There is nothing quite like April Fools in an elementary school. I lament on this every year because every year it tends to be painful. As I got ready for work today I tried to decide the best tactic to take with my class-
1) utterly ignore the holiday all together and pray that no one knows what it is
2) dive head first into it and teach them about it myself
3) glare at them if they try to make a joke at all.
Seeing that it was the first day back from break and all we really needed to do was get back into the swing of things I decided to go with #2 and dive head first into the holiday.
I REALLY wanted to go with #1, but I've found in the past that kids with intellectual disabilities don't always understand April Fools Day. When someone decides to make a joke (and it always happens when adults aren't around to explain, either on the bus, at the park by their house, or in the hallways) they get offended and take it personally. Which can end up with them getting into a lot of trouble if they decide to take matters into their own hands and hit the kid who innocently said, "Hey, you have a spider on your shoe!"
SO, even though I personally think April Fools is a horrid day, I decided that teaching them about the day would actually be important. It's a social phenomena that is just a bit hard to wrap your head around.
"There's an elephant behind you!"
"There's a spider on your head!"
"There's a snake under your chair!"
Giggle, giggle, giggle, *long teacher sigh*
We ended up playing a joke on our principals. We wrote a letter telling them that there was an elephant in our classroom and that we needed help getting it out. Hysterical. Have you ever heard of a funnier joke? I know. You'd think that we never laugh in my class the way my kids roared at this joke.
They thought this was just so funny that when it came time to deliver the letter the only thing they could do was point at my principal and say "ELEPHANT!" which really came out as quite rude. Luckily they yelled "April Fools!" before anyone had time to say anything else.
More hysterical laughter.
Thank goodness for administrators willing to play along.
I'm not sure the kids really understood the concept of April Fools, but at least they weren't going to be offended if anyone played an April Fools joke on them, and *hopefully* they'll remember that we only play these jokes once a year.