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Backwards Day




  • All Subjects


  • Pre K
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Plan a "Backwards Day" on April Fool's Day, as a Halloween alternative, for an end-of-state-testing reward, or just for fun.



  • have creative fun by doing things in a uniquely backwards way.
  • enjoy this little twist on learning across the curriculum.


Backwards Day, backward, Halloween, April Fool, testing

Materials Needed

  • Gather materials based on the activities you choose.

Lesson Plan

If you're looking for a fun idea -- for April Fool's Day, as a Halloween alternative, or to use as a reward for students who have worked hard on a project or state tests -- why not consider planning a Backwards Day? Here are some simple ideas for making Backwards Day a fun day of learning

Invite students and teachers to wear their clothes backwards or inside out.

Read your "end-of-the day" announcements first thing in the morning. Hold "morning exercises" last thing in the day.

Have recess in the afternoon instead of the morning.

Do lessons in the reverse order of your typical day. For example, do science first thing in the morning and do your morning icebreaker activity just before the final bell.

Call students by their last names instead of their first names. Or give each student a "Hello, My Name Is" nametag. Have them write their name backwards on the nametag. Refer to one another all day as your backwards names.

If you can arrange it, watch a short cartoon backwards.

Plan relay races in which students race backwards.

Read a book backwards. Start with the last page and read toward the front of the book. This will be especially funny to students if you read a book with which they are familiar. A Dr. Seuss book or a fairy tale -- such as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" -- should work well.

Do like Johnny Carson did in his "Carnac the Magnificent" routines. Give students the answers to some riddle questions and see if they can come up with the correct questions.

Have a contest: Who can recite the alphabet backwards fastest?

Read Shel Silverstein's poem "Backward Bill" (A Light in the Attic, page 40).

Bring in a large mirror. Have students practice writing their names or words so they can be read when viewed in the mirror. Older students might write "secret messages."

Turn a lot of things in the classroom "backward" from the way they usually are. (You might make changes as obvious as turning your desk around to changes as subtle as turning the letter R backwards on a bulletin board headline.) Challenge students, or pairs of students, to a scavenger hunt in which they find as many backward things as they can. Award a prize to the person(s) who finds the most backward things.

Allow students to sit backwards in their chairs, or teach from the back of the classroom instead of the front.

Have the cafeteria serve breakfast foods for lunch.

When it's time to line up, let the person at the end of the line go first.

Have students write answers on the back of their printable work sheets.

Students might eat dessert before they eat their lunches.

Sing a round song -- like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" -- backwards.

Do an Opposites Crossword Puzzle or one of these other opposites activities from

If you teach older students, have them be the teachers on Backwards Day. You be the student!

Tape drawing paper underneath the tables in your classroom or cafeteria. Have students lay on the floor and draw on the paper.

Share Mary Ann Hoberman's poem, "Backwards Town" (A Llama Who Had No Pajama, page 45).

Create a special "best work" bulletin board to amuse students -- but hang the work upside-down.

Read a fun book such as Spend a Day in Backwards Bay (Scholastic paperback, 2002).

Challenge older students to find in the dictionary as many palindrome words as they can. A palindrome word is a word that is spelled the same frontward and backward. For example: pop, toot, deed, refer

Have students send a Backwards Day e-card to their parents.

At the end of the day, have students write a story, or reflect in the journals, about all the funny things they saw on Backwards Day.


Well, did they have fun? Did they learn?

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

See more Lesson Plans of the Day in our Lesson Plan of the Day Archive. (There you can search for lessons by subject too.)

See more Special Themes and Holiday Lessons too.

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Copyright© 2010 Education World

Originally published 03/17/2006
Last updated 07/25/2011