It's April Fools Day!! This is a perfect opportunity to analyze the how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning of this day, compare and contrast the crazy media subjects, then write an opinion about the whole experience.
I say very little when they enter. Written on the board when they come into the classroom on April 1st: Warm Up Assignment (March 32nd as Date)
What's more appealing-
the ability to grow unique crops, or
discovering rare wildlife?
You become equally famous and
wealthy with either choice you make.
Write 1/2 to one page supporting your choice.
This writing assignment looks a little odd, but raises no suspicion, and I encourage them to begin writing immediately. Writing essays (though topic seems odd) Limiting any discussion about April Fools Day is key so the upcoming videos aren't questioned, absurd as they are!
In this next part of the lesson, I show the students two videos that are April Fools Jokes from the past. The first is a black and white, seemingly authentic, Swiss Spaghetti Harvest from 1957. The second, Penguins Can Fly from 2008.
I haven't said a word about April Fool's Day, and present this as a typical ELA lesson about compare and contrasting two things using RL.5.9.
They sit back and I begin the first video Watching Spaghetti Grow on Trees. They appear suprised, but no one contradicts it!
Next up Can Penguins Fly?! This is endearing, and the kids make "Awww" comments, etc.
After they watch, I let them in on the April Fools Joke. Lots of laughter and chatter as the truth comes out. I quickly group them into three categories: Fell for Spaghetti Growing in Trees and/or Fell for Flying Penguins and three fabulous kids who didn't give it away (Didn't Believe Either April Fools Video). I next tell them to complete a Double Bubble Thinking Map comparing and contrasting the two videos.
We discuss the unofficial holiday of April Fools Day, and I ask how many kids were fooled by their parents this morning, or a friend on the way to school! A lively discussion takes place. After a few have been shared (Reading his essay and April Fools response) they get out a 3 x 5 card to write a joke; think of a past favorite; or one they fooled people with (April Fools Day 3 x 5).
What a joyous way to begin the day! (Original Essay and April Fools Joke Addition)