Merlin Mladenova Merlin Mladenova

Time phrases with on, in, at
Beginner level


In this lesson students learn about prepositions of time such as on, in, at. The lesson will start with a lead-in to elicit the TL and later on we will have some controlled and semi-controlled practice which will end up with an interactive activity where students will find out each others' birthdays and get in line according to them.


Abc Pictures for the lead-in
Abc Asking questions stage
Abc Find someone WHO handout
Abc Prepositions chart

Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice of time prepositions "on, in, at" in the context of daily routines.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide accuracy speaking practice through games in the context of daily routines.


Lead-in (2-3 minutes) • To elicit TL from students

I will show ss 3 pictures one by one. From each of them will be elicited one preposition. The first one will be a man skiing on a snowy mountain. I will ask “What is the man doing?” (skiing) “When is he skiing?” (in the winter). Then I will write "In the winter" on the WB. ("in" on the left handside and "the winter" on the other handside) The second one will be a picture of a sleeping girl. “What is she doing?” (sleeping). When is she sleeping? (at night) Again this will be added to the growing chart. The third one will be a picture of a boy blowing birthday candles. I will ask ss: “What can you see in this picture?" and then "This is Jamie. 1 week ago he had a birthday. When is his birthday? (On August 21) (I will write "on" under "in" leaving some space and August, 21 under "the winter, separating them with a line). I will ask SS about their birthdays (just to warm them up for the following activities which will include asking each others' birthdays)

Clarification part (10-13 minutes) • Clarifying TL

I will clarify the TL by eliciting it from the ss. I will start by generalizing the examples we already elicited in the lead-in. 1. We said we are skiing in the winter. What is winter? (elicit a season). What other seasons do we have? (autumn, summer, spring). Add to the chart. 2. We said Jamie had birthday on August, 21st. What is August 21st? (a date). Add to the chart. 3. We said the girl is sleeping at night. What is night? (part of the day). What other parts of the day do we have? (elicit noon and midnight). Add to the "at" chart. 4. What other parts of the day do we have? (elicit morning, evening, afternoon). Make a note here that while we use "at" with "night, midnight and noon", we use "in" with morning, evening and afternoon. Add to the chart. 5. So, Mustafa, can you tell me which month your birthday is? (e.g. in January).Add to the chart. 6. So, what day is today? (Friday). Today we are finishing our course. Ozge, when do we finish our course? (ON Friday). Add to the chart. 7. So when is it that you are not working? (at the weekend). Add to the chart. Make a note here that at the weekend is British English and on the weekend is American, therefore, both uses are possible. 8. What time did we start the class today? (at 6;30). Add "time" to the chart. 9. Clarify that we also use "on" with days+ part of the day e.g Monday morning, Friday afternoon 10. What about the word "yesterday"? Which preposition do we use with it? (none) Some drilling takes place.

Fill in the columns (3-5 minutes) • Controlled practice

"OK, Now we are going to practice their use a bit." Chest HO."Here you have some sentences. You need to fill the gaps with the correct preposition." Spread HOs. Give ss 1-2 minutes maximum. I am not going to delete the WB so that ss can take a look if they have difficulties. WCFB.

Answer the questions (4-6 minutes) • Freer activity

Students are divided into pairs. Each person in the pair is given a piece of paper with 4 questions on it. Students ask the questions to each other by taking turns. Students answer by using the prepositions. Monitoring + delayed error correction takes place.

Tic-Tac-Toe (8-10 minutes) • Controlled practice + freer activity together

Divide the class into small teams and pair each team off with another team. Then hand out the preposition grids and cards. Tell the teams that they are going to play a game of Tic-Tac-Toe where the objective is to make grammatically correct sentences in order to form a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row of Xs or Os. Teams decide whether they want to be O or X. The first team picks a card from the envelope. They then choose a square in the grid containing the preposition that they think will match with the time or place expression on the card. The team then makes a sentence using the preposition and time or place expression. If everyone judges the sentence correct, the team marks the square with an O or X. The other team then plays. Teams score one point every time they achieve three in a row. The team with the highest score wins. As students will be playing several rounds, either have them mark their square.

Find someone who (3-4 minutes) • FInishing activity + practice of the forms

Ss are given HO's with questions. They walk around the classroom and ask the questions in the HOs.. Example: Do you have a birthday in July? When someone answers yes to their question, they write their name in the corresponding column and ask a follow-up question, e.g. Where, When, Why, etc. They try to find a different student for each sentence.

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