I’ve always been a big fan of ESL Games that are based on memory. The Busy Day is a great way to practice reported speech while pushing the limits of your memory.
- A game of The Busy Day should take between 5 – 10 minutes depending on the size and ability of your class.
- It is suitable for students aged 6 and up. As long as they have a working knowledge of past tense verbs.
- There are no materials required other than a whiteboard and a marker (small class) or a pencil and paper for each group (large class).
- If you have a class bigger than 8 – 10 students divide your class into groups of no more than 6 students.
- Use a past-tense-verbs A – Z Race as a lead in activity so that students have a large selection of words and activities to work with in the game. If you have a small class have your students work together to make the list on the whiteboard. For larger classes have your students work in groups to think of the past tense verbs on their own. Once completed you can compile a master list on the whiteboard. Make sure each group has a full list.
How to Play:
- Student 1 makes a past tense sentence using a verb that starts with the letter A, e.g. “Yesterday, I ate a hamburger.”
- Student 2 then has to use reported speech to tell the group/class what Student 1 did yesterday before talking about their day. E.g. “Student 1 said that she ate a hamburger yesterday and I bounced my basketball all day.”
- Student 3 must then use reported speech to tell the class what students 1 and 2 did before using the letter C to tell their own story. E.g. “Student 1 said that she ate a hamburger yesterday, Student 2 said she bounced her basketball all day yesterday and I caught fireflies in the park“.
- Once the team/group has completed one full rotation they then have to start using “and” in their answers. E.g. “Yesterday, I bounced my ball all day and helped my mom, Student 1 said that she ate a hamburger and gave her friend a present yesterday, etc…“.
- The game continues until one student either forget to use reported speech or can’t remember what another student did.
- If the game ends before the group/class makes it all the way to Z, the team should simply start the game again and keep playing until they get there.
I love using this game because it’s easy to set up, fun, engaging and most of all effective. Give it a try in your ESL class and let me know how it works.