I discuss with students what a ‘cause’ is and what an ‘effect’ is. I like to give familiar examples. Say: What would CAUSE me to get a drink of water? (you feel thirsty) The EFFECT of feeling thirsty is getting a drink of water. I do this to establish understanding of what CAUSE and EFFECT are and how they show relationships between words/phrases. When kids have familiar content, they are more free to focus on the skill that is being taught.
Partner talk: Share with your partner what might CAUSE you to run. Running is the EFFECT. Why would you run? (playing baseball, running a race, afraid of something, etc.) Turn and talk.
____ causes me to run.
I run because ____.
I show students the cause/effect map with only the EFFECT portion filled out. I draw this on a large chart paper.
Say: Today we will be identifying the CAUSES in the story that led to the child not being able to sleep. The child not being able to sleep is the EFFECT. Let’s read this large box together. It is on the right side, so that means that it is the EFFECT. Let’s read the EFFECT together. I touch, you read. “I touch, you read” is a prompt I use from the beginning of the year. The kids know that I just point and they read each word. The sight words they should know by now, but the non sight words I let them try to figure out and if they can’t, we sound them out together. After we’ve worked our way through the entire EFFECT I prompt: Now let’s read it together like good readers do. We read the whole phrase “the child could not sleep” without stopping.
I teach my students both the ‘so’ and ‘because’ forms of cause/effect. For the ‘so’ map I say: What is the first CAUSE from our story? (Mockingbird singing) I am going to write the CAUSE “Mockingbird was singing” and I need your help! How do I write /m/ for Mockingbird? (m) It is the first word in our sentence, so what kind of letter should I write? (capital) How do I write /o/? (o) I continue to stretch the words in this fashion as I write them so kids can help me match sounds to letters.
After the last word in the sentence I ask: What do we put last in a sentence that is TELLING us something? (period) I use that same prompt for each sentence to reinforce those basic skills that are so important in writing. I ask: What picture should we draw to go with this sentence? (mockingbird singing) I quickly sketch a mockingbird in the ‘cause’ box with the sentence. I do this so my struggling readers have that picture clue to help them with both reading and understanding.
I have also had the kids come up and write the letters, the punctuation and draw the picture to make this more of a shared writing experience. It usually depends on how much time I have as to whether this is more teacher guided or shared.
We then read the whole cause/effect sentence together: Mockingbird was singing SO the child could not sleep. I stress to the kids that those phrases are related by cause/effect. I do this so the kids understand that word and phrases are put together because they have a relationship to each other.
I follow the same format for each of the CAUSE events.
While the students are still on the carpet with me I show them the ‘because’ cause/effect map. I say: There is another way we can state cause/effect and that is using the word ‘because.’ Everyone say ‘because.’ (students echo)
We know what the effect was in our story Wind Says Goodnight. Let’s read it again together. (we choral read the effect) When the EFFECT comes first in our sentence, we use the word ‘because’ to link it to the CAUSE. Listen as I read off the map for the first sentence. I read: The child could not sleep because Mocking bird was singing. I say: Now you read it with me. (We choral read the entire Mockingbird sentence) I ask: What do I draw here? (a mockingbird)
I say: Do you see the rest of the cause/effect events here? I am going to give you a map to share with your partner and your job is to read off the map. Everybody say “read of the map.” (students echo) What do I mean when I ask you to “read off the map?” (read the statements on the map like a good reader-which is without stopping with fluidity)
I say: I want each of you to read each cause/effect statement off the map two times. One partner goes first, then the second person reads the same statement. Who wants to practice with me? (I choose one student to come up and I model the expectation)
I continue: After you have read each cause/effect statement off the map, you and your partner can illustrate each one. You have to draw small pictures because the boxes are small! Are there any questions?
As students are reading, I monitor and stop at each pair to listen to them read. This gives me the 1:1 time that my struggling readers need and it also allows me to informally assess reading progress.
I also ask each pair: Tell me why the child could not sleep? What CAUSED the child to not sleep? (student can give me any of the events as a cause) I ask: What EFFECT came from the Frog strumming(I use different causes for each pair). I do this to see if they understand cause/effect.
As students finish, they put their papers on my chair and return to the carpet.