Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Main Idea: Cause and Effect (Lesson 6)

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Lesson Objective

Some texts have a cause and effect organization. Authors use this structure when their main idea is about how one thing causes another. You can outline this organization in a chain.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 6:

Standard: Identify and use knowledge of the organizational structure of a text: main idea and supporting examples (web), chronological order (chain), compare and contrast (T-chart), cause and effect (chain), problem/solution (T-chart).

Use text structure to identify the main idea and supporting details in articles. 

 

Big Idea:  Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.

Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.   

 

Teaching Point: Some texts have a cause and effect organization.  Authors use this structure when their main idea is about how one thing causes another.

You can outline this organization in a chain.

Materials:

Reading Workshop: Reading binders, highlighters and pencils, copies of “Weaving in My Mango Tree”, a mix of sequence, compare/contrast, and cause/effect articles

Note: "Weaving in My Mango Tree" is an article from Highlights Magazine, February, 2010

Read Aloud: Reading binders, One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

 

Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • [Review big ideas on chart]
  • Readers, we started this unit on nonfiction organization by talking about the sequence organization.  Then we learned that authors use a compare/contrast organization if their main idea is about how things are the same and how they are different.
  • Today, I am going to teach you that when an author has a main idea about how something can cause something else, then the author uses a cause/effect organizational structure.  [Show this on chart.] A cause/effect organization is similar to a sequence because things have to go in order, but it is a little different because the focus is more on how something can make something else happen.  And because it is like a sequence, the outlines look similar.  They look like a chain.
  • Today, I am going to read an article that has a cause/effect organization. Put the name of the text (“Weaving in My Mango Tree”) on the top of the page and then write main idea and leave some space. I am telling you that this is a cause/effect organization so you know that the main idea is going to be about how something causes something else.  Just from the subtitle, you should be able to predict what is causing other things to happen.
  • So we know that the cause is going to be something that the weaver ants are doing, and we know that the effect is that they save mango trees. We are going to look for the first cause together, and then I am going to stop after each paragraph and ask you if we should add anything to our cause and effect chain that we make. 

 

This should be a very simple chain. If there are details that student want to add, then you can add them or you can use them as evidence when they write their open response. All they really need to write at this point is: Ants weave cocoons in the trees à Weaver ants eat fruit flies and other insects that harm fruit trees.

 

  • So why was this text a cause/effect organization?  What is the main idea of this text?  T&T.  The main idea was that when weaver ants populate trees, they can eat other insects that harm fruit trees and protect the trees from damage.  So it had to be organized by cause and effect because the point of the text was to teach the reader about all the effects of the weaver ants living in the author’s mango tree.  
  • So readers, tell your partner why an author would use a cause and effect organization.  [Make sure everyone knows that it is used when the author wants to teach the reader how one thing causes other things to happen.]. 
  • [Send students off to read NF texts and make outlines]
  • Share: Share what you think the organizational structure of your book is.

 

Your NF chart should now look like this…(see attached example)

 

Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.

Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.

 

Sequence

 

[insert picture of sequence outline]

 

 

Readers use the order of events to figure out the main idea. 

Compare/Contrast

 

[Insert picture of Venn diagram outline]

 

 

Readers find the main idea by thinking about  what things are being compared and their similarities, differences, or both.

Cause and Effect

 

[insert picture of cause and effect chain]

 

Readers find the main idea by thinking about how one thing causes another thing to happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Aloud Lesson:

The read aloud section of the lesson is usually done during a different part of the day than reading workshop.

  • Today we learned about the cause and effect organization of non-fiction writing. Authors use a cause and effect organization when the author wants to teach us how one thing made something else happen. Today, I am going to read a book to you. This book, One Hen, has a cause/effect organization so you know that the main idea is going to be about how something causes something else.  Just from the title, you should be able to predict what is causing other things to happen. 
  • I am going to stop after each page and ask you if we should add anything to our cause and effect chain that we make.  [Sample one is on the next page.]
  • For today, stop after Kojo earns more money and buys more chickens.
  • Scholars, we are going to finish this book tomorrow. Can someone tell me why this book was a cause/effect organization? Can anyone tell me what they think the main idea of this text is going to be?

Kojo’s dad died.

He had to drop out of school to work.

 

Kojo gets a loan.

He buys a hen.         

He sells the eggs.

He gets money and buys more chickens. (STOP HERE FOR TODAY)

He earns enough money to go back to school.

He starts his own farm. 

He hires a lot of people and pays them.

The town grows.

The country gets stronger.

 

 

Lesson Resources

Lesson 6 Non-fiction Chart.docx  
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