Cause and Effect is the backbone of books and literature. In any great book, one event happens, which leads to another, then another, and so on until a story is woven and an emotional experience has occurred. As true as this is for narrative text, Cause and Effect is the driving force behind most informational text also. Any biography is a series of Cause and Effect leading to a historical figures greatest life moments. A book that teaches about animals offers example after example of Cause and Effect. A chemistry book is a chain of Cause and Effect situations. For these reasons and many more, it is important for students to understand this concept and apply it to enhance their comprehension.
I like to spend a sufficient amount of time on each strategy to allow for an introduction, modeling, scaffolding, independent practice, assessment, and reflection. Therefore, I spend approximately 1 week on each strategy and follow a similar instructional routine. This is day 4 of Cause and Effect Week – Assessment.
Connection: I always start by connecting today’s lesson to something kids have previously learned so that it triggers their schema and background knowledge. Since this is the fourth day they are learning about Cause and Effect, I make a connection to the independent practice lesson we did yesterday. I remind them that yesterday, they applied the Cause and Effect strategy to their own books. And now that they’ve practiced Cause and Effect in different ways throughout the week, it is time to prove that they understand it.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say that today they will be filling out a Cause and Effect Guide while they are reading a book of their choice. They will turn in the Guide as an assessment of their understanding. I will use those to provide feedback to the students and parents. The Guides also help me put together flexible strategy groups for small group instruction.
Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I place a copy of the Guide on the projector and show students our current Read Aloud book. I fill in the name, date, and title of the book in the appropriate spots. The Guide says to provide 3 examples of Cause and Effect from the text. I ask the students for their suggestions. After a minute or two of thinking time, I tell them to turn and talk to their partner to share their ideas then call on some to share. I write down their suggestions.
Link to Ongoing Work: During this portion of the mini-lesson, I give the students a task that they will focus on during Independent Reading time. I tell them that during Independent Reading, their job is to complete their own Cause and Effect Guide with their own book. I remind them that this will be turned in for a grade/feedback at the end of Independent Reading time so it should be their best quality work. When they finish their task, they should continue reading books from their browsing box. After asking if there are any questions, I send them off for Prep Time.
Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get five minutes of Prep Time to choose new books (if needed), find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for forty minutes of uninterrupted Independent Reading.
Guided Practice: Today, I will be conferencing with students right at their comfy spots and helping some with their Guide. This is also when I could pull students for assessments, one-on-one reading, strategy groups, or guided reading groups.
Closing: At the end of 40 minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to complete their Guide. They should make sure all parts are filled and place them in the Finished Basket. I then tell the class that we will wrap up our Cause and Effect work tomorrow. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end so students put their browsing boxes away and make sure the library is neat and organized.