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Day 10 - Lies (creative ideas for teaching English and maths at home)

As a child, I always loved the fact that there were white lies and black lies. This seems such a strange concept, but the idea is that black lies are universally condemned and tend to be told for personal gain. In contrast, white lies are seen as an innocent part of everyday life and often are told to please or entertain.

As a parent (and teacher) we are always telling our children not to lie. So today is all about having fun telling lies. Enjoy!



  • poetry

  • constructing sentences

  • nouns, adjectives, expanded noun phrases

  • past/present tense

The idea for today's session comes from Kenneth Koch in his book Wishes, lies. and dreams - teaching children to write poetry. In this book he has a chapter entitled 'Lies' where he states:

"I asked the children to put a lie in every line or else just to make up a whole poem in which nothing is true." He goes on to say, "Lies are an exceptionally good theme for spoken collaboration poems. Sitting around in a group, the children are excited and inspired by each other's lies, and they try to top each other with statements stranger and more fantastic than the ones they've heard so far."

To help the children get started, I gave them a host of sentence openers:

  • I am...

  • I was...

  • I became...

  • I'm now...

  • Now, I'm...

  • I live...

  • I like / love...

  • I hate / despise...

We then had fun writing our own lie poems. The first poems are entitled Lies and we decided to follow the pattern of the openers. The second poems are entitled I was and tell our life story as if we were an object.

What I love about both of these poetry opportunities is the depth of meaning that is created. The use of metaphor really does open up the imagination. The boys loved the idea of coming up with their own lies and were able to generate some really amazing poems in a matter of minutes. We then had fun discussing what we thought they actually meant. Here are the poems - we hope you enjoy.



I am a puzzle.

I was once an epiphany.

I became a fortune teller's orb.

I'm now shattered memories.

Now, I'm reborn.

I live in people's hearts.

I like to feel pain.

I despise warmth.

© Jamie Thomas 2020


I am a lobster.

I was born in the ocean.

I became sand.

I'm now a glass.

Now, I'm broken.

I live in pieces.

I like people standing on me.

I hate being in pieces.

by Joshua, 9


I am a chicken.

I was a puzzle.

I became a monkey.

I'm now a T-rex.

Now, I'm a radiator.

I live in Antartica.

I like olives.

I hate chocolate.

by Archie, 7

I was...

I was poked and prodded.

I was melted and burned.

I was ingested and digested.

I was chewed and stretched.

I was fed up of camp fires.

I was angered by flame.

I was destined to be free.

I was successful in my escape.

I was happy to soar the skies.

I am now a cloud.

© Jamie Thomas 2020

I was...

I was a toy.

I was played with by babies.

I was broken and thrown to the dump.

I was dead and forgotten.

by Joshua, 9

I was...

I was a pen, scribbling.

I was dancing with my lady pen.

I was about to die but my lady pen saved me.

I was still a pen, scribbling,

Until I turned into a parrot.

I was a parrot, squawking.

Then I found my lady parrot.

by Archie, 7

The ideas in this session have been inspired by Kenneth Koch in his book: Wishes, Lies, and Dreams - Teaching children to write poetry.



  • properties of number

  • properties of shape

So this idea hails from the 'Call my Bluff' games I have played all my life. The concept is remarkably simple and can be used for any element of maths. Here is what you do:

  • Each player chooses one element of maths - it could be a number (e.g. 7) or a shape (e.g. a triangle) or a piece of mathematical knowledge (e.g. the 5x table).

  • Each player then writes 2 or 3 true facts about that thing and 1 lie.

  • Each player then reads out their statements and the others have to decide which is the lie AND explain why.

Here is an example:

  • I have 4 sides

  • I have 4 corners

  • I have 4 internal angles of 60 degrees

  • All of my sides are equal


  • This number is in the 10x table

  • This number is odd

  • This number is a prime number

  • This number has 3 factors

Here are the lies we came up with:

I am an odd number.

I appear in the 2x table.

I am 3 more than 10.

I am thought to be unlucky.

What am I? Which is the lie?

13 (Jamie)

I have 4 sides.

I have 4 edges.

All my sides are equal.

I'm a type of triangle.

What am I? Which is the lie?

Square (Archie)

I have 4 equal sides.

I have 4 corners.

I'm like a penguin's beak.

Did you know, if you turn me round people think I am a diamond?

What am I? Which is the lie?

Square (Joshua)

20 - 5 is me.

I don't appear in the 3x table.

I'm in the 5x table.

5 more than 10 is me.

What am I? Which is the lie?

15 (Archie)

I'm the first odd number.

I'm odd.

3 x 3 is me.

21 - 12 is me.

What am I? Which is the lie?

9 (Joshua)

I have six sides.

I have an even number of sides.

I am a 3D shape.

I have more sides than a pentagon.

What am I? Which is the lie?

Hexagon (Jamie)

Happy lying!


If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please do follow us. Alternatively, you may like to follow me on Twitter: @JamieWTSA.

My thanks to Pie Corbett and Talk for Writing for inspiring many of the ideas explored.

Do tune in tomorrow where the stimulus is:


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