Today's Blog: Teaching Cause and Effect Vocabulary

Vocabulary instruction makes a significant difference to the way students think about, articulate and write about ideas. For example, a student might say about a character:
Max is angry.
We can have a discussion with them where we ask: 'How can we take the adjective angry and make it the topic of the sentence - so that it's actually the thing doing something'.
So the sentence now starts:
Max's anger....
What are all the actions anger can do? A student might sake 'make', as in 'anger makes'. Well, let's brainstorm some more interesting words for 'make':
*leads to
Now the student's sentence starts like this:
Max's anger forces....
The student's task is now to finish the sentence. However they finish it, it will most likely articulate a more interesting thought than 'Max is angry'. So vocabulