Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tall Stories as Digital Narrative

One of my favourite ways of helping students with the difference in use between 'present perfect' and 'past simple'  forms is a simple but effective activity called lies and truth.

All you need to do for this activity is to think of three - five statements about yourself using the 'present perfect' tense

Here are a few examples:
  • I've been in prison.
  • I've been married 3 times.
  • I've never eaten meet.
Then get your students to ask you for background information about them to find out which are true. The students should use past simple to get the details. Once the students find out about me they pair up and interview each other using the same format.

This is a simple but engaging activity that I find students really enjoy it and get a lot of speaking practice from it.

Recently, I've spotted a website called BluffBust that works on a similar format. The website contains video clips of people telling stories about themselves and then visitors to the site have to decide if the stories are truth or lies. Here's an example based around a song

Which story is true? 'I'm 6 feet tall' 'I drive a honda cr-v' 'I've never been to Hawaii'

I think this is a great way to get students developing their listening and speaking skills and something that they can engage with outside of the classroom. The language being used is very authentic, so it might be a struggle for lower levels, but for higher levels it should be appropriately challenging and give them some real exposure to authentic English.

All of the content on the site is user generated, so you can also get students registered and creating their own interactive video stories and activities. There are a number of game interaction types which you can see here: BluffBust Game Types

This looks like a great way to get students developing the listening and spoken fluency outside of the classroom in an enjoyable and competitive (there is a leaderboard) way.

Which story is true? 'Legs not attached' 'Expensive hand cream' 'No Macarena'

The site might not be appropriate for younger or lower level learners though, but you could pre-sellect some specific videos that you could use in class as a way to get your students practicing the same activity in class.

I hope you and your students enjoy BluffBust and it helps them to develop their speaking and listening skills.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

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