Two Truths and a Lie

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10 thoughts on “Two Truths and a Lie”

  1. Thanks to Mike Coxon. I completely ditched my lesson plan for the day and went on this activity. One of the students’ reflection: I really liked this activity because it was fun. We learned new words, learned about each other and the teacher. We also got to use those question words!

  2. Wow! This is the beauty of our PLC community!
    I originally read about 2 truths and a lie activity when Bob Patrick shared it last year. This year I was trying to make Bryce’s Persona Especial take off an fly but I realized the input was not very compelling because in this small school all the kids already knew each other.
    2 truths and a lie seemed like a more advance activity because it played on kids knowing each other at least a little bit. Also I think this is a fitting game for non-beginners because of the output-ish feel it could have in the wrong hands. The output for me even with level was guided.
    I did this activity yesterday after video chatting with the Hermanator. He reminded/inspired me to not worry about assessments and curriculum maps and just provide input. I did 2 truths and a Lie all day yesterday and later shared it on Facebook.
    Our community is awesome because all the connectedness travels around the world and into classrooms all over the place. That is pretty AWESOME if you ask me!
    Here is what I shared yesterday.

    1. For my beginning class, I only used “was at”, “saw” and “ate”. I told them not to use any new words when they wrote their 3 details. The questions words they used to ask questions blew my mind away although they did use posters all around my room a lot, but they were totally communicating! It was awesome!!

    2. The POWER of community! This really is special. You take a teaching approach and let teachers share within a positive/supportive community and you get an abundance of creativity! What other academic subject has what we have on moreTPRS and to a greater extent on this blog?!
      It was GREAT to talk to Mike! For 2-3 years we have been communicating online, but had never talked. It really reinvigorated me! I encourage anyone without TPRS teaching school/district colleagues to find someone to video chat with!

  3. Can you give examples of some of the questions students asked? I’m having a hard time imagining how this would work with my beginners. Like, if the student says I was at the movies, I ate a hamburger, I saw Johnny Depp….what are the questions people would ask? Things like, With whom did you eat the hamburger, where did you see Johnny Depp….stuff like that?

    1. Angie,
      The beauty is that the students will come up with questions….it probably does not come easy with beginners. Like I mentioned Persona Especial is more appropriate for beginners but Linda Li mentioned she did this with beginners.
      What Ben mentions in his description was that he to support, clarify, and he used the word MODIFY. I think this is completely appropriate for this type of activity. I too did some MODIFICATION so that students were being exposed to grammatically accurate language.
      The question words come in handy for students.
      One detail of a student was “I have a Swegway.” Swegway is like an electric skateboard in this case.
      questions were:
      what color is the swegway?
      where did you buy the swegway
      when did you buy the swegway
      who gave you the swegway?
      how much was the swegway?
      Remember there are 3 details and in my case we only had 12 questions per “hot seat” student. They moved on to basic questions about the other 2 details.
      As time goes on the discussions will grow into more but I was happy that kids were empowered to have guided discussions in the format of the game. Hot seat students also want to blurt and give more explanation in English and I would occasionally have to control that.

  4. Strategy #20 – Two Truths and a Lie:
    Here Sabrina has provided another excellent variation on Jody’s Special Chair technique. Like the Star of the Week, it is based on Robert Harrell’s sentence frames.
    Sabrina shares:
    “I ask my students:
    1. to write (in English for my beginners and French or English for my higher levels; please note I give them the choice) two truths and a lie about what they did during break.
    2. I collect all the papers and one comes up to sit in the Star of the Week chair. (I no longer have desks in my class, just chairs.)
    3. I read each of their three sentences out loud in French, modifying them as needed. If a word seems unfamiliar I use Point and Pause to clarify. Sometimes I write their entire sentence out to make sure we all agree on what is being said.
    4. I ask the students to decide which one is the lie by showing me with their fingers. Is it sentence #1, #2 or #3?
    5. I turn back to my Star and ask them: “Did you really go to Las Vegas during break? Did you really go bungee jumping?” etc.
    “On the board I had prewritten vocabulary (including any high frequency verbs that I had predicted might come up). Prewritten vocabulary was mensonge (lie), vérité (truth), est allé(e) went, a fait (did), a vu (saw), a joué ( played), a mangé (ate), a reçu (received, got).
    “Then if something came up on their papers that was interesting I just added it onto the board with translation. An example of that would be a student who wrote that he drove a ‘67 Dodge Challenger so I went and wrote “a conduit” (drove). I also asked the kids on the chair details about what they got, or saw or did to get more reps.
    “Most students get perfect scores on the quizzes. They stay engaged because the discussion is about them. They understand because they have all the support they need (visual, gestures and repetitions).”
    Carol Hill shares how her students responded to this activity:
    “Really, with very little direct grammar explanation my students were giving me French sentences using words I thought they did not know. A lot of these kids have gone from zero French in French 1 to a pretty amazing grasp of the language. It’s good to remember when I think I have not done enough with them. When I ask them which sentence sounds right, they always pick the right one.”
    Jeffery Brickler suggests a variation on Sabrina’s idea that gives multiple reps on 1st, 2nd and 3rd person forms while keeping the students attention where it should be – on the meaning and not on the form of what was being said:
    “I collected the papers and, instead of putting someone in the interview chair, I told the students that we would first try to guess who it was and then what their lie is. This allowed me to get a ton more reps on 1st person and 3rd person forms.
    “I read their statements aloud in the 1st person so that they could hear it. Then I asked, “Who did x or y?” The kids guessed. I then turned to the person and used the 2nd person form. Sometimes, that student (who wasn’t the right one) would say yes to the statement because he/she actually did that activity. Then I asked him/her the next thing until we figured out it was/wasn’t him/her. This kept going until we found the student. It could have taken guessing 4-5 students with all those reps before we found the correct person. It was great and with every wrong answer the excitement built. I got tons of reps on lots of forms.
    Then after we established who wrote the paper, I then asked the students which one was the lie. I read the statements again. They picked one and I asked the student if it was true, all the while repeating the statement with different verb endings. The student would then say yes/no and I would ask the students to guess again. This process would keep going until we finally determined what the lie was. The time flew by. The kids were really focused. I give this activity two thumbs up.”
    James Hosler adds succinctly:
    “Jeffery’s idea of asking whose paper it is (before asking what the lie is) is really, really good.”
    John Bracy reports on Two Truths and a Lie:
    “I just used this activity with my 8th graders this morning (first two blocks of the day after Thanksgiving break). The kids really appreciated the activity and I was able to sneak in a ton of reps of some really high frequency verb forms. I forgot the step of having them guess with their fingers which answer was a lie, so I ended up inviting too much English into the activity. I have a second shot with my 7th graders today to include that aspect. Thank you so much for creating my new post vacation go-to activity!”
    Follow up Comments from Sabrina on Two Truths and a Lie
    “The key is to not do it too often, as with any other CI activity, or it gets boring to them. I have mixed levels (1/2 combined and 3/4 combined). This is a great way to practice all kinds of verbs in past tense (mostly all high frequency verbs) and it is very compelling because the students supply the information.
    “For my French 3/4, I spice it up a little. I ask and write on the board with translation first (although now they don’t need it anymore):
    What did you want to do that you did?” (Qu’est-ce que tu voulais faire, que tu as fait?) and “What did you want to do that you didn’t do?” (Qu’est-ce que tu voulais faire que tu n’as pas fait?). I still ask for two truths and a lie. By now, my French 3/4 totally hear, recognize and sometimes use correctly imperfect versus passé composé. They don’t know it of course but I do, and it makes me smile.”
    This last point by Sabrina is noteworthy. The result of comprehension based instruction is that the students know what things mean in the target language, but they can’t necessarily label them. In traditional teaching, they can label them, but they don’t know what they mean when they hear them.
    Why? Because when we teach to the unconscious mind as we do in CI instruction, we teach for meaning, but when traditional teachers teach to the conscious mind, they don’t teach for meaning, they teach for recognition/learning of form, for tests.

