I’d like to share a lesson I've done with 6th graders to teach reported speech. It can be used with all level students, though. You just have to adapt it according to the level. It is a fun way of teaching reported speech. Ideally it is the best if you present it on ppt slides.
First introduce your characters on a slide: Jim, Jessica and Gossip Girl (as in the famous American TV serial). Jim and Jessica is a couple having a conversation over a coffee and talking about their relationship. Gossip Girl, as the name suggests, is the one who spies them and texts or calls everyone on the phone, reporting what the couple has said to each other sentence by sentence.
After the introduction, show Ss and their speech bubbles on a seperate slide. Jessica might say: “Oh sweetheart, I love the wedding ring.” showing her ring. Jim might reply: “ Yes honey, it looks really great.” (You can change the context entirely if you think your Ss don’t like such romantic conversations, which is quite possible
Then, show the Gossip Girl and her “reported sentences” in an another speech bubble. This time it goes like "Jessica said she loved the wedding ring." and "Jim said it really looked great." You can also use the verb “tell”.
The conversation goes on like this, but each time you present another tense like “ I am looking forward to the wedding day” so that Ss can see several tenses and how to transform them.
As you go on, encourage Ss to notice the rule and when the couple’s conversation is finished, ask them how the Gossip Girl is reporting the couple’s speech, meaning what’s the rule. Ss will say, deducing from the examples, they transform the tenses to past tenses.
You can present more examples again related to the same context, or you can ask them to create their own dialogues as if they are Jessica and Jim, and choose a Gossip Girl for reporting.
After you make sure that Ss grasp the idea. As a follow up, ask them to write sentences as follows :
- Gossip Girl told me that Jessica and Jim were getting married
and I could not believe
Ask them to think of their own lives and create sentences about themselves like “ Gossip Girl told me that my best friend would go to the party without me
and I got angry with her.
It takes up a whole class hour. Especially at the end they have great fun talking about their lives.
P.S: As a little variation, you can choose celebrities instead of made-up characters.