Getting to Know Each Other: A Lesson Plan for “Liar Liar”

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by Edward Pye

[This article was first printed in the Fall 2015 issue of TEAL News.]

This is an exciting and fun class activity that engages students in multiple skills as well as allows them to find out more information about their classmates. I often use it as an introductory game for intermediate to advanced level classes.

Objectives:

  • Practice written skills by producing several brief written explanations of events in students’ lives.
  • Practice speaking skills by creating questions and answers for these events.
  • Engage quick thinking and creative skills by making up explanations under pressure.

Preparation:

  • Before the class, cut up enough strips of paper so that every student gets three pieces each.

Steps:

  1. First, hand out three strips of paper to each student and explain that students are going to write brief explanations about three different things about themselves: one on each strip of paper.
  2. Model the activity by writing three headings on the board:
    1. A Secret
    2. An Experience
    3. An Interesting Fact about me.
  3. Then fill in the headings with a corresponding sentence about yourself. This can be a good chance to teach grammatical phrases such as “When I was…”
  4. Give the students 10-15 minutes and have them write their own sentences: one on each strip of paper. It is important to tell the students that if they have a secret and they don’t want other students to know it, then they should not write it down. They should also not show their sentences to other students.
  5. As they finish, go around the class and check their sentences for errors.
  6. Once you have corrected their sentences, have them write their names on the strips of paper and collect them.
  7. Put students in teams of three. Teams of two and four also work, but three is the optimal number.
  8. One student from each team comes to the front and stands facing the class in a line.
  9. Find those students’ sentences from the collection and choose one sentence from one of them and read it out to the class. This sentence is the truth for one of the students at the front, but all the other students must pretend like this is their sentence.
  10. The sitting students now have to find out who is telling the truth by asking questions. The theory is that the students who are lying will have much slower and less in-depth and inconsistent answers than the student telling the truth.
  11. Each team can ask two or three questions which all the students at the front answer, and then the teams can deliberate for a minute to discuss who they think is telling the truth. Once they have their choice, the truth-teller is revealed and the teams that got it right get a point.
  12. You then play again with new students. The team with the most points at the end is the winner.

Biographical Information

From the Fall 2015 issue of the BC TEAL newsletter:  Edward Pye is a New Zealander who has been working in the international education field for a number of years. After completing an English literature degree at Otago University in 2001, he moved to South Korea where he taught for eight years in both the private school and university systems. Upon meeting his Canadian wife, he shifted to BC where he continued teaching as well as moving into the curriculum development field.

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This article is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Original reference information:

Pye, E. (2015, Fall). Getting to Know Each Other:  A Lesson Plan for “Liar Liar”. TEAL News. Retrieved from https://www.bcteal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/BCTeal-Newsletter-Fall-2015-Final-2.pdf

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