Teaching prepositional phrases

books of owl

I just finished my first semester in my teaching certification program, and I got the chance to teach a group of sixth graders the joys of prepositional phrases. What was interesting is that, though sixth graders have learned basic grammar in early elementary, they really don’t “get” it. I literally had to go back to nouns, verbs, and adjectives before I could really discuss prepositional phrases with them.

The first day I tried to teach them, I made the mistake of using a lecture-based method. Despite what I’d learned in my textbooks about effective teaching methods, it was all too easy to fall back on how I was taught most recently (at the college level). Needless to say, the kids didn’t understand most of what I tried to teach them.

The second (and final) day, I wised up. I spent a couple of minutes modeling a few prepositional phrases. For instance, “under the bridge” or “between the pages”. Then I had groups of kids work on making their own phrases to eventually share with the class.

Next, I showed the class how to build sentences around their phrases, and I let them work together again to create their masterpieces.

A little more difficult, I asked them to identify whether their prepositional phrase was acting as an adjective or an adverb.

Finally, I tried to get them to a very difficult level. Similar to the game LinguiSHTIK, I wrote a few nouns on the board and had students use them as objects in prepositional phrases. From there, they had to create sentences using the newly formed phrases, but they had to use the phrase a certain way (I told them whether to use the phrase as an adjective or an adverb).

Even though the last task was tough, it helped wrap things up for those kids who were getting it, and it helped others realize they still had work to do.

I love prepositional phrases, and I have a new-found respect for how hard it is to teach the intricacies and complexities of grammar. If I get around to it, I will definitely try to form an Academic Games league out here in Tucson.


8 Responses to “Teaching prepositional phrases”

  1. Mia says:

    It takes a lot of patience and dedication to become a good teacher. I will always remember my favorite teachers…they were the ones that really talked to you and not only teach.

  2. Dave says:

    I can relate to this because I always struggled with grammar throughout high school and even into college. That is until I finally got an English teacher that understood how to teach.

    After that class, I was able to even start editing my wife’s essay’s and she was an English major. I will always be grateful for that teacher who really “got it.”
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Stop My Divorce =-.

  3. CFD Trade says:

    Wow, this will definitely help me a lot since I have decided to homeschool my child. Thanks a lot.

  4. Much like what Mia says, it takes a lot of patience and dedication, for sure. Back in my senior high school years I had the opportunity to teach a grade 10 art class. While it might not be the same as teaching grade 6 students, it was still tough to try and come up with a method that engaged them all and yet was strong enough to get the points across.

    It looks as though your method had some impact! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Teaching job really needed so much patience as well dedication .

  6. Jenny says:

    If you don’t have a calling for doing it, i don’t think that you are going to succeed! The teachers we all remember were those who were a lot more than just teachers, were the people who stood a little and talked with you.

  7. Steve says:

    I hope this article does not discourage anyone from becoming a teacher. Teaching, like any other career requires a lot of hard work, patience, dedication and long hours when you’re starting out.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Designer Swimwear for Women & Men =-.

  8. xander says:

    yes it was a hard a when i got part time to teach an elementary student. I they would have understand, minimum between an object with subject It’s hard sometimes to teach a private student when they unless get nothing from their school. and all i got to is to press them to study harder.
    thanks nice post and it’s inspiring me
    .-= xander´s last blog ..Web Design – Joomla Versus WordPress =-.