Prepositions and English Language Learners

One of my kindergarten friends has really been struggling with identifying and using prepositions correctly. He’s a wonderful reader, so he can read them – but he doesn’t really understand what they mean when used independently. We know this both through conversing with him and through OnlineIPT placement test results.

To strengthen this skill, I designed a lesson to help him activate prior learning about prepositions and to continue this learning. The lesson involved him using his prior learning to identify prepositions on an anchor chart he’d co-created. Then, we used a “we do/you do” strategy to write a book about prepositions with decreasing levels of scaffolding.


As you can see, Z got some scaffolding in the first two pages. He was told which preposition to use and got a sentence starter, but he had to identify the preposition, transfer it to the bottom of the page, and model the preposition physically for me to take a picture of. Then, he finished the sentence. In later pages, Z came up with his own prepositions (which is why some of them are repeated), wrote sentences, identified prepositions, and modeled the preposition.

Now that he has finished the book, it is a part of his daily book baggie. He takes this book home and reads it to his mother nightly, allowing for increased exposure and practice identifying prepositions.

Here is the formal lesson plan I turned in:

Subject Area: English/Language Arts

Relevant TEKS: 

110.11.B(5)  Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it correctly when reading and writing. Students are expected to:

(A)  identify and use words that name actions, directions, positions, sequences, and locations;

Relevant ELPS:

(3)  Cross-curricular second language acquisition/speaking. The ELL speaks in a variety of modes for a variety of purposes with an awareness of different language registers (formal/informal) using vocabulary with increasing fluency and accuracy in language arts and all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in speaking. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student’s level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:

(B)  expand and internalize initial English vocabulary by learning and using high-frequency English words necessary for identifying and describing people, places, and objects, by retelling simple stories and basic information represented or supported by pictures, and by learning and using routine language needed for classroom communication;

Relevant CCRS:

  1.              B.

Understand new vocabulary and concepts

and use them accurately in reading,

speaking, and writing.


Identify new words and concepts acquired

through study of their relationships to other

words and concepts.

Lesson Objective(s)/Performance Outcomes:

Content: I will be able to use prepositions, or location words, when I write and speak.

Language: I will be able to use prepositions correctly when I speak.

Timeline and Lesson:

Go over objectives and discuss real-world application: we use prepositions to help us understand directions and things people say. If we get lost on the way to Kroger, we want to be able to know if Kroger is in front of or behind us. If our cat runs away, we want to be able to tell people she is in the tree or on top of the roof. This also activates prior learning about what prepositions are as we transition into making a formal connection to previous anchor chart.


Make a connection to previous lesson with Mrs. Davidson: go over anchor chart and activate prior learning about prepositions. Ask Z to use a few prepositions orally to check for understanding.


Then, tell Z we are going to make a book for him to be able to practice prepositions with. This book will live in his book baggie for him to review. First, we will read the book together and identify the prepositions. Z will write the prepositions on the space in his book.


Then, Z will get to act out the prepositions somewhere in the room, and I will take his picture to add to the book. Z will read the preposition and then act it out. For example, he might read, “Z is near,” add “the globe,” and then go stand near the globe. Z will act out eight prepositions during this activity.


(I will print the pictures and bring them to school on Monday; we will extend the lesson and add them to the book then.)


 Transition into assessment.

Assess using below criteria.


Content And Language:

As an exit ticket, I will have an item that he will move to represent four different prepositions: on, under, above, and between. Z will orally identify the preposition to help me find the item.


Measure of Success:

3 – Can accurately identify all four prepositions

2- Can accurately identify 2 or 3 prepositions

1-    Can accurately identify 0 or 1 prepositions.

Z will also self-assess.

Materials and Resources

-anchor chart


-book pages


Management of the Instructional Environment (strategies for engaging, motivating, and inspiring students): Write the learning targets out for reference and explicitly talk about why we learn what we are learning. One-on-one instruction and extension/intervention for Z. Student-led discussions, close proximity to students

Technology Integration

Taking pictures to add to the book for Z.

Diversity and Equity

Language Adaptations/Modifications (for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students: Comprehension and vocabulary support; teaching inferencing; questioning; checking for understanding; pre-teaching vocabulary

Special Needs Modifications: Working one-on-one with Z allows me to extend the learning past what might be average in a kindergarten classroom.




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