Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Purpose of Prepositions {FREEBIE}

We spent a lot of time this week working on prepositions.  This is an area of difficulty for many English Language Learners.  I often have students who misuse the words "for" and "so."  And it's difficult teaching the purpose of so many "little" words.  But this week, I tried to break it down by sorting prepositions into two groups: when and where.

I started by briefly defining the role of  a preposition and then having the students identify the prepositions they were using in their sentences to describe the what they saw in this picture:

 They said that the net was ABOVE the girl, the ball bounced ON the floor, she will shoot the ball THROUGH the air, etc. Verbally, they did a great job!  So we moved onto a very quick worksheet I made.  The students used the words in the word bank to complete the sentences with prepositions that show where.  Here we ran into a little trouble.

A few of my students had difficulty with sentences such as "The barbeque was ___ my uncle's house."  I read more than a few "on my uncle's house." We talked about what that would look like {although, in this city, it's not necessarily impossible for a barbeque to be ON someone's home!}.

On the bottom of the sheet, the students wrote a sentence using a preposition to show where.

The next day, we talked about prepositions that tell when.  This one seemed much easier for the students to understand, although we did talk a lot about the word "by."

They worked on another set of sentences and then wrote their own sentences to tell when.  From this student, I can see that she is able to complete the sentences, but she is still showing some confusion about using the word "in" to show when.  {She wrote "the book City of Ember is in my desk."}

On the third day of working with prepositions, I had my students sort sentences with prepositions that show when and where.  Each student received a sentence and collaborated with a partner to find the preposition and then tape it to the correct poster.

This was another great opportunity for a quick assessment.  By glancing at the posters, I was able to identify two partnerships that had difficulty with  either identifying the preposition or determining how it functions in the sentence.

For homework, I gave the students a blank card and asked them to write a sentence with a preposition that shows when or where, their choice.  On Monday, I'll tape the words around the room and they will walk around the room and write the sentences on a T-Chart!  I also plan to extend their learning to prepositional phrases and prepositions that show a relationship.

While I'm not done with the entire package, I'd like to offer the sentences to sort as a freebie.  Click HERE to download the sentence headers and 12 sentences to sort from my TpT store!



  1. I think that's a great lesson- I am definitely going to use it when I need to review (or teach!!) prepositions to my ELL's. Thanks for sharing!

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  2. This looks like it was fun :) We did prepositions this week as well and made preposition story maps using fairy tale characters (at least it was supposed to be fairy tale characters but a couple of kids used ME as their character!)


  3. Sarah, your sentence sort lesson is brilliant! I wish I had done that when I taught younger ones! I did introduce prepositional phrases in an interesting way. I hid candy all over the room- over things, under things- you get the picture. Then the kids would take turns formulating prepositional phrase questions to find the candy. If their phrase located it and they asked correctly, they won the candy.
    Great blog!I'm glad I visited!