    1. I also read somewhere recently (maybe on Facebook) a twist to this 2 Truths 1 Lie in which 3 students are sitting in front of the room. The teacher has facts written about each student. The teacher says one fact and each student has to pretend the fact is about him/her. The rest of the class is asking questions and trying to figure out the 1 student who is speaking the truth and eliminate the liars. In a class less ready for output, then the teacher could ask all the questions and differentiate the questions, although this will involve less the rest of the class who is just watching. You’d have to think of a way to get the rest of the class participating. Of course, in a school where everyone knows everyone, you’d have to solicit little-known facts about the students. Sounds fun and would encourage a lot of that creativity we need for good TPRS!
      I think the MOST important thing a FL teacher can do is provide our students with an “authentic” (read: meaningful and real) context that intrinsically motivates students to want to communicate. They genuinely want to communicate (comprehend & produce) messages in the L2. TPRS gives us a meaningful context, but many other games and activities can do the same. Task-based language teaching claims to provide this genuine context, but TPRS beats all of those ‘tasks.’ In TPRS, the ‘task’ is to create a story. Self-labeled “communicative teachers” use a lot of role-playing, which feels so fake, forced, and causes a lot of student anxiety – not an authentic context!

  5. You can, obviously, do more than three statements – especially with students in years three and four. On Saturday, COACH (a group of language teachers with whom I work) presented a workshop for Student Teachers and Students in the Education program. One of our presenters did “Truth or Lie” with about a dozen statements.
    Students create two columns on their paper. They label one column “Truth” and one column “Lie”. As the teacher makes a statement, students write just enough of the statement to be able to say it back. After the teacher has made all of the statements, students repeat a statement and state if they think it is true or a lie. The teacher confirms or denies the guess and uses this as an opportunity to expand upon the statement.
    For example, one of the statements was, “I have eaten dinner with famous people.” It was a true statement, so the presenter explained that her brother works for a company that entertains famous people, and she has been invited on some occasions. Another statement was, “I have visited Machu Picchu.” This statement was false, but the presenter talked about wanting to visit Machu Picchu, what she would do there, and why she wants to visit.
    If a student identifies a lie (and what is false about it), the student receives a prize. For example, one statement was, “I was born in Wisconsin.” A participant said, “That’s a lie. You were born in Indiana.”
    Workshops ….
    Speaking of workshops, I highly recommend that those of you who are involved in planning workshops and conferences seek out Student Teachers and Students who are in the credential program. These people are the future of our profession, and it provides them and the profession a real benefit to be able to attend. COACH does the following:
    – Student Teachers, Students, and First-Year Teachers receive a significant discount off the price of the workshop
    – Student Teachers can apply for a “working scholarship”; in exchange for helping set up, keep things in order, and take down, one or two can attend for free
    – Each fall, we do a workshop specifically for Student Teachers and Students in the credential program. We charge them $30 for a seven-hour workshop that includes a morning snacks and a light lunch. This workshop about breaks even as long since we donate our time. We present students with theory on language acquisition (i.e. the research that supports comprehensible input) and practical suggestions for how to maintain 90%+ target language during class time (e.g. Truth or Lie, Circling, PQA, Story Asking).
    University methods courses often do not include TPRS/TCI (or even TPR), so we are providing an important service to both prospective teachers and their future students by exposing them to a method that is backed by research and gets results. Some of these students are placed with more traditional teachers, unfortunately, but they can see the difference between what happens at our workshops and what goes on in the classroom.

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