Friday, 1 April 2011

Only Joking

Read all the questions before taking this test.

Cast your mind back to the days when you turned over exam papers at school.  Did you follow the above instruction? 

I didn’t.  I don’t think anyone else did either.  What was the point?  The exams were always in exactly the same format.  There were never any trick questions.  You just got started with question one.

Today, my teacher and I used this to pull an easy April Fool on our terminale class.  I created a double-sided test paper full of ridiculous questions with the instruction to read it all carefully before starting.  The last question ran, in English, “you don’t have to answer any questions on this test, it’s an April Fools’ Day joke.  Put your hand up, say you’ve finished and go next door.”  I went next door and waited.

The first girl turned up almost immediately.  She arrived so soon I was a bit concerned that they were all going to see through it.  I asked her whether the others were writing.  She nodded.  Another girl and a boy came in soon after.  He shook his head at me.  “That’s not funny,” he said.

The others began to turn up in drips and drabs.  I had them sit in the order they came in, while I sat there looking smug and revelling in my own cleverness.

After about fifteen minutes, they’d all come in.  I talked to them a bit about April Fools’ Day and what people do in England.  I mentioned some of the classic hoaxes such as the Panorama spaghetti trees and Sir Patrick Moore’s low gravity.  We then talked about some popular jokes such as “knock knock” and “an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman” (apparently in France it’s the Belgians who are the butt of the joke).  They told me the French call 1st April “poisson d’avril”.  Other bloggers have covered what children mostly do here and here. 

I rounded off the lesson with a couple of videos starring Vicky Pollard and Del Boy.  I wanted to show others such as Fork Handles or Peep Show, but my internet’s so slow that anything longer than two minutes isn’t really doable.

I hope most of them saw the funny side.  They appreciated the sketches, but I think some of them would have been quite happy to wipe the smile off my face.  At the moment though, as Gap Yah guy would say, it’s 1-0. 

1 comment:

  1. You're so ornery! My students always hated that pseudo-test...but they usually ended up laughing. Sometimes, I'd have kiddos who had taken it before. They'd smirk at their classmates while sitting quietly, waiting for the mass realization. Always a treat!

    I do love Gap Yah guy. The Unexpected Items are great!