Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Unbelievable Truth

The Unbelievable Truth is a comedy panel show on Radio 4 hosted by David Mitchell. Contestants have to try and 'smuggle' 5 sets of truths amongst a whole host of lies and the other panellists try to buzz in when they hear a truth.

I tried to convert this to my KS3 classes with a new 'Gothic' module. A pack of information was given to groups of four and they had to underline what they thought were the truths. The truths were then revealed to the whole class. This gave the students a bunch of new information in a different way to usual. By using their prior knowledge, they could infer and deduce that some of the information was definitely fictional whereas they had a fair bit of deliberation with other parts.

Students then researched and created their own Unbelievable Truths. Each group was given a different Gothic novel and had to research it to find interesting facts to use in their packs of information. Each group then presented their information to the other groups who had to separate facts from fiction. As an added incentive to make the students find interesting information, I attempted to guess the truths as well!

This was a different way to introduce a new topic to students but brought further benefits:

  • Students developed their inference and deduction skills
  • Research skills developed - could they find interesting facts about novels they'd not necessarily heard of before as well as making sure this information was legitimate?
  • Independence - this group are targeted 5c - 7c in year 8 so I'm expecting big things from them when they start their GCSEs. Too often, they have been too happy to accept my answer as gospel rather than questioning some of the information I present. I want them to start being more original with their analysis and independent with their writing and this was just one way I attempted to help them progress with this.

This idea was presented at the Teach Meet English hosted by Mark Miller (@GoldfishBowlMM) at Leeds West Academy. I can't thank him enough for letting me present this idea, for all the fantastic ideas suggested by other presenters and for the kind observers for not booing me at the end! Please do let me know if you use or adapt this in any of your lessons.

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