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Truth and Lies

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Lies have short legs.

Truth and Lies is a simple game which gives students practice making basic statements and also in speaking. It is good for beginner‎ level students.

Step 1

Each student begins by working on their own. They simply write down 3 statements about themself: one is false and two are true. When you explain this to your students try to get them to think of 3 similar sentences with no obvious lie.

For example, this is not good:

  1. My name is Paolo.
  2. I am sixteen years old.
  3. Lady Gaga is my girlfriend.

However, this is much better:

  1. My favourite fast food is McDonalds.
  2. I enjoy listening to Rap music.
  3. Last night I watched Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD.

In other words, since your students will probably know each other quite well the statements should all try to be possible. Of course you could always use this as a “getting to know you” type of activity in the first lesson to let the students (and you) learn about each other.

Step 2

You stand in front of the class and read out your three statements.

  1. I am from Indiana in the USA
  2. My favourite filmstar is Scarlett Johansson
  3. I used to live next door to Barack Obama’s English teacher.

The class now ask you all sorts of questions about your statements to clarify them; here you will tell the truth for the true statements and lie for the false statement.

The students then have to decide which is a lie with a show of hands; you can then reveal the truth.

Step 3

Once you’ve given an example of how it’s done, you can either have the students come up one at a time to give their statements or, with a bigger class, break them into small groups to do the same.

Notes

  • You can include a scoring system if you like (younger children will enjoy competing to become the class “detective” here).
  • With young beginners you might want to have them produce just a single statement, either true or false.
  • The content of the statements can be restricted into certain subjects, e.g. statements about work, about family relations, about travel, about time, etc.

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