You may think that teaching cause and effect is an important reading comprehension skill - and it is. But, to put it in context, students need to understand that the events that happen in a story aren't random coincidences if they are to understand the story events and details. When we look at cause and effect, we are seeing the text as a narrative with interrelated events and characters (RL.1.3). Our first graders need to see that cause and effect relationships in narratives are like the domino effect. Once one starts to fall - it's a chain reaction after that. Students will continue to develop this skill until they reach the anchor standard where they will need to analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text (CCRA.R3).
For today's lesson you'll need the book "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears" by Verna Aardema and either the Smartboard Why Mosquitos Buzz in Peoples Ears.notebook or the Activboard Why Mosquitos Buzz in Peoples Ears.flipchart lesson. You will also need to make enough student work packets Student Work Packet Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears.pdf for each of you students.
I like to have my students work in diverse groups. Instead of using my partner picking cards I did something different today. I said, "Line up how we usually do when we are going somewhere." Then I chose the first and last person in line to be partners, and then made my way into the middle of the group in that way. I told each pair which table to sit at and then passed out the student packets.
Once students were situated I stated the objective and gave my students an overview of what we'd be doing today. I said, "Today we are going to be reading a story called "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears". We are going to analyze the text today and see what causes certain events to happen in the story and what happens as a result of certain events. We are going to record our information on a multi-flow map and then answer questions about our story. Let's get started."
I read page 2 of the story. After reading the story I said, "Partners, I want you to talk about what caused the iguana to put two sticks in his ears and then go off through the reeds going mek, mek, mek." Partners had time to talk and then we had a class discussion. I said, "Who would like to share what you and your partner discussed?" After someone shared, I called on another person. "What do you think about what they just said? Do you agree or disagree?" Once students came to a consensus I showed them the multi-flow map on slide 3 of the Smartboard lesson. I said "Record that mosquito was telling iguana lies in the cause box on your multi-flow map on page 1 of your student packet.
We continued on in this manner. I would read a part of the story, partners would discuss, then the class would discuss. Finally, students would record the cause and effects on their multi-flow map. Here is what we did:
You can see a portion of this part of the lesson by watching this video Our First Cause - Day One Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears.mp4 .
It is important that students are able to respond to text and answer text dependent questions. I am trying to step back and really let my students work independently. I don't want my students to think that they need me at every turn. So in this part of the lesson I explained my expectations and had them get to work. I said, " Now it's your turn to answer the questions on page 3 and 4 in your student work packet. You will use your multi-flow map as a tool to help you answer your questions. Remember you need to answer the questions in complete sentences. If you need to ask your partner a question you may do so. It's time to get to work."
I walked around the room. I helped my students who need more support read the questions. If I saw a mistake with conventions I would ask questions like "How do we start a sentence? What kind of punctuation do you need to have?" If students seemed stuck I would say, "What tool could you use to help yourself out?" When I ask questions, my students still need to go back and see what they've done wrong. They are in fact finding their own mistakes. This is much more powerful for my students than if I point out their mistakes and tell them how to fix it. You can see a portion of this part of the lesson here Answering Our Questions - Day One Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears.mp4 .
If you've read any of my other lessons, you know that I like my closures to be short and sweet. I pulled out my hacky sack. I said, "We are going to sum up our learning right now." Then I asked the question, "Why did the iguana put two sticks in his ear and go of in the reeds going mek,mek, mek?" I tossed the koosh ball to a student and let them answer. Then I asked the remaining questions:
Each time I asked a question, the student who had the koosh ball would toss it to someone new. Even though it was a closure where I just asked questions, it became a lot more fun when we added the koosh ball to the mix.