To wrap up our study on text structure, we are going to work with cause and effect. I chose to teach this structure last because so many students seem to struggle with identifying the causes and effects of different situations. They often will reverse them. I wanted to ensure we had every other structure mastered before working with cause and effect.
To get them thinking in terms of cause and effect, I will have the students match up causes with effects. I'll give them a handout and have them work quietly to match up the cause to the effect. I'll allow them about five minutes. As they are working, I will circulate the room to assess overall understanding of cause and effect.
Then, I'll ask the students to do a Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up to see what their peers did. It's always nice to engage them right away, get them moving and involved in the lesson.
Finally, I'll elicit responses from a few students and have a discussion about cause and effect.
To begin with, I will pass out the blank graphic organizer template and have the students work to cut out the template paragraph and graphic organizer. The students really enjoy using the graphic organizers to take notes. They are very engaging and really provide the students with an organized tool to study from later. I have found these very helpful templates at imlovinlit.blogspot.com. They are a nominal fee and are worth every penny!
I will allow the students about six minutes to cut out the template and set up their interactive spirals.
Once the students have everything taped in and ready to go, I will project the Text Structure power point and on the slide that is titled Cause & Effect. I will go through the slides with the students. I will model with the passages provided and discuss how the structure is developed using the clue words.
I will spend some time discussing how an author can present the cause or the effect first and how we can identify that by using the clue words.
Now it is time for the students to see how the structure is built. To do this, and to engage them, I like to use colors!
I will project the paragraph from the template onto the board and have the students open their interactive spirals to the template. I will use this paragraph as guided practice.
First, I will read the paragraph aloud so the students are able to focus on the content of the paragraph. Next, we will discuss the main idea of the paragraph and what it is about. Finally, I want the students to see the details found within the paragraph and that create the structure.
I'll go through with the students and underline all the "causes" in one color and all of the "effects"l in a different color. I'll have the students follow along with me working in their spirals. As we are underlining the details, I like to ask how an author will construct the cause and effect in the paragraph. I'll highlight or point out the clue words.
Next, using the graphic organizer, I will guide the students on how to create a completed graphic organizer using the paragraph. First, we will decide on and write the topic of the paragraph in the middle of the graphic organizer. Next, we will go through and write the causes we identified on the left side (arrows) and then the effects on the write side (funky bubbles). I will have the students copy the details in the graphic organizer using the same colors we used in the paragraph. This will allow them to see how it was constructed. Also, it keeps them engaged! It's amazing what a little coloring can do!
Cause and Effect is one structure you think would be very easy for the students to grasp. However, they really struggle with identifying which is the cause and which is the effect. They always seem to reverse the two. It can be very frustrating because it just makes sense to us! Why doesn't it just make sense to them?
Today, as I was modeling, I stopped to address some confusion as to which statement was the cause and which was the effect. I ended up telling the kids a trick that I have found helpful. I asked them to say "because of _______________, this happened." They were able to find much more success using this statement. It seemed to help them pinpoint the cause and then go from there to identify the effect.
I think, in future lessons, I will spend a little time within this lesson to practice identifying cause and effect. It really seems to stop the lesson and confuse the students. I think it would be helpful for their understanding of the structure.
I really want the students to reflect on cause and effect and work with understanding the clue words. To close the lesson today, I want them to write a list of words down that are good clue words that we could use to help us identify the structure of cause and effect.
I'll ask the students to complete a Closure Slip. I can use this to assess their learning and plan future lessons.