Celebrate Dr. Seuss and teach prepositional phrases!

According to Charles D. Cohen’s Seuss biography, THE SEUSS AND NOTHING BUT THE SEUSS (Random House/2004), Ted Geisel loved playing with words. Even at age 14, he wrote “O Latin,” a parody of Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain!” for the Recorder.  So why not celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday (or just have fun teaching prepositional phrases? –No seriously! It’s possible!) Try my PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE GAME with your students:

Materials needed:
GREEN EGGS AND HAM by Dr. Seuss (Random House), 1 hat (a red striped Cat-in-the-Hat hat is optional), strips of paper and pencils.

1. To prep the class for The Prepositional Phrase Game (pun intended) tell them Dr. Seuss’ GREEN EGGS AND HAM is full of prepositions. (Write the definition of a prep phrase on the board: a group of words beginning with a preposition–words like in, for, to, with, after, near–and usually ending with a noun or pronoun.)

2. Read p.19-20 of GREEN EGGS AND HAM and point out the prep phrases.

3. Next, read the entire book and have students raise their hands when they recognize prep phrases.

4. NOW, have each student write a prep phrase that describes a location in their class room on a slip of paper. (Under the desk, near the flag, etc.) Collect them in a HAT. (Did you know that Dr. Seuss had an enormous hat collection, and this was the inspiration for THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS ?)

5. NOTE: be sure to write a few Non-prepositional phrases of your own and put them in the hat. Examples: find the book case, touch the door handle, walk to the white board, etc. (think “Simon Says”)

6. Have the class stand, and tell them you will read one paper out loud at a time. If it is a correct prepositional phrase, they must follow the direction (ex they must ALL move “near the flag” if they think it is a correct pp). If they move on a phrase that is not a correct pp, they must sit down. The fun begins when they all have to huddle “under Jake’s desk” or sit “on top of my desk.” (Sneak a few of those into the hat too!)

I made this game up on a day when we had a few extra minutes to kill and from then on, it was a class favorite. Your students will never forget what a prepositional phrase is again!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

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