Friday, April 3, 2015

Le Poisson d'avril!

Bonjour tout le monde!  I hope you're all having a great school year!  Today is the first day of my spring break, and I'm really looking forward to some rest and relaxation, and some time to catch up on my blogging :).  And it looks like spring is finally arriving here in Michigan!  I feel invigorated already!

I've been teaching for a number of years, but for some reason I've never included Le Poisson d'avril (the French equivalent of April Fool's) activities in my classes.  I tried it for the first time this week, and was happy with how it went.  I explained the French tradition of taping paper fish on the backs of others without their knowledge and then yelling "Poisson d'avril" when the prank has been discovered.  My classroom mannequin, Jacques, was decked out with fish in order to draw attention to the activity.

The paper fish are traditionally taped on one's back, but I put them on the front here so that students could see them.
 I gave students about ten minutes to cut out their own paper fish and to write "Poisson d'avril" on each one.  Then I explained that we'd be having a Poisson d'avril competition on April 1st.  Students were instructed to try and tape their fish on the backs of others before school, during lunch, or after school that day.  I made this rule because I didn't want the activity to be a disruption in other classes. I also sent an email to all of the faculty members to explain this.  Students were told that if I heard from any other teachers that they were being disruptive, they would be disqualified from the competition.  I also came up with a point system:  

Student or sibling: 10 pts.
French student: 15 pts.
Parent: 20 pts.
Teacher: 50 pts.
French teacher: 100 pts.

To verify, students were asked to take a photo of the fish on the person's back and then email it to me.  I was really wondering how this would all go, since I can think of a million ways it could have been disastrous.  I'm happy to report that my students really had a ball, and it was just good, clean fun!  Here are some of the photos they sent me.

I love the look on her face...she has no idea yet that she has a fish on her back :).
More classroom decorations.  I found these on Pinterest.  Aren't they cute?
This is our high school counselor...she doesn't know she has a fish on her back yet :).
The students seemed to especially enjoy trying to tag their teachers.  This is a history teacher who loves to pull pranks.  I can't believe anyone was able to get him!  He was busy that day trying to scare students with a plastic spider dangling from a thread attached to a long colleagues are awesome!
This is a music teacher.  My colleagues were very good sports about it all!
More fish for my classroom!  I made these from scraps of wrapping paper and some card stock.
Ha ha ha!  Poisson d'avril!

The next day, the student with the most points in each class was awarded a French prize.  I gave them each a bottle of Orangina and a Toblerone chocolate bar.  Students were required to cut out the paper fish, but they were not required to participate in the competition.  It was successful for many reasons:

It got French outside of the classroom (promoting your program!)
It got students to participate in a cultural activity
Students learned about French products through the prizes that were awarded
It was fun!

Happy Spring.  P.S. No one was able to tag the French teacher!  Huzzah!


  1. Great post and amazing idea! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Bonjour! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the idea. :) Renée



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