A few weeks ago I was a frustrated by my level 3 students who were insisting on including “lying liars who love to lie” in our class story. The problem was the verb mentir, a troublemaker verb that can be easily sidestepped. I had taught them to say that alguien dice mentiras and then circled the heck out of the many tenses of decir thinking that would do it. And really mastering decir is a good thing, right?! Yet they insisted on trying to say he lied to her rather than he told her a lie. “Fine, you all asked for this”, I thought to myself after class as I made plans to tackle this beast. Lying liars lie today just as they used to lie and always have lied. Bring it on.
I started the class with a five minute appreciation of Olga Tañon´s classic merengue Es mentiroso . Not 100% comprehensible, but with the lyrics played on the video they were certainly able to tease out the main chorus Es mentiroso ese hombre, ¡es mentiroso!
Normally I would only post two or three core structures each day, but since they were all based on the verb mentir I decided to post them all at once. We spent the first day developing a class story launching from the previous day´s PQA (one student, in the interest inventory she completed last August, had mentioned that she would like to have a very long-distance relationship). Our class story had imagined a (fictional) awful boyfriend who previously had alienated her from el mundo de carne y hueso to seek an internet relationship. These are the structures that we used:
a él le gustaba mentir he used to like lying
las mentiras the lies (noun)
el mentiroso the liar
le miente he lies to her
le mintió he lied to her
¿Me mentiste? Did you lie to me?
Lo siento, te mentí I am sorry, I lied to you
siempre mentía he always used to lie
After class students wrote their own version of the class story. Some of them were faithful to our class story while others explored other directions. After reading through their writing I stitched them together into one narrative, taking a lot from the creative versions so that there will be significantly new content. They will enjoy finding their contribution to the final story. I also added a variety of questions in the margins, some that force my students to track the subtle differences in meaning between tenses (kind of like pop-up grammar in a reading). You can download a .pdf version by clicking here or, if you might use this in your class but want to change parts, download the original .docx version by clicking here .