Cause and Effect With "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake"

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SWBAT verbalize and write cause and effect relationships by using the book "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake".

Big Idea

We spend a great deal of time teaching children how to read independently. This lesson will focus on listening comprehension, speaking and listening, and writing cause and effect relationships.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

5 minutes

     I collaborate closely with my team.  We all make a few lessons that address the Common Core standards and then share with each other.  It makes life a lot less stressful when you have a team you can depend on.  If you don't collaborate with your team like this, I highly recommend that you start. This lesson was made by my wonderful teammate, Lauren Clowers.  She said it would be fine if I shared this with all of you.

     Comprehension is an important skill when teaching reading.  I share stories with my current students about past students who could read the words like lightning but couldn't understand what they read.  I tell my students that if you don't understand what you read, then you really aren't reading.  In this lesson the students are working on the skill of listening comprehension.  They'll listen to the story, use accountable talk to discuss the story, and write the cause effect relationships on a student work packet. 

      You will need the story, "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake" and the student packet listed in this section. Look at the teacher answer key.  Preview your book and where you are going to stop and discuss the cause and effects from the answer key with some sticky notes. Lauren has listed 3 cause and effects on the first page, but she has more listed on another page.  You can recreate her worksheet if you'd like if you wanted to practice other cause and effects from the story.  After you have copied the packet, you are ready to go. 

Read Aloud and Discussion of the Story

10 minutes

     With the full implementation of Common Core coming soon my district is training teachers how to use accountable talk in the classroom.  I'm working hard to make sure kids are talking.  I'm starting to see the culture of my class changing ever since I've made students accountable for listening and speaking.  Their attention is more focused because they know they will have to answer to someone. 


     Partner your students up and have them sit next to each other on the carpet.  Make sure they are wearing their accountable talk necklaces. If you don't know about the necklaces, check out the video in this section. The video is actually from a different lesson but I wanted to include it so you could see how I have set up accountable talk in my classroom.  It will help you in this lesson as well.

     Begin reading the story and then stop after the part where the cat wants sprinkles and they fall on the floor.  Ask the students, "What will happen if the cat gets sprinkles?  Person 1 - you are the speaker.  Tell your partner what you think and speak in complete sentences.  Person 2- you are the listener.  Ask your partner why they think that and what their evidence is." After student partners have had a chance to talk, discuss as a class.  You can really make students think after the first student responds.  You can ask, "What do you think about what she just said.  What is your evidence?"

     Then you'll continue reading and stop at the part about seeing the lake and making your row.  Ask the students, "What will happen when the cat sees the lake?  Person 2 - you are the speaker now.  Tell your partner what you think and speak in complete sentences.  Person 1 - you are the listener.  Ask your partner why they think that and what their evidence is." After partners have talked, discuss as a class. 


     Finally you'll read to the point where he is the captain of the boat and he makes you row.  Ask the students "What will happen if he becomes the captain of the boat? Person 1 - you are the speaker.  Tell your partner what you think and speak in complete sentences.  Person 2 - you are the listener. Ask your partner why they think that and what their evidence is." After partners have talked, discuss as a class.


     I really wanted to partner and group talk about these 3 points since we would be writing about them.  So we just finished the story and enjoyed it.  If you wanted to do more of the cause and effects in another lesson, you may make the decision to stop the story at this point.

Guided Practice (We Do)

10 minutes

     I had a simple lesson displayed on my interactive whiteboard.  I have them here for you as resources.  I passed out the student packets and we were ready to go. 

      I told the students, "We just talked about what would happen if we gave the cat sprinkles.  That is the cause.  The effect is what happens next because of that first thing happening.  So.. what happens when the cat got sprinkles?"  Since we just read and discussed the story, my students were able to answer this easily.  If your students really struggle with listening comprehension, don't worry.  Go back to that part of the  story and read it again.  This will help your students. Once the student answered I said, "OK - let's write that. "  Since we had just discussed this, most of my student's writing is very similar.  I pointed on my board where they should write, but I didn't write anything on the board.  I didn't want this to be a copying activity.  This lesson was done at the very beginning of the year.  It really was the first time we had done a cause and effect activity.  I wanted to start students off right and have them practice skills correctly. You will see in later lessons that I  model less so students are able to see the cause and effect relationships on their own.  But for right now, it's fine that their writing is similar to each other.

      I repeated this same process with the parts of if he sees a lake and if he becomes the captain of a row boat.  I asked the students what happened and since we had just finished speaking with our partners, my students had no problem answering my questions.  Again, the students writing is similar because we had discussed what to write but I didn't write anything on the board because I didn't want this to be a copying activity. At this point in the year, this is just fine.  Plus, my students are using their phonics skills when they don't copy.

Making Your Own Cause and Effect

15 minutes

After we were done with the first page,  I said, "Did you know we can talk about cause and effects with things we do every day?  We are going to write and draw about our own cause and effects."  I then showed them Mrs. Clowers drawing from the teacher answer key.  I also gave some more examples such as,   "If I don't set my alarm, then I oversleep.  If I don't listen to the rules, then I have to turn my behavior card.  If I work really hard in school, I can go to college."

Then I asked students for other examples and we shared some as a class.  I asked the students if they understood what to do and then I let them get to work. 

     I have two videos for you to see here in the resource section. The first video was when I was walking around as students were working and I asked them what their cause and effect was.  I could tell from students answers that they had a good grasp of cause and effect relationships. The second video is some examples of student work and a quick reflection of how I felt about the quality of my student's work. 


3 minutes

To close this lesson, I asked the students if they could tell me about the cause and effect that they made.  If you watch the video you'll see what a few of my students said.