Prepositions of time are very important words in English, and using them accurately can be challenging, even for intermediate and advanced learners.
Native English speakers instinctively know the correct preposition of time to use, but for English language learners, it is a lot more difficult, and mistakes are often made.
This lesson plan about prepositions of time will help your students to learn how and when to use the different prepositions of time. This lesson plan will focus primarily on the prepositions of time at, on, and in, but could be easily adapted to teach other prepositions of time.
All the materials for this lesson can be downloaded below. For related lesson materials not included in this lesson plan, please check the bottom of this page.
MATERIALS FOR THIS LESSON
Prepositions Of Time Lesson Plan | At On In
To begin, introduce the topic of time to students and practice telling the time and talking about days, months, dates, etc. A great way to do this is to ask students to look at the clock and tell you what time it is. Then elicit the words ‘hour’ and ‘minute’ from students.
Write these words on the board and continue eliciting more units of time from students, such as days, months, years, etc. After this, review the key vocabulary and expressions needed to talk about days of the week, months, and dates.
Introduce Prepositions Of Time
Typically English language students are taught prepositions of place early on, and so your students are probably used to using the words at, on, and in when talking about prepositions of place.
Write at, on, and in on the board and explain that these words are pronounced the same as prepositions of place but are used differently when talking about time.
Next, write three example sentences on the board with the preposition of time missing, and ask students to guess whether it should be at, on, or in.
Once students have guessed, let them know the correct answer. Then, ask them to try to identify the ways in which the three sentences are different. This will help them to start thinking about the prepositions of time rules, and you can also check how much the students already know.
Next, it’s time to explain the prepositions of time rules to students and practice with a prepositions of time PPT. Using this prepositions of time PowerPoint (or make your own / write on the board, etc) shows students when they should use at, on, and in in a sentence.
The rules for when to use at, on, in, are as follows:
- At is used for specific times such as times of the day (at 4 o’clock / at midnight), meal times (at lunchtime / at breakfast), holidays (at Christmas / at the weekend), etc.
- On is used for days (on Monday / On Tuesday), dates (on February 15th / on July 1st), specific parts of a day (on Monday morning / on Saturday night), etc.
- In is used for months (in June / in February), years (in 1985 / in 2020), periods of time (in the summer / in the 80s), etc.
Once students have a basic grasp of when to use at, on, or in, they will need plenty of practice making sentences to master prepositions of time.
Using the same PowerPoint presentation as before, practice with the example sentences and the review quiz, and ask students to try to make up their own examples.
Prepositions Of Time Exercise Worksheet
Next, it’s time for students to practice some more with this prepositions of time exercise worksheet. This worksheet has 15 English sentences with the preposition of time missing. Students should read the sentence and then fill in the blank space with either at, on, or in.
Students can complete this worksheet alone, or if you think students will find it a little difficult, you can ask students to work in pairs to try to complete the exercise. Once students have completed the worksheet, check the answers together as a class.
Practice With A Game
A really fun game to get students to practice making prepositions of time sentences is pass the ball. To play, prepare a soft ball that can be easily passed around the class and some fun music.
While the music is playing students should pass the ball. When the music stops, the student with the ball must make a sentence using one of the prepositions of time. Then, using the sentence that the student made, ask all the other students to then change that sentence into the 3rd person. For example:
Student With The Ball: “My birthday is in January.”
Teacher: “When is her birthday?”
All Other Students: “Her birthday is in January.”
To review the class, check students understanding of what they learned during the lesson. A great activity to review your prepositions of time lesson is this prepositions of time quiz. There are 10 questions. Each question shows students a sentence with the preposition of time missing. Students must choose at, on, or in to complete the sentence.