Lesson plan

Speaking and Writing with Prepositional Phrases

Do your students know they speak and write with prepositional phrases? Use this lesson plan to explicitly teach spoken and written prepositional phrases!
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Students will be able to use prepositional phrases accurately in both their speaking and writing.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be learning about prepositional phrases and why they are important.
  • Explain you are going to show them examples that illustrate why prepositional phrases are so important.
  • Choose a student and hand them an object (such as a book or a ruler).
  • Without pointing, ask the student to, "Put the object there." (If the student asks, "Where?" just repeat your request.)
  • Choose another student, and ask them to walk.
  • Ask your class, "Why were these tasks confusing?"
  • Explain that there was information missing from your requests. The missing information is called a prepositional phrase.
  • Tell students that we use prepositional phrases in both our speaking and writing.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that a prepositional phrase is part of a sentence that contains a preposition and a noun (or pronoun).
  • Share that a preposition is a word that shows the relationship between the noun (or pronoun) and another part of the sentence.
  • Write two sample sentences on the board:
    • The helpful student put the book on the desk.
    • The tardy child walked across the classroom.
  • Underline the prepositional phrase (on the desk) and circle the preposition (on) in the first sentence.
  • Tell the students that the circled word is the preposition, and prepositions always exist in prepositional phrases.
  • Explain that when you asked the student to put the book there it wasn't clear where to put the book. Adding the prepositional phrase on the desk makes the request clearer.
  • Note to your students that the preposition on defines the relationship (where) between the noun (desk) and the book.
  • Using the chart paper labeled 'prepositions' on top, write the word on, and explain that you are starting a list of prepositions.
  • Repeat with the second sentence: The tardy child walked across the classroom.
  • Think aloud as you determine:
    • the preposition (across),
    • the prepositional phrase (across the classroom),
    • the relationship of where (walked/classroom).
  • Add across to the chart paper.
  • Tell your students that prepositional phrases often answer the question of where or when.
  • Give your class an example of a prepositional phrase that answers the question of when by adding after recess to the end of the second sentence.
  • Explain that some sentences can have more than one prepositional phrase.
  • Add after to the class poster.
(15 minutes)
  • Put a book on the floor near the classroom door while thinking-aloud about what you are doing: "I am placing the book near the door."
  • Repeat the sentence, and ask students to identify the prepositional phrase.
  • Add near to the class poster.
  • Put the book under a window, On the board, ask a student to write a sentence about it that incudes a prepositional phrase.
  • Ask a different student to underline the prepositional phrase and circle the preposition.
  • Add any new prepositions to the class poster.
  • Partner students with an object to use, such as a book, pencil, or marker. Have one student place the object somewhere visible in the classroom and the other student state where the object is, using a complete sentence with a prepositional phrase.
  • Have students take turns creating sentences.
  • Circulate the room, listen to students' sentences, and encourage them to use more than one prepositional phrase in their sentence. For example, I saw Beverly throw the marker over my head, but it landed under the desk.
  • Gather students together to share interesting sentences.
  • Choose a couple of students to write their sentences on the board.
  • Record any new prepositions on the poster.
(15 minutes)
  • Hand out lined paper to your students, and tell them they will be writing their own sentences using at least one prepositional phrase.
  • Instruct students to write five sentences about a different object in the classroom, such as a clock, desk, or pencil.
  • Encourage students to craft interesting sentences that use prepositional phrases that tell about location, as well as time.
  • Allow students to use the examples on the board, as well as the class poster of prepositions if needed.
  • While students work, walk around the classroom to check student work for understanding,


  • If students are struggling creating sentences, ask guiding questions that will lead to prepositional phrases, such as "Where is the desk?" or "When did the door open?" When the student answers—and they use a prepositional phrase—praise their success!
  • Assign partners rather than allowing students to choose their own so that students needing extra support are paired with a more capable student.
  • Work with a small group of students who are struggling to write sentences. Provide sentence frames, such as The clock is ____.


  • Have students identify the relationship between the words that the preposition supports.
  • Instruct advanced students to label parts of speech in their sentences.
  • Encourage students to write a paragraph of five related sentences (instead of five unrelated sentences).
  • Instruct students to find examples of prepositional phrases in their independent reading books.
(10 minutes)
  • Collect and redistribute students' papers with their five sentences, so that everyone has a different paper.
  • Instruct students to use a different colored pen or pencil, and write their name on the paper, read the sentences, underline the prepositional phrases, and circle the prepositions.
  • Collect the papers and analyze them for correct prepostional phrases. Make sure students correctly identified prepositions and prepositional phrases.
(5 minutes)
  • Collect student papers from the Assessment.
  • Choose a few interesting sentences and read them aloud.
  • Ask students to count the number of prepositional phrases in the sentence and hold up the same number of fingers.
  • Ask students to identify why we use prepositional phrases in our writing. (Answers should include that prepositional phrases highlight the relationship betweens nouns (or pronouns) and describe where and when actions occur.)
  • Remind your class that prepositional phrases can help make our sentences clearer and more interesting.

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