Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Causes and Effects

This week, I switched our focus from looking at chronological order text to looking at cause and effect text. Students often confuse these two text structures, and with good reason. After all, cause and effect text usually uses elements of chronological order. Causes come before effects!

As I was thinking about how to introduce causes and effects, I remembered the frog Powerpoint that I made two summers ago. I made a quick little "cause/effect" table for students to fill out as we looked at the different pictures. Because we had just learned about physical adaptations, the frog slides helped students to see a content area connection. In addition, they learned that "result" is a synonym for "effect".

After we looked at the frogs, students generated their own causes and effects. Some of them were definitely inventive! We used the "give one/get one" activity to share our causes and effects. Students walked around the room and shared their causes and effects with one another. Then, once we got back together, they nominated their favorite causes and effects to be shared on a group poster.

Of course, learning causes and effects is lots of fun. But we do have to apply this knowledge to text. Our next step will be to look at a short text about the Boston molasses disaster, and use the idea of cause and effect to represent the information with a graphic organizer. (If you are looking for cause and effect text, natural disasters are often a good bet!)

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