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This is an activity that can be used with all levels in which students have to invent tall tales and try to convince their classmates that they’re true. It is similar to two truths and a lie but the stories have to be at least 5 sentences long and must contain a range of narrative tenses as well as language of cohesion appropriate to the level. Credit to my colleague Peter Rassa for the idea. Download my stories below:
Write three short stories (5 sentences long) about your life or the lives of your family members, one of the stories must be true, the others should be made up but believable. For example:
- My Dad used to work as a doctor in the emergency department of a hospital. One day he was working the night shift when suddenly the police came into the hospital and told the staff that someone very important was about to come in. The police secured the hospital and then Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, arrived. He had broken his arm when he fell off his horse playing polo. My Dad did an x-ray on his arm and helped to cure him. Two weeks later he received a thank you card and an autographed photo from the prince.
- My Granddad was a war hero. In the second world war he was a paratrooper, this meant that he had to jump out of a plane and parachute into enemy territory. In 1944 when the allies landed on the beach in northern France my Granddad parachuted in behind enemy lines and sabotaged Nazi fortifications. He was almost captured several times. He was shot in a big battle in the winter of 1944 and got sent home to recover. He was given a medal of honour after the war.
- When I was at university I used to work as a waiter at the weekends and in the evening to earn extra money. One weekend I was sent to work on a big battleship. We didn’t know what the event was but we had to wear special white suits. We were given silver trays with glasses of champagne. We had to stand on the deck of the ship and serve drinks to the guests. Suddenly everyone stood up and Princess Anne, the queen’s sister walked in. She stopped to speak to some of the workers, I spoke to her and offered her a glass of champagne, when she took it I almost dropped the tray! It was almost a complete disaster!
Split the class into groups of 3, it works best if you have 3 or more groups. Project or print out your three stories, tell students that one of them is true and two are false. Give them a few minutes to read the stories and decide which one is true. Students then guess, award points for correct guesses.
Then tell students that they must write 3 short stories, 1 true and 2 false. Give them 10 minutes to do so. Monitor and help them while they do this, make sure the groups are well separated so that they don’t overhear each other, maybe play some music to mask the sound or consider sending one group to another room.
Students then read their stories out, the other students must guess which story is true. Award points for correct guesses and points to any team whose story convinces another team that it is true. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end.