. Had I had the Microsoft Office version which allows PDF files to be edited on my home computer, this job would have been much easier! All I would have had to do was download the menu from our school website, edit the fields as I pleased, and print the file.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have such a program at the time. I had to go the good old-fashioned route and cut my typed information out into tiny little squares which perfectly fit inside the calendar boxes. Then, I glued them onto the paper on various days throughout the month. I made a smooth copy on my scanner/printer. Finished! If you look closely, you can see where the font is not a perfect match and some of the fake entries are a bit crooked, but I figured many of the kids would not notice at first glance. One key, I think is to leave some of the lunches alone. If every single lunch looks crazy, the kids might be tipped off sooner. I’ve noticed the fact that some days menu offer the normal lunches they are used to – pizza, burritos, corndogs, etc. – confused some which allowed them to fall for the prank.
I hung the menu in place of the real one on the back of my classroom door. As luck would have it, not a single student from the morning classes ever went to check out the menu on April Fool’s morning! Hmmpph! Rather than ask a student to go look at the menu (which might have tipped off the prank), I decided to leave it up on the door until the next morning, although I was quite disappointed none of them had noticed my prank on the actual day of April Fool’s.
But on April 2nd? The kids rose to the occasion! In first period, several were standing at the door reading over the menu together before the tardy bell. Hearing the raised sounds of alarm in their voices made my heart soar. Things were looking up! It took less than a minute for most of the 28 or so students to be all a buzz over this travesty of justice.
“Horseradish pudding?! Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. This school is just going to the dogs.”
“I’m calling my – lima bean sandwich?! – mama. Yep, I am callin’ my mama! There is no way I am eating that.”
“I’m telling you – it’s those Obamas. That Michelle Obama can’t stop stickin’ her nose in our lunch business and now our lunches have gotten worse and worse. Look at this! I feel sorry for those daughters of hers. I bet she makes them eat alligator stew and moose nose at home.” (This one had to be my favorite quote of all! I laughed so hard and still remember these quotes like they happened yesterday.)
“Can I go to the office? I need to ask my mom to bring me lunch.”
Oh, my goodness were those kids ever worked up! Of course, my prank had to come to an end after a few minutes as I couldn’t really have kids calling home and reporting these bogus menu items to their parents. I think they actually embraced their real menu for that day as it wasn’t nearly as bad as horseradish pudding.
Many kids in my other morning classes found out about the prank before the morning was up – as I knew they would since middle school kids are not exactly the best secret keepers. However, there were a few more who fell victim to the prank and brought much delight to my morning. I mean the teacher has to have a little fun sometimes, too, right?
And as far as I can see, the kids appreciate a good prank. I mean I did find this in my desk drawer a couple months back when I returned from maternity leave:
Talk about going old school!
The prank went off smoothly today! I wish you could have seen my first period students – about 12 of them – gathered around the door at the beginning and again at the end of class, just griping, griping, griping about the menu. Of course, I can’t post any pictures of my students, but I so wish I could! Hysterical!
One thing I will keep in mind for next time is that I should not alter the April 1st menu. This would allow the afternoon students to still fall for the prank, too. I teach three classes after lunch and if the afternoon kids come to class after lunch knowing good and well that jellied moose nose was not served for lunch, they will automatically suspect the entire menu is bogus.
However, if you start adding crazy things for April 2 and after, even the afternoon kids can still fall for the prank – at least until April 2nd. (However, a few of my seventh period students were stumped by the menu this afternoon, even after knowing that a normal lunch had been served.)
And even the adults were not safe at my middle school today. If you have ever attended or worked at a school, then you know the disturbing affinity teachers have for donuts. We flock to the workroom like mad when we think there are some sweet treats in there.
So many coworkers fell victim today! How my heart swelled with pride when I heard one of the coaches had rushed in with napkin in-hand only to discover my little devious switch-a-roo! Although the crazy menu idea was my own brainstorm, I can’t take credit for inventing the donut prank. I saw it somewhere on the internet over the last few years. Easy and fun!
What is your favorite April Fool’s prank?