Language Unit: Indirect discourse using that complement (John said that he has the book.)
This unit was written for upper elementary/middle school students, however, if you have older students who need to develop this structure, you can use a similar format with age-appropriate materials and activities.
As you develop this language component, use only language structures and concepts the students already know. The students should be familiar with complex sentence structures (sentences containing independent and dependent clauses) and the structure for direct discourse.
Tell the students what they will learn and why
- Review sentences using direct discourse.
- Show students a
cartoon that has a speech balloon (to indicate what the
person is saying).
- Ask them what the person in the cartoon is saying.
- Remind them that there is another way to write what someone says and write on the board (using information from the cartoon):
The boy said, “I want an apple.”
- Tell the students that in the books and stories they read, they see this structure. There is also a different structure they will see to show what people are saying.
- Remind them that this will be a structure they can use in writing to add variety to their sentences and to make their writing more interesting. This is the structure they will learn.
Use material from stories the children have already read or from their classroom experiences.
- Write a sentence with
direct discourse on the board:
- Samuel said, “I want to paint a picture.”
Students read the sentence.Ask them:
- Who is talking?
- What is Samuel saying?
them there is another way to
write the sentence. Write on the board
under the first sentence:
- Samuel said that he wants to paint a picture.
- Emphasize that the sentences are different in the way we
write them, but they mean the same thing. Explain the
differences in the two sentences:
- No quotation marks
- Add the word that
- Change pronoun I to he (explain why)
- Verb form changes to agree with the new pronoun
- Repeat the steps with another sentence, such as:
- Samuel said, “The red truck would make a good picture.”
- Note that in this sentence there is no pronoun for them to change and so they do not need to change the verb.
- Repeat with one or two more examples, if necessary.
students a sentence with direct discourse, such as:
- Samuel said, “One of the tires is flat.”
- Then write the new form under the first sentence:
- Samuel said that one of the tires is flat.
- Have the students tell how the two sentences are different and also have them determine that the two sentences mean the same thing.
- Repeat the same steps with
another set of sentences:
- Dad said, “I have to fix the tire on the red truck.”
- Point out that in this sentence the pronoun and the verb change.
- Give the students practice writing the new form. Have 5 or 6 sentences with direct discourse sentences prepared.
- The students determine what the new structure will be and you write it on the board.
- As they tell you what to write, ask them questions such as: Why do we change the pronoun? Why do we change the verb?
- Repeat the steps with one or two more examples.
the students work with partners. Write a sentence on
the board, for example:
- Dad said, “I will have to buy a new tire.”
- Partners agree on and write the new form, then share and discuss their sentences.
- Repeat these steps with three or four more examples.
- Give each student three sets of sentences with one
sentence in the set incorrect. For example:
- David said that he bought some gum at the store.
- David said that David bought some gum at the store.
- Latasha said that she have a blue bike.
- Latasha said that she has a blue bike.
- Student read the sentences silently, select the correct sentence in the new form, and underline it.
- When finished, students compare their answers, give reasons for their selections, and explain why the other sentences are not correct.
- Give each student three sentences with direct discourse.
All students should have the same three sentences.
- Students write each sentence using indirect discourse.
- When finished, students compare and discuss their work.
- Continue working on the same structure but use a different verb, for example:
Mei-Li thought, “I should paint my bedroom walls.”
Mei-Li thought that she should paint her bedroom walls..
(Note the second pronoun change from my to her.)
Dad thought, “I will pull the weeds out of the garden.”
Dad thought that he would pull the weeds out of the garden.
(Note the verb change from will to would.)
- Present the new structure with the verb thought using similar steps.
In subsequent lessons at a later time, present indirect discourse statements that use a different form, for example:
Dad told Samuel, “Pull the weeds.”
Dad told Samuel to pull the weeds.
- When the students are familiar with these forms, briefly explain and give examples of additional verbs that may be used in indirect discourse (know, decide, agree, hope). Statements using these verbs generally are not written using direct discourse.
- Remind students to use the new structure when they are writing.
- Show them a short story you have written and have them identify the sentences that contain indirect discourse.
- Have them write a short story and see if they can use at least two or three sentences that contain the new structure.
- During guided reading discussions, give special attention to the indirect discourse statements, making sure the students understand the meaning.
- Incorporate the targeted structure into all other activities during the school day and emphasize its use.
- Encourage students to use the new structure whenever appropriate throughout the day.