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EL Support Lesson
Cause and Effect in Nonfiction Texts
Students will be able to compare cause-and-effect relationships between texts on a shared topic.
Students will be able to identify and write cause-and-effect sentences with specific vocabulary using a word bank and sentence frames.
- Show students a photograph of a natural disaster (e.g., tornado or a hurricane) with the word "cause" written above it.
- Explain to students that a cause is an event or an idea that explains why something happens.
- Ask students to think of effects or what can happen as a result of this natural disaster (e.g., flooding or destroyed houses) and share their ideas with the person sitting next to them.
- Invite students to share their ideas with the class.
- Tell students that today they will be identifying the causes and effects of different natural disasters.
Building academic language
- Display the vocabulary cards with the words "cause" and "effect." Review the definitions for each term and place the cards at the top of a pocket chart.
- Place six vocabulary cards with different causes (hurricane, earthquake, and blizzard) and effects (flood, tsunami, and avalanche) on the pocket chart.
- Tell students that they will be discussing each word as a class and sorting them based on whether they are a "cause" or an "effect." Model how to complete this sorting activity by showing the students each card and thinking aloud about the definition and whether it is a cause or an effect.
- Read each word and definition aloud and show students a visual representation of each word. Give students time to think before calling on a volunteer to place the card under the correct heading. (Optional: present the vocabulary card in English and a student's home language.)
- Ask students to identify any cards that can be both a cause and an effect (e.g., "avalanche" and "tsunami").
- Model how to use these vocabulary words in a sentence (e.g., "The lightning struck a tree. The earthquake shook our house.")
- Place students in pairs and ask each student to select one vocabulary word to use in a sentence and share it orally with their partner. Invite students to share their sentences with the class.
- Write the following sentence on the board: "When the lightning struck the tree it caught on fire."
- Read the sentence aloud and ask students to think about which part of the sentence is the cause and which part of the sentence is the effect.
- Call on a volunteer to circle the cause (lightning) and underline the effect (it caught on fire).
- Project the Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters worksheet and tell students that they will practice identifying the causes and effects with a partner.
- Read the instructions in Part 1 and draw their attention to the example completed for them.
- Assign students into partnerships to complete Part 1. Review answers as a class once everyone has finished.
- Direct students' attention to Part 2 of the worksheet and read the instructions aloud.
- Tell students to work with their partners to complete Part 2. Review answers as a class once everyone has finished.
- Direct students' attention to the third section of the Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters worksheet. Read the passage aloud as students follow along.
- Distribute highlighters to each student and tell students to reread the passage to themselves and highlight sentences containing causes and effects.
- When they are finished reading and highlighting the passage, have students circle the causes and underline the effects.
- Pair students with a partner and tell them to do the following:
- Compare their answers.
- Discuss the causes and effects of tsunamis found in this text.
- Discuss how the effects of tsunamis are similar and different to other natural disasters.
- Discuss the purpose of this nonfiction text.
- Call on volunteers to share some highlights from their discussions with their partners.
Additional EL adaptations
- Allow ELs to use bilingual dictionaries throughout the lesson to define unfamiliar words.
- Provide ELs with access to the instructions and/or the text in the Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters worksheet in their home language.
- Strategically pair beginning ELs with advanced ELs when working on the Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters worksheet.
- Encourage ELs to model and/or summarize how to complete activities such as sorting the key terms and completing the Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters worksheets.
- Allow ELs to use dictionaries and/or thesauruses throughout the lesson when working with unfamiliar words.
- Strategically pair advanced ELs with beginning or intermediate ELs and have them provide guidance and support to their peers.
Formative Assessment of Academic Language(5 minutes)
- Distribute whiteboards to each student.
- Write a sentence on the board that contains a cause and an effect (e.g., "The intense heat waves led to wildfires throughout California.").
- Ask students to write the cause (heat wave) on their whiteboards.
- Instruct students to hold up their whiteboards so you can assess their understanding.
- Ask students to write the effect (wildfire) on their whiteboards and then hold them up.
- Continue this process with several sentences.
Review and closing(2 minutes)
- Tell students that today they practiced identifying and writing cause-and-effect sentences related to natural disasters.
- Explain that every cause has an effect—and learning to identify them in both fiction and nonfiction texts will strengthen their comprehension and help them grow as readers.
- Challenge students to search for causes and effects in their own reading.