Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cause and Effect, Pin It to Win It, and a Sale

Truth time: I hated disliked teaching cause and effect up until this past week.

Why? Because it is a confusing concept and when I have 20 children yelling out, "Cause, no effect, no cause, effect," I no longer even know the answers to the questions! I'm just keepin' it real here.

I've always taught my students that it is easier to find the effect, or what happened, first and then think about why it happened. This worked okay, but was still a little confusing for me the kids. I was determined to come up with a better way to teach this!

The breakthrough came on Wednesday while we were working in our interactive notebooks. I decided to take a different approach and, instead of asking what happened, we started by asking, "What caused something to happen?" It was truly a breakthrough and the answer to one of the greatest mysteries in all my teaching career!! LOL It was such an easier way to do things.

I guess I'd just never really thought about how to formulate the question so that the kiddos could find the cause first. Where have I been!?! Teaching in a cave, apparently!

Things went much better after we made this little discovery and the kiddos agreed that it was much less confusing and easier to identify the cause and effect this way.

Now that we've gotten through my little "moment" and how I explain things to my kiddos, I thought I'd share some of the activities we did during our lessons this week.

We read this book and created an anchor chart. 

We used this free worksheet from Super Teacher Worksheets and another sheet where students were given the cause and had to come up with the effect. That one was challenging for some of my students!

On Wednesday the fun and breakthroughs really started! Half the class did a scavenger hunt in the hallway and the other half worked in the classroom with me in our interactive notebooks. 

The Cause and Effect Scavenger Hunt was from Anna Fausnight on TPT and was so much fun!! My kiddos loved getting out of the classroom and wandering around the hallways! I put the cards up before they came upstairs on Wednesday morning and just the sight of the cards got everyone excited about class! 

The kiddos inside made what we nicknamed fry boxes for our interactive notebooks. 

I teach 3 different ELA classes, each with a different ability level, so I created 3 different versions of this activity. All of my classes had a lot of success with it, too! Every time I use IN's I fall just a little more in love. Aren't they just great?!?

After we got everything glued in our notebooks and the sentences sorted, I pulled them up on the Smarboard and we look at signal words for both cause and effect. We added the signal words above the fry boxes and some reminder questions below. 

This is a picture of a notebook from the below level group and he did such a great job on it!! I really liked how he made the divider on the page! 

If you'd like to win a copy of this activity just pin the image below and leave a comment with the link to your pin. I'll choose a winner on Monday evening! 

I've also got everything in my TPT store 10% off through tomorrow and you can use the code FB100K for an extra 10% off!! 

Anyone else think Cause and Effect is a difficult concept? What tricks do you use to help make it easier for your students? 


  1. Just about to journey into this skill. Would love to use your lesson!

  2. Great resource!

  3. Totally agree! I've always struggled to teach this concept as well. Thanks for the tips and would love to give this a try.

  4. I love using those books for cause and effect...tons of examples in them! Your activity would be great to use with my class!

  5. I love this idea! Seems very simple & a way to teach the concepts explicitly.

  6. I also hate cause and effect! The kids just don't understand what is going on! Once a drew a gorgeous anchor chart with the angry birds and the kids still didn't get it! Your sentence sort looks amazing! I love the key words! & I think I'll pick up a "If you give.." book to help out !

  7. Cause and Effect has always been a difficult concept to teach, your resource will indeed assist me in teaching this concept and I am sure my kiddos will love it!!!




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