By Kevin Fabris

September 2, 2015

45 Minutes - 1 Hour, Adult, Advanced, Big Class, Easy ESL Games,, EFL, ESL, Fun, High School, Question, Resource, Small Class, Some Materials Required, Speaking, Use It

Easy ESL Games has recently partnered with Premier ESL in an effort to bring you the most comprehensive and entertaining lessons possible for your ESL / EFL classroom.  If you like this lesson and would like to see more collaborations be sure to let us know.

Level: Intermediate

Suitable Age: 15+

Time: 90-120 mins

Target Language: direct and In-direct speech

ESL Games : Premier ESL – AR 13 – Teachers Materials
ESL Games : Premier ESL – AR 13 – Student Materials

This ESL lesson plan has been written for a class which is 'revising/reviewing' direct and reported speech. However, with a few slight alterations, it can easily be adapted to fit a class which is being exposed to this grammar point for the first time.

Warmer – What did he/she say?

Phase 1 – In the Student materials PDF print and cut out the ‘What did he/she say sentence cards’. There are 12 different cards so the students cannot just copy each others sentences. If you have more than 12 students, you will have to duplicate some of the cards.

This is a very straight forward part of the activity, simply instruct the students to complete the sentences in their own words.

Example:       I always …………

                        I always take my dog for a walk in the mornings.

There are 5 simple sentences like the example above for them to complete.

Phase 2 – Put the students in to groups of 3. Print and cut out the ‘Reporting Cards’. This is a reported speech dictation activity.

  • One student from each group goes outside.

  • The second student will be the ‘messenger’. That person (student 2) goes outside and listens to student 1’s first sentence.

  • Student 2 then comes back into the room and reports to student 3 what the first student said using in-direct/reported speech.

  • Student 3 writes down what he/she is told in the left side column on their reporting card.

  • Once all five sentences have been completed, swap the students around so student 2 goes outside.

  • Repeat again until all students have filled in their reporting cards using in-direct/reported with another students information.

Phase 3 – Ask each group to pass their 3 reporting cards to their neighbouring group so every group has a different set of cards. Instruct the students to change the in-direct/reported speech back into direct speech using the right side column.

Once the sentences have been changed back in to direct speech. Instruct the students to get up and find the person who said the original sentences and compare the answers they both have.

If there are any errors or differences use peer correction among the other students to try and elicit where the problem is and what the solution/answer should be.

Elicit several examples to put up on the board just to review direct and in-direct speech.

Note: there is a grammar table attached in the Student Materials PDF of tense changes when changing direct to in-direct speech.



To prepare for the reading passage, write the ‘SPY’ up on the board. Elicit the word’s meaning from the class.

Ask a few questions about spies – a list can be found here (not all are suitable, so choose the ones which are more general).

Reading – Hamas Capture Israeli Spy Dolphin

Print out copies of the reading passage from the Student Materials PDF. Put the students into pairs for this activity.

Hand out a copy of the reading passage to each group of pairs.

Instruct the students to read through the passage. Once they have completed this, instruct them to turn over the piece of paper and ask the following comprehension questions.

Instruct the students to write down their answers – this way the teacher knows which pairs have understood the passage and which ones haven’t.

  • Which agency do Hamas think the dolphin was working for?

  • When was the dolphin captured?

  • What was the dolphin fitted with?

  • What was the dolphin spotted making?

  • What Hamas suspect the dolphin was being used for?

  • Which animals have been caught in Turkey in recent years?

  • Why does Turkey believe these animals are from Israel?

For the questions which the students could not answer, let them turn their paper back over and read through the passage again to find the answers.

Direct to in-direct and vice versa.

This can be done as a whole class activity on the board or the students can complete it with their partner.

Instruct the students to find examples of direct speech within the passage and change them to in-direct speech.

Also, they should find the examples of in-direct speech and convert them to direct speech.

If carried out as a whole class activity, then corrections can be made as you work through the activity. If completed in pairs, check for any corrections as a class at the end.

Activate – Alibi

Use the classic ESL game, Alibi, with a reported speech twist. Read this post about how to play the standard version of Alibi if you are unfamiliar with it.

Begin the game the same way as set out in the above link. The twist will come with all the suspects being interviewed at the same time in different rooms (rather than one at a time in front of the whole class).

Then the interviewing officers report back to the rest of the class, using in-direct speech, what each suspect had said. Any differences in the stories can be put up on the board as a reminder.

Complete the same method until all suspects have been interviewed, making sure the interviewing officers use in-direct/reported speech when giving the information they gathered.

Finish the game as set out in the link by finding a suitable punishment for the group that committed the crime.

Cooler – The Busy Day

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.

That’s all for this week. Have fun teaching and we’ll see you soon.

Engage – Excite – Enjoy The Premier ESL Way!

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