The simplest way to explain prepositions and prepositional phrases to kids is to tell them that prepositions show where something is located or in which direction it is moving. For example, an apple may be on, in, under or beside the table. Or, if you throw it, it flies "through the air," "toward the wall" or "away from the tree." A preposition is a word that indicates place or direction. The prepositional phrase includes the noun object whose position or movement is being described by the preposition. The prepositional phrase functions as an adjective to describe which one, such as the book "on the desk," or an adverb to describe how, when or where. For example, "William talked to Tessa in the car." "In the car" describes where the talking took place, so it is an adverbial prepositional phrase. Creative teachers use music, movement, games and writing to reinforce explanations of prepositions and prepositional phrases.
Watch "Schoolhouse Rock's Busy Prepositions," or teach students to sing lists of prepositions to familiar tunes such as "Happy Birthday" or "Yankee Doodle." This will help them identify prepositions and introduce them to the function of prepositional phrases.
Read short sentences that include prepositional phrases and have students act them out. For example, "Shelley walked behind the chair." Or "Jeni dropped the book on the floor." Or "Tessa wrapped her arms around the teddy bear." Ask students to identify the preposition and prepositional phrase and tell whether it describes which one, how, when or where.
Create picture bingo cards using images that can be described using a prepositional phrase such as "in the window" or "in the box." The caller's cards should have sentences that correspond to the pictures. For instance, "William put three oranges in the box." The caller reads a sentence, and players look for a picture that matches the prepositional phrase. The winner is the first person to get five in a row or blackout, depending on which version you play.
Have students create a preposition picture book. Young students can write a prepositional phrase on each page such as "in the bucket" and illustrate it. Challenge older students to incorporate as many prepositions as possible in a story and portray the action of the prepositions in the illustrations. For example, "The bird hopped under the chair, through the bush and onto the low branch before launching into the air. He flew over the plum tree, through the barn and over the meadow headed toward the lake."
Things You Will Need
- DVD or CD player
- Computer with digital projector
- "Schoolhouse Rock's Grammar Rock" (or other grammar-related music)
- Preposition bingo cards (for caller and players)
- Bingo markers or chips
- Colored pencils or markers
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