by Timothy Tocher
Suggested Grade level(s) 3rd & up
Even in the most innovative classroom, things can be too tied to routine. When your students seem to be in a rut, why not declare an Opposite Day? Provide the answers to math computations and have students come up with the numbers used to arrive at them. Have kids run the bases backward in gym class. Ask them to draw a picture with their non-dominant hand. Encourage them to eat dessert first at lunch. On second thought, they probably do that every day—but you get the idea.
Once your class is in the spirit, suggest a writing activity based on opposites. Use the poem printed below as a starting point. (*Note: This activity can be tweaked for use in any classroom from third grade up. Younger students may need help with some of the poem’s vocabulary.)
The Opposite Day Parade
by Timothy Tocher
Because the day was rainy,
it was easy to persuade
my folks to take me to
the Opposite Day Parade.
The band passed by at twilight
playing Sunrise Serenade.
We liked the music so darn much,
we booed them while they played.
Sleek fire engines followed,
covered in smoke and flame.
I quickly called 119.
Of course, no help came.
Some paramedics raced by,
tearing band-aids off the crowd.
I couldn’t hear their siren
because it blew so loud.
The Boy Scouts never showed up.
I guess they weren’t prepared.
I’d hate to go back next year,
and I hope to see you there.
© Timothy Tocher
Have your students create new lines for the poem. What do the clowns do on Opposite Day? How about the baton twirlers? Some parades feature balloons floating overhead, so what would be an “opposite” way of making that special?
Keep the ideas coming once your students describe the parade. What might people do to celebrate after the parade is over? How would an Opposite Day picnic differ from a standard picnic? How about clothing—who says socks have to be worn on feet and gloves on hands?
And what’s the best part of Opposite Day? If an unenlightened administrator objects to the peals of laughter coming from your room, you can take it as a compliment. It’s Opposite Day!
© 2007 Timothy Tocher
Permission is given for individual school classes to use this lesson and to make as many copies of the lesson as are needed for the students’ use. All other reproduction is prohibited under penalty of law. For use outside individual classes, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in inviting Timothy Tocher to your school, click here!