Sep 3, 2008

the truth is too true to be true

Since many of the novels we read in the 11th grade IB curriculum involve the issue of truth in narrative (and I won't explain why or how, in case one of my students is reading--no advance notice, sorry), I started this year with an activity I've tried before. I give students one of four cards, and tell them to keep it a secret. Each has a code: T for True, E for Embellished Truth, F for Fictional, and OF for Outrageously False. Their task is to (quickly) write a story that fits the description, whether from their experience or of their--imagination.

Students then partner up, sharing, getting some tips if their story is too obvious or unrealistic (the last category excepted). Afterward, I let a few share theirs with the whole class, and we vote, which leads into a discussion of... readerly empistemology. Among other things.

I usually go first, telling a story from my life. Today, in each of my three classes, I shared an unvarnished, utterly factual version of my "scared of the mountains" story.

Every class voted it Embellished.

I think I know why.

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