Prepositions are the backbone of sentences. They show relationships and connect the various parts of the speech. I always teach them at the very beginning of the year because once the students are proficient with prepositions and prepositional phrases, identifying the other parts of speech becomes easier in simple and complex sentences.
At the point of the unit, the kids have been exposed to prepositions and can easily identify them within a sentence. It's time to present the prepositional phrase. My favorite way to do this is using a Berenstein Bears book called, Bears in the Night.
The kids enjoy when I pull this book out because it's so obviously different from the picture books we often use. I don't tell them why I've chosen it, I just ask them to listen carefully to try and determine the reason it's being used.
The entire book is composed of prepositional phrases such as, "under the covers, out of bed, across the floor, out the window, etc." The story is a short one, so it's a fast read. After I finish reading, I ask them to identify the objective of using this particular book. Some of the kids get the point immediately and volunteer that there were lots of prepositions in the book. This is the perfect lead in to getting the definition of a prepositional phrase front and center: A prepositional phrase is a phrase that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun. We return to the book and they listen to it again noticing this fact.
The students are ready to create their own preposition books, composed completely of prepositional phrases. Brainstorming ideas for their book is the starting point. I write the word IDEAS on the board and circle it and the kids take turns coming up and writing some story ideas surrounding the circle. It's a good strategy because when I've left them to their own devices, they have trouble getting started, but with the opportunity to come to the Smart Board, they suddenly have lots of suggestions. The idea I write up there first is "The School Day." Then I model: waking up in the morning, getting ready for school, a few events during the day, and returning home. This will give them plenty of material to write as prepositional phrases if they don't conjur one up on their own.
What I find is major creativity takes place once they get going. Some topics the kids have come up with: Mouse Chase, Dog on a Walk, A Turkey Adventure, To School, A Gumball's Adventure (after the coin drops), The Unicorn, The Backpack, Through the Jungle, Kitten, On Vacation, The Person, Fly, Baby Penguin Around the World, and Pound Puppy (provided in Closure section.)
The kids begin writing rough drafts. They frequently ask me how they can get an idea across without all the words they need. It can be a little challenging, but armed with a list of prepositions, as well as the ones posted on the board, it's always possible to work something out. I also give a little leeway with only using prepositional phrases in certain instances. When this happens, they write those words in highlighter so the prepositional phrase part of the sentences is emphasized. For example: Student Examples of Highlighted Words.
This is one presentation period that will really move along! Even though most every student will want to share, the books are short and it's completely doable to give all the children a chance in under twenty minutes. To make it easy, I have the kids stand with their backs to the class, and hold their preposition books up above their heads. It's not too hard to hear them, and I've found that because the books aren't very big, it's easiest to show the whole class at one time this way.
Once they are finished presenting, I staple them all up to create a Preposition Books Bulletin Board.
Here is a kizoa slideshow of an entire Preposition Book. Unmute at bottom left corner. Clicking on slideshow takes you to kizoa.com