Prepositions of place are an important part of the English language and will enable students to create more complex sentences. The meanings of basic prepositions and prepositional phrases are incredibly easy to demonstrate in a classroom and students can often guess their meanings.
How To Proceed
Warm up – Prepositions Use this opportunity to review vocabulary you plan on using in this lesson. In this example words including book, desk, chair, clock, pencil, and teacher would be good to review. Crisscross is an excellent game to start the class with. Have all the students stand. Ask questions like “What is this?” while holding up a pen or pointing to an object. Have students volunteer to answer by raising their hands. Choose a student and if he answers correctly he may sit down. Repeat until all students are seated. In large classes the volunteer can choose either his row or column of students to sit. Usually no more than about ten questions are asked. The exercise should take approximately five minutes.
Introduce – Prepositions Pronunciation Write the target vocabulary on the board. The words below are a good set to begin with: - in - in front of - on - behind - under - above - between - next to
The vocabulary you introduce may depend on the textbook being used. Demonstrate the pronunciation of each word one at a time having students repeat it after you. If certain students appear not to be participating, call on them individually to pronounce the word for the class. You may want to start a chain where the first student says the first vocabulary word, the next student says the second, and the third student says the third, etc until all students have had the opportunity to say at least one word aloud. In a small class feel free to repeat this exercise several times and encourage them to speed up with each cycle while still maintaining proper pronunciation. Drilling is important however it is often boring for students so adding in some fun elements can encourage them to participate.
Introduce – Prepositions Meaning Try to have the students come up with the meaning or translation of each word. Use example sentences such as “I am in front of the board. Now I am in front of the desk. Now I am in front of Jane.” and change your position in the classroom accordingly. Use as many example sentences as you can think of for each preposition trying to get the students to guess its meaning before writing it on the board and moving onto the next one. Drill pronunciation and translation before continuing.
Practice To test comprehension, do a short exercise. Tell students to put their hands on their desks, above their desk, behind their backs or to put their books in their desks, under their desks, etc. Perhaps a few students would like to give it a try so why not have them give a few instructions as well. A simple worksheet where students match prepositions with pictures would be good practice as well.
Introduce – Prepositions Q & A Ask students questions such as “Where is my/your/the book/pen/desk/clock?” Demonstrate the pronunciation of the question and answer. The model dialogue for this lesson should resemble the structure below: - A: Where is (my/your/Sam’s/the) (noun)? - B: It’s (preposition) the (noun).
Practice Ask your students to practice the model dialogue in pairs for about five minutes taking turns being A and B. Next ask for volunteers to demonstrate their conversations and encourage them to be creative instead of being limited to the vocabulary you’ve already used in the lesson. Correct any errors with clear explanations and demonstrations before moving on.
Production Ask students to write five sentences using prepositions or use a game for further practice of prepositional phrases and sentence construction. An exercise like Jumbled (where students work in groups to arrange a set of words into five to ten sentences in a race against other groups) or Scrambled (where students have a worksheet with sentences written out of order that they must rearrange) would be great practice.
Review As a class review the exercise from the previous step. Students can volunteer to read one of their written sentences aloud, groups can take turns reading one of their sentences from Jumbled, or students can read their un-Scrambled sentences aloud. Whatever exercise you’ve done, this is a key stage in catching mistakes. Often other students can assist their peers in making corrections but if not you may need to review certain problem areas.
Prepositions are easily reviewed throughout the school year by being added to random exercises. For instance, typically prepositions would be covered before moving onto the past or future tenses. Adding prepositions to sentences used in practicing those new tenses should be an easy review for your students and keep them aware of the use of prepositions throughout their studies.
Tara has worked with English Language Learners of all ages for many years and has taught in Japan, Cambodia, and China as well as online. When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, traveling around the world, and scuba diving. She is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California.
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Thanks a lot, they are useful, Im teaching them, for this period and was reading about under and below. Last Friday the students were seeing the poster about the prepositios and I have to explain a lot of.
found this artical on just that question - source bbc world service
Catherine Walter answers: This is a good question and I'm sure that a lot of people have asked themselves this question. I can give you a general answer because vocabulary tends to be a bit fuzzy around the edges, but here goes.
First of all, to make the difference between 'under' and 'below'. Both of these words can mean 'in a lower position than', so there's a sense in which they mean the same thing. But we use them sometimes in different circumstances, for example, if you're talking about something being covered by something, we use 'under'. So, 'I hid the key under a rock'. Or, 'officials said there was nothing under President Bush's jacket'.
You use 'below' when you're talking about something that's not physically immediately under, or not necessarily immediately under. So you say, 'below the surface of the water'. That might be anywhere below the surface of the water, not necessarily just touching it. Or, 'twenty miles below the earth's surface', definitely not immediately under it. And, by extension, we say things like, 'below the poverty line'.
We also use 'under' when we're talking about 'younger than' or 'less than'. So, 'under a dozen times', 'under the age of ten'. Whereas we use 'below', if we're visualising a kind of vertical scale. So, 'below sea level', 'below average', 'an IQ below 80', 'radio waves below 22 kHz'.
There are a number of fixed expressions, so, for example, a lot of expressions about what's happening while something else is going on, or because of certain conditions, or controlled by something or someone. So we say, 'under construction', 'under fire', 'under attack', 'under arrest', 'under these conditions', 'under scrutiny', 'under pressure', 'under the Ceausescu regime'. All of those form a kind of a family.
So what about 'beneath'? Well, 'beneath' is basically more literal, or formal, and we use it in many of the same senses. But there are lots of fixed phrases, and so what you want to do is just read a lot and note when one is used and when the other is used. I hope those will give you some general guide lines, and that you'll enjoy keeping learning about these three fascinating words.
I like the suggestions here for teaching prepositions. I'm puzzled however by "under" and "below" because there is nothing here that explains the differences in the images. It appears that "below" is related to movement because of the lines next to the ball. Any help in understanding this would be appreciated. Brenda
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