When I was teaching second grade, I pulled an epic St. Patrick’s Day prank on my students. While it was a great idea and I would definitely do it again, unfortunately it didn’t go quite as planned…
St. Patrick’s Day Prank
A couple days before St. Patrick’s Day, I had a box delivered to the main office. Addressed to my class of students from my “Uncle Leon” in Ireland, the large box created great anticipation. I sat on my rocking chair to open the package with the class.
“Miss R.! There is a HOLE in the box!!” they shouted.
I had intentionally cut a hole in the corner of the box and had hoped for this reaction.
“Oh no, class! I wonder if everything is still in the package!” I exclaimed.
We opened the package and found a note, but nothing else:
I wanted to wish your class a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I caught a leprechaun for you and sent him to you stateside. Hope your class loves learning from him! Be careful though, he is very tricky!
Love, Uncle Leon
There were GASPS from every direction. The Leprechaun! He is gone! Oh no! A few students eyed me in horror, but I thought it was all in good fun.
The next day the students showed up to a classroom that had been upturned. My whole plan for the escaped leprechaun was to work on editing and revising as well as persuasive writing skills (both third quarter curriculum goals). So, a note from the leprechaun was left on the board, letting the kids know he was responsible for the mess, and that they needed to give him reasons why he should not mess up their room any more if they wanted him to stop.
The kids cleaned up the mess, and then we brainstormed ideas for why the leprechaun should stop creating a mess.
As the kids wrote, I noticed that one of the little girls had her feet crossed atop her chair, but I did think much of it. However, when I went to this girl to help her with her draft, she told her friend (in their native language) to tell me that she was afraid to put her feet down.
“Miss R. She is afraid to put her feet down.” her friend exclaimed.
“But why?” I asked.
“She is afraid of the leprechaun.” he said.
I asked him to help me communicate that leprechauns were make believe and that leprechauns are friendly and happy creatures.
THAT’S WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG.
“I can’t do that, Miss R.”
“Where we come from, the story is that little green men hide under porches and wait to kill people. That’s what she thinks is loose in the room.”
I was horrified. I had no idea of this other folktale, and I wanted my students to feel safe. As soon as lunch came, we called home and explained what had happened. Luckily her mom was able to help me explain to her that the leprechaun was friendly and was most certainly NOT going to hurt her.
On a positive side, my students wrote and revised and wrote and revised more – all without complaining. Their letters at the end of the week were so good that the leprechaun finally stopped wreaking havoc on our classroom and left us with a pot of gold chocolate treats on the 17th to celebrate his departure.
As my oldest son is preparing his leprechaun trap for his school project, I am reminded of my biggest fail of a lesson from my classroom days. (The day I tried to break a coconut to show the class and ended up having to enlist the help of our custodian and a sledgehammer was a close second).
An Epic Leprechaun Trap
My son decided he wanted his leprechaun trap to be automated so that there was no doubt that the trap would go off, even if he was sleeping. We’ve been playing around with Little Bits for our new makerspace at work and we let Bud experiment with them for his contraption.
If you have a little engineer, these snap circuits make for some real creative options. For his trap, he connected the battery to an on-off switch, light (so the Leprechaun could see), and a button that triggers a servo to pull a string taunt – therefore pulling the box down atop the leprechaun.
The hopes are that the leprechaun will follow the rainbow path, accidentally stepping on the (hidden) button and pulling the trap atop himself. Nestled in LEGOs for support, and made with a decorated cardboard bucket from peach picking, his trap is ready to capture some real leprechauns tonight.