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.