Mientes con todos los dientes: A lying game

This week, during our teacher work days, I remembered a super hilarious Get to Know you game that we used to play a lot but I’d forgotten all about it!  I have no idea where I learned the original game, which has evolved over time to make it even better for a CI classroom. If it was you who created this game, please tell me because I would like to thank you and give you credit!!

I’d hold off playing it with your level 1 babies, but for Level 2 and up, they’ll love it! For level 1 babies, might I suggest another game: ¿Cierto o Falso?

To prep: Everyone writes a true and interesting fact about themselves, that most people wouldn’t know. In a level 2 class, just have them write it in English. For your upper levels, they could do this in your Target Language. Everyone turns in their fact. Then the teacher picks a handful of facts to type up in comprehensible language. So, if someone wrote something really crazy that you can’t make comprehensible no matter how hard you try, skip that one. The statements that you choose should be comprehensible to everyone in class. Type the statements into a slideshow (without names but use pics if it will help it be comprehensible) AND type them into the teacher’s Master Copy with the name of the student who wrote it.

Mientes con los dientes, 1st period (1)

Mientes con todos los dientes instructions

To play: Set up 3 chairs in the front of the room, facing the class and call up three students to sit in the chairs.  When you call them up, type in the names onto the Teacher Master copy, so you can keep track of who has been up front. Only the teacher sees the Master Copy! Project the slideshow with the fact that one of the students wrote. So, let’s imagine we have  Amy, Bhavin and Ian (who wrote the fact) sitting on the 3 chairs and projected on the screen it says,  “I have a pet turtle named Fluffy.” (But written in your target language, of course!)

Only one student (Ian!) really has the pet turtle named Fluffy, but everyone reads their statement out loud to the class, trying to convince the class that they, in fact, have a pet turtle named Fluffy. So, Ian is telling the truth while Amy and Bhavin are lying.

After all the students read the statement (in the target language), the teacher begins interrogating them. The class is watching closely because they will bet on who  is telling the truth. Make sure you ask them questions they will understand and can answer in the target language!

So the teacher might ask, How old is your pet turtle Fluffy? Each student will answer (2 kids making up their answer and Ian is telling the truth). Milk is as much as you can: How big is your pet turtle, Fluffy? What does Fluffy eatWhere does Fluffy sleep? You get the idea.

Then, since we’re CI teachers and our goal is to get a lot of comprehensible language into their little heads  we summarize all the information we’ve learned, in slow and comprehensible language. It might sound like this:

Amy has a really little pet turtle named Fluffy. He eats bananas and he’s only 3 weeks old. She found him near her house and he sleeps in a box in her bedroom. 

Ian has a pet turtle named Fluffy. He is medium sized, not very big and not very small. He eats lettuce. Ian got Fluffy for his 8th birthday and now Fluffy is 7 years old. Fluffy lives in the bathtub because he likes to swim

And so on…

THEN, ask the students if they know who is telling truth and if they’re ready to vote. Ask (in your target language) Who thinks Bhavin is telling the truth? Who thinks Ian is telling the truth? Students raise their hands, then the teacher reveals who was telling the truth. Everyone claps and then if there’s time, start again with three more students.  This one is so much fun, I like to stretch it out over a few classes, playing one or two rounds at the end of each class. Watching kids try to lie in their second language is my favorite…it is JUST SO FUNNY!

Note: I updated this blog post and simplified the “game” a whole bunch…Now it’s not even really a game. No points, no winners, just a whole lot of laughs. I much prefer this new update, but if you want to “gamify” it, here are the original scoring instructions below.

Scoring:  Before playing, divide the class into 3 teams, and make sure teach each team has a representative up front. (So in the example above, Ian, Amy and Bhavin are all on different teams). After the three have told us their stories about their turtle Fluffy,  everyone (except for the 3 students up front) will place their bet. The teacher will ask “Who thinks that Amy has a pet turtle named Fluffy?”  and students will raise their hands. Teacher counts up how many votes Amy gets (let’s pretend she gets 8 votes) and then moves on to the next kid, Ian (who get’s 4 votes)  and Bhavin (6 votes).

Even though students are in teams, everyone places their own bet. So, within the team, they can all bet that Amy is telling the truth, or a few could vote for Amy, other vote for Ian, etc.

Then the teacher reveals who’s fact it was:  Class, Ian has a turtle named Fluffy! Everyone who bet that Ian was telling the truth gets a Poker Chip. Students who bet that Amy or Bhavin were telling the truth don’t earn any chips, because they guessed incorrectly. The 3 people up front are also rewarded for their lying skills: they earn 1 poker chip for each bet that was placed on them, so in our example Amy earns 8, Ian earns 4, and Bhavin earns 6.  (Because 8 students thought Amy was telling the truth, 4 students thought Ian was telling the truth, etc) Those 3 students  go back to their teams and pool their chips with the ones their team earned. So, even though kiddos are placing individual bets, the chips they earn go towards their team’s total.

The easiest way to divy out the poker chip points is to say, everyone who thought Ian had the pet turtle, come on up, and hand each a chip.

Of course the winning team has the most chips when it’s time to finish the game. In my class they return the poker chips and get a stamp on their Stamp Sheet. 

If this sounds complicated, I promise, it’s really not. And it is SO MUCH FUN!
Happy Back to School!!

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  1. Also kind of like “To Tell the Truth!
    Question about calling up the next rounds of students—we have to be sure to have the student whose fact is being read each time…how do you do that (smoothly and efficiently) so that all students come up without having duplicates or revealing whose fact it is? For example-from your scenario, Amy might have a fact so you need to have her up there again…
    Thanks in advance! Becky


    • I only type up facts for 1/4 of the class, even though everyone writes a fact. So, in the example, I didn’t type facts for Amy, Bhavin or Sean. So when you call up kids, call 1 who you have a typed up fact for, and 3 you don’t. (So keep your master list handy when you’re calling up kids) Does that clear it up?


    • I go with the honor system because my kiddos are angels and would never ever lie to me… but if you want to incorporate some movement, you could say “if you think X is telling the truth, go to this corner, if you think Y is telling the truth walk over here.” Then it would be easy to give chips to the kids who are correct.


  2. SenoraChase posted: “This week, during out teacher work days, I remembered a super hilarious Get to Know you game that we used to play a lot but I’d forgotten all about it! I have no idea where I learned the original game, which has evolved over time to make it even better f”


  3. Any creative ideas to modify this for a hybrid situation? I will have about 6 students in class and another 6 tuning in via Google Meet…


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