Have I mentioned how much I love my students? Today, I decided to show them how much...by playing an April Fool's Day joke on them. :)
It was test day in one of my classes. We've been studying the Byzantine and Middle Ages for the last few weeks so I needed to get in the test before Spring Break. Yes, I'm one of the those teachers, cram it all in before break, that's my motto.
So, I decided to make two tests. One "awesome" test (a.k.a. fake) and one legitimate test (on another note, we're going to see how many times I can use the word "test" in this post). The real test was actually pretty hard so I thought if I give them an "awesome" test first, they'll be on their knees thanking me for the real/hard test.
They come in to class, we review for about 10 minutes. Then I have them get out two sheets of paper which is pretty unusual for a History test. It's not like you really need scratch paper or anything. At this point they're kind of making the Scooby Doo noise, Hhhrrrhhh?, but they don't really say much. I have them clear of their desks and them I tell them not to turn the test over until I say. I pass them all out, face down. Here's what the test looked like...
Please write a 1000 word essay on the Byzantine Empire and the Middle Ages including the following terms:
100 Years War
Pepin the Short
Leader of Catholic/Eastern Orthodox Church
Black Death....and about 15 more terms.
I told them they needed to organize the info, write an intro with a solid thesis statement, several body paragraphs and a closing- number their pages, and a few other details.
They didn't say one word. Not a sound. A couple of them had faces like, "You're kidding right? This is an April Fool's Joke, yes?" I told those faces to "Get to work."
They were so serious. Most of them started writing, a few organized. I decided I was going to wait 5 minutes or until someone started crying before I stopped them.
No one cried (to my disappointment) so at the end of 5 minutes, I went to the front of the classroom and said in the most serious voice possible, "I need your attention for a moment. Please stop working...April Fools! This isn't your real test!!!!"
All 15 of them literally yelled a relieved sigh. Some of them were shaking, a few were sweating. I had to turn off the heat and open the window, they were so hot. It was awesome.
It took them at least 5 minutes to calm down before I could give them their real test. And they were pretty happy with the real test....comparatively speaking.
I'll confess that I'm a little nervous about retaliation. I suppose I kind of deserve it. Kind of.