This is a variation on the Truth or Lie activity that you all probably know and love.

The original is a nice way of getting students to practice using the present simple, essentially the teacher dictates / writes on the board a set of sentences about themselves and the students have to guess which are true and which are not.  The students then ask questions to uncover the truth.  The students then write their own sentences, share them, compare them, and figure out what’s true.  It’s a nice warmer and also a nice activity to start a course with.

One thing I notice though, particularly with younger classes, is that the students don’t always have the breadth of experience to make for interesting truths or convincing lies.  In some cases they can also be a bit reticent to share.

So the fake news alternative is essentially a way of playing the game but in a less personal way.

In this scenario, the teacher dictates or writes a series of short sentences relating to stories in the news.  My example sentences are from the less believable end of the spectrum, in order to generate more discussion, but it would be just as effective to use more prosaic examples.  I’ll let you decide which are true and which are not (only one is not true).  The language level is probably a bit high for beginner and elementary groups, but these are only meant to be examples:

  1. Pope falls asleep during prayers.
  2. Police arrest 74 year old ninja
  3. Man sells house to avoid aliens.
  4. President of the USA is an alien.
  5. Bees say goodbye to their dead keeper

It is useful to then briefly review the form of the present simple, before getting students to write their own sentences and fake news sentences.  For this, if they have mobile devices, they can have a quick look online for inspiration.

Students then do a mingle activity telling each other the sentences and trying to decide which are true or not.