What's on the Table?


Purpose:  To practice “there is” and “there are” and prepositional phrases

Prep time:  10 minutes

Materials:  10-12 objects familiar to students, such as pencils, pens, books, cups, etc.

Prep:  Arrange the objects in various positions on a table or desk in full view of students, keeping in mind the prepositions you want them to practice.


  1. Give the students several minutes to look at the items.  You might want to invite them to gather around the table.  Tell them they need to try to remember everything they see on the table.
  2. Cover the table and ask them to talk about what’s on the table.  Model an appropriate response, for example: There are two pencils next to the notebook.
  3. Elicit as many sentences as you can, then ask questions: “Is there one pencil next to the notebook?”  Continue as long as activity is useful and interesting for learners.


  • Take away the objects and have students use past tense to talk about what was on the table.
  • Take away one or two objects and mix present and past tense practice.
  • After the students study the objects on the table, cover it up and have them write as many sentences as they can, using “There is….” and “There are….”


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