This lesson is geared towards adult language learners who have immigrated to an English-speaking country and possess a basic grasp on the English language with a desire to study the grammatical rules of English to improve their speaking and writing skills. Typically, these students are above the entry ESL classes but below the ENGL 1010 level. Due to the fact grammar is not typically a required class, the expected class size would be small; up to 10 students. Ages vary, from 18-year-old international students to senior citizens.
The topic that will be addressed in this particular lesson is the usage of prepositions and how students can improve their grammar by recognizing and being able to effectively use them. Because these students read English words on a daily basis due to being in an English-speaking environment, they should be able to recognize incorrect grammar rules regarding prepositions and correct them. After providing some examples, students will be asked to create their own sentence combinations with the new contrastive vocabulary and how to combine certain prepositions to create new meanings.
The skills this lesson will be focusing on would be writing and speaking with an emphasis on descriptive writing and building a sense of automaticity and fluency.
Students will be able to recognize what a preposition is and how it functions within a sentence.
Students will be able to correctly select appropriate prepositions depending on context and utilize and integrate them in their speech and writing.
The lesson will be projected via PowerPoint in class, however, lecture notes will be provided online for students who are unable to attend class for whatever reason. Students should bring paper and pencils for personal writing assignments or note-taking if they so choose to write out the information; computers are not required in-class but students must have access to the internet to be successful in class.
Introduction (4 minutes)
List all the prepositions: at, in, on, from, of, to, for, about, under.
Provide a description of what a preposition is and how it functions: A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and the rest of the words in the sentence. Prepositions have many purposes, but they mostly give us information about place, time, and direction. Prepositions are small words and are easy to recognize; however, they are often difficult to use correctly.
Provide and go over examples; encourage students to come up with their own examples based on their own knowledge:
Contextualize It (10 minutes)
Provide students with a short, in-class reading and ask them to underline each preposition they recognize while reading the text aloud. Students will take turns reading each section.
Have students recognize that certain words require certain prepositions, e.g., struggle with.
Provide a list of these words which require prepositions then have them create their own sentences: struggle with, look at, distinct from, posted on.
Have students share these sentences with a partner, possibly one with a similar language background so that they may use their L1 skills to help each other relate and understand their sentences.
Finding Errors (5 minutes)
As a class, present a series of sentences with incorrect grammar and pick on individuals to fix each sentence. Allow everyone in the class to participate and help out struggling students.
Discuss Difficult to Distinguish Prepositions (8 minutes)
Explain the differences between at/on/in for place and time.
Special phrases students should know: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night.
Have students take turns reading each section; ask for additional examples for a brief assessment to see which individuals understand and which need additional guidance.
Use at for very specific places or times.
Use on for medium-sized places or times.
Use in for large places or times.
Problem Prepositions (12 minutes)
Continue the flow of the previous section and lead into the next portion.
Again, have students take turns reading aloud the following grammar rules and have them come up with their own examples and sentences.
For vs. since
We use for with a period of time and to answer the question How long? With for the answer is the period of time.
I’ve lived in Utah for ten years.
We also use since to answer the question of How long? But with since, we indicate when the action began.
I’ve lived in Utah since 2007.
Before vs. ago
We use before when there is a specific point of time.
They need to finish their presentations before the end of the semester.
We use ago to answer the question How long ago in the past did it happen?
F finished our presentation two days ago.
In vs. after
We use in when we refer to a more general period of time and we use after when we refer to a more specific period.
Your new computer will be ready in about 3 to 5 days.
Your new computer will be ready after the fall break.
For vs. during
We use for with a general period of time, to answer the question How long?
They were in California for two weeks.
We use during for a specific period of time, which is often related to a particular event. We use during to answer the question When?
They lived in Turkey during the war.
Lisa and Joe worked on their presentation during lunch.
Verbs of motion: enter, go, return
Typically, we do not use a preposition after enter.
wrong: The students entered in the room at 9 o’clock.
correct: The students entered the room at 9 o’clock.
We use go with to or in.
wrong: They went the party together.
correct: They went to the party together.
We use return with to.
wrong: We’ll return our country next month.
correct: We’ll return to our country next month.
Preposition Combinations (15 minutes)
Go over the different preposition combinations and after learning each combination, have students create their own sentences per combination. (e.g., one sentence with an adjective and a preposition, one with a noun and a preposition, etc.)
At the end of this activity, show students common idioms and see if any of them recognize and say the meaning of each idiom. Having students guess at the meanings could be a humorous, light-hearted way to end the lesson.
Adjective + Preposition:
afraid of: I’m afraid of spiders.
afraid to: She’s afraid to tell him the truth.
confused about: I’m still confused about prepositions.
different from: Islam and Christianity are not that different from each other after all.
Noun + Preposition:
advice on: Can you help me? I need your advice on what classes to take.
excuse for: He played badly today and that’s it. Don’t make any excuses for him.
solution to: Do you have the solution to question number 8?
trouble with: I’m having trouble with my computer.
Preposition + Noun
at home: Sorry, there’s no one at home at that time, so you can’t visit.
by hand: Did you write your entire essay by hand?
in school: We’re in school from 9 am to 4 pm.
on purpose: Did you miss the goal on purpose because we were already winning by 4 goals?
Finally, here are some common idioms we use with prepositions. See how many you recognize.
The test was a piece of cake.
I’m fed up with people complaining about their lives.
We just caught the train by the skin of our teeth.
I’m way over my head in this math class.
This new gym is state of the art.
His coughing is really getting on my nerves.
I’ve a cold and I feel really down in the dumps today.
Oh no! It’s 5:30 already. How did I lose track of time?
Hey! Keep in touch.
Assessment (5 minutes)
Observe student conversations as they interact and share their sentences with one another. Notice students’ correct use of the new grammar point.
At the end of the lesson, collect the students’ papers to grade.
Quiz students on their knowledge at the end of the unit.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
Give students time to speak at the end of the day and give them an appropriate prompt so they can best utilize the new grammar point. Remind students about homework/quizzes or give them resources to help them better understand the grammar point.
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