April Fools' Day is celebrated through most of the western world on April 1 of each year. In the United States, the day is typically celebrated by playing lighthearted practical jokes, such as setting the clock an hour earlier to trick someone into believing they are late. The intent of April Fools' Day is to play small tricks that everyone will find amusing. Mean or cruel pranks are not in keeping with the tradition. Incorporate April Fools' Day into your lesson plan for a little lighthearted learning.
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April Fools' Day lesson plan can explain the history and traditions of the day. The tradition is thought to have originated in the 1600s in France. Originally, the French celebrated the new year on April 1, but in 1562 a new calendar was mandated by the pope, identifying January 1 as the official start of the year. Some people either did not know or refused to observe the change, and still celebrated the day on April 1. Others regarded them as fools and played tricks on them, trying to convince them that various falsehoods were actually true.
Recite examples of the way April Fools' Day is celebrated around the world to lead into a lesson on geography. For example, in France April Fools' Day is referred to as "Poisson d'Avril," or April fish. On April 1, children try to tape paper fish on other people's backs without them noticing. Once the person realises they have been tagged, everyone around him shouts "Poisson d'Avril!"
Hand out crossword puzzles, word searches and Internet scavenger hunts with an April Fools' Day theme. Create your own or use printable options you can find on the Internet.
Gentle pranks can be used successfully as part of a lesson plan. A Utah teacher suggests starting the day with a pop quiz and emphasising the difficulty of the test. The very top of the test instructs students to read the whole paper before beginning the test. The very end of the test informs students that the test is an April Fools' Day prank and congratulates them for following the instructions. They are told to turn over the paper, remain silent and not give away the joke to those who didn't read to the end.
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