April Fool’s Day ESL Lesson
April Fool’s Day
Discuss these questions in groups
- Have you heard of April Fool’s Day?
- What is a fool?
- What do you think the day is about?
Match each word or phrase to the correct definition. There is a choice of two for each word.
April Fools’ Day, celebrated every 1 st of April is a non-official but widely popular holiday celebrated in many countries where people can play friendly practical jokes on one another or set up elaborate tricks and hoaxes. April Fools’ Day is widely celebrated in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and most of Europe.
The first recorded mention of April Fools’ Day can be found in the 1392 classic The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer when readers misunderstood his line ‘thirty-two days after March’ which meant may 2 and interpreted it as ‘March 32’ or April 1. The most popular origin of the holiday goes back to the middle ages when New Year’s Day was celebrated on April 1. The Edict of Roussillon changed the New Year’s Day celebration to January 1 but many still associated April 1 with the New Year. Those who complied with the edict considered those who celebrated on April as April fools.
The day is lightheartedly celebrated by everyone and victims of practical jokes would laugh when they realize the date. Practical jokes, tricks and hoaxes are done by individuals, groups and even mass media. Fake, outlandish but sometimes convincing stories would be newscast on TV and published by newspapers and websites to an unsuspecting public who are often amused when they realize the date.
Decide if the statements are true or false.
- April Fool’s Day arose from a mistake in literature.
- Is a holiday celebrated throughout the world.
- The public always enjoy the fake news reports on this day.
- April Fool’s Day was originally New Year’s Day.
Tell your partner about a time when someone played a trick on you or you played a trick on someone else.
‘set up elaborate tricks and hoaxes’
Look at the phrase taken from the text above. It contains a phrasal verb, where is it?
Phrasal Verbs with ‘set’
Match the phrasal verb with the definition.
|Set offSet upSet downSet upon||To trap someone either in a joke or a crimeTo start to attackTo identify rules or place something on a surface (common in the US)To begin a journey|
Fill in the gaps with the correct phrasal verb.
- The gang _______ him in the alleyway
- We _____ town before lunch.
- Although Franco Varini was in prison for murder, he always claimed he had been ______.
- I _____ the television on the table because it was so heavy.
Formal and Informal Language
What makes a text a formal or informal? Complete the table below.
|Use of the passive||Regular use of phrasal verbs|
Look at the text above, is it formal or informal? Use the table above to help you and underline examples of what makes the text formal or informal.
Look at the type of texts below and decide whether they should be written formally informally.
- A letter to your parents
- A letter of complaint to a shop or service
- A cover letter for a job
- An article for a student newspaper
- An email to your friend
Writing: A Letter of Complaint
Write a letter of complaint to the principal of your school about an April Fool’s trick that caused damage in the school.
Google Orson Welles and the War of the Worlds.
What is this?
How is it connected with this lesson?
What made it such a successful hoax?