April Fools' Day, C1 CAE

C1 Listening – Spaghetti Harvest

In times of information overload, it can be challenging to distinguish between real and fake news. Many could argue that fake news made people more sceptical and so a bit harder to prank on April Fools’ Day. Look at some epic April Fools’ pranks and put students’ fake news detectors to the test by spotting fake news amongst real, but slightly bizarre, information.

Just like in the previous post, I decided to focus on C1 students again. However, this time instead of doing another Cambridge exam preparation class, let’s look at an example of a perfect April Fools’ joke created by BBC News. If you can’t afford to step away from the exam preparation syllabus, head to April Fools’ Day-themed C1 speaking and continue with the classes while putting a fun spin on them.

If you can do something a tad different in your class, use this lesson plan on Spaghetti Harvest, a classic April Fools’ joke, its origin and reception by the viewers, told by Michael Peacock – an editor of BBC Panorama. All you need for this lesson is the video Is this the best April Fools’ ever?, a lesson plan and a presentation, available to download at the end of the post.

Since the class is quite heavily packed with listening and reading, I thought that any extra time should be used for speaking. That’s why the lesson starts with a short discussion about the general concept of April Fools’ Day. Ask students if they celebrate this day and the type of pranks that are popular on that day.

Divert the discussion into April Fools’ jokes seen on television. Many TV stations enjoy including some harmless jokes in their news and seeing the viewers’ reactions. Show pictures of three classic April Fools’ pranks and ask students to discuss what they think they could have been about.

Lirpa Loof
Flying penguins

Check the answers and tell the students the truth behind those classic pranks. According to The Telegraph – April Fool’s Day: the best TV pranks, Smell-o-vision (1965) was the newest technology that transferred smells from television straight to people’s homes. Lirpa Loof (1984) was a new species of animal introduced at the London Zoo. Flying Penguins (2008) was a spoof created by the BBC, informing people of supposedly flightless penguins being able to fly and migrating to South America. If you want to find out more about those pranks, or a few other classics, go to the article mentioned above. Use these examples of TV pranks to jog students’ memory about some jokes mentioned in their countries. Discuss if it was much easier to prank people in the past than it is now.


Time for the video mentioned at the beginning of the post. Before watching it, read three questions to check students’ general understanding of the video. Watch Is this the best April Fool’s ever? and answer the questions. Discuss what the prank was about and whether it was successful. The video describes the origins and origins of the BBC News Spaghetti Harvest prank.

Before watching the video again, this time focusing on specific details, go over some of the vocabulary mentioned in the clip. Students look at six words, which include an anchorman, a sellotape and a weevil, and match the words with their definitions. Proceed by reading seven true or false statements about the video. Check the understanding and watch the video once again. After finishing this activity, discuss questions about how easy it is to prank students and how gullible they think they are. Do they think they are good at distinguishing real information from fake one?

In the next activity, students work together and read two news stories. One is an April Fools’ joke, and the other is a story that looks like a prank, but isn’t. There are five sets of pairs of information, for example, a mystery virus that makes black bears friendlier towards people or a Fitbit new Your Mum mode that reminds you to stay healthy and hydrated. The bizarre, but true stories were taken from the BBC’s April Fools’ Day: 10 stories that look like pranks but aren’t. Normally, this part would have taken me quite a long time to prepare, but thanks to ChatGPT, I crafted short fake news / April Fools’ Day jokes in seconds!


Finally, finish this class with a short discussion about the effects of fake news on the way people approach April Fools’ Day jokes. Is there anything that can be done to ensure that a harmless joke won’t turn into the spread of fake news? And, of course, how individuals can determine whether what they see is a joke or fake news.

As you can see, I wanted to change this funny and easy topic and make it into something a bit deeper like a discussion about the spread of fake news. I hope I achieved that and that you will enjoy this class with your C1 students. Click the files below to get the worksheet + teacher’s notes, and the presentation. If you liked the lesson idea but would like to change something, feel free to access the Canva presentation and get creative.

Do you celebrate April Fools’ Day? Why (not)? Are you a prankster, or are you a fool?


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