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April Fool's Day ESL Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

April Fool's Day is a fun tradition in the United States, but not all ESL students will be familiar with it. With this lesson plan, higher-level ESL students will learn about this holiday, and practice appropriately celebrating it.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand the tradition of April Fool's Day
  • Be able to use the language associated with this holiday
  • Plan and execute an appropriate April Fool's Day prank


30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Vocabulary and Phrases

  • April Fool's Day
  • Practical joke
  • Prank


  • Calendar
  • Paper and writing utensils


Note: This lesson is better suited for intermediate to advanced students.

  • Begin class by telling the students that there is a pop quiz worth 10% of their grade. Then tell them you were joking, pulling a prank on them. Ask them:
    • What is a prank/practical joke?
    • Did they fall for your prank? Why or why not?
  • Get out a calendar and ask students to list off all the holidays they know of in the United States. Mark them on the calendar, and ask students why each holiday is celebrated.
  • Explain to students that Americans celebrate a very unique holiday on the 1st of April, known as April Fool's Day. Explain that the point of April Fool's Day is not to honor national history, religious events, or family members, but is a national day of practical jokes.
    • Remind students that practical jokes are meant to be lighthearted and good-humored, not malicious or deceitful.
  • Class discussion:
    • What do students think of April Fool's Day?
    • What is the point of celebrating a holiday like April Fool's Day?
    • If the students are not from the United States, then do they have any traditions in their cultures of origin that are similar to April Fool's Day?
    • What is a prank, and what are the elements of a good prank?
    • Note: Depending on the class, you may have to explain American concepts of a prank and socially acceptable bounds. If you can, integrate a simple example like telling them that there is free gum under their chairs.


  • Have two students come to the front of the class to demonstrate the April Fool's Day custom. Have the class quickly brainstorm a simple prank. Explain that when the prankster has completed their prank, they shout ''April Fool's Day''! Ask the two volunteers to act out the prank (with one person being the prankster and one the victim), being as comically over-exaggerated as possible.

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