Black Blizzard: Cause and Effect

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SWBAT: identify the causes and effects of the American Dust Bowl, in this reading comprehension lesson.

Big Idea

This lesson is great for Response to Intervention, to be left with a substitute, or reinforcement during testing!

Previewing Vocab

15 minutes

It's become pretty important to me this year to preview vocabulary with my students. There are so many times that a text becomes inaccessible, due to a student not knowing some of the words. Once I realized that, I've really tried to make an effort to explicitly teach vocabulary them might encounter. I have used many strategies this year for vocab, but it a pinch, I go for the quick sketch of the vocab words--especially when the words lend themselves to that visual aspect (like "migration," for example).

For today, I drew a quick sketch of the vocab organizer, but students can certainly do this on their own. I defined the words for them, gave them some examples, and then allowed them to draw their own visual representation. It's funny, because I'll always have a students show me a drawing of their word and ask, "Is this right?" There aren't really any wrong answers because I want them to draw what they naturally visualize.

Incidentally, I thought that these words did a really nice job of giving the students the ability to predict what the text was about, so I asked them about that:


40 minutes

Depending on the class, I read Black Blizzard aloud (for my Advanced, I allowed them to read it to themselves).   I chose this text because students get really engaged and interested in reading about the dustbowl.

As I was reading, I pointed out transitions that clued us into the fact that we were reading a cause or effect. As we read, we used the Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer, and students completed it as we concluded the text.

I talk about this in my reflection, but it's important to note that the middle box on the Graphic Organizer can confuse students. It's important to remind them that an effect of one event can, in fact, become a cause of another event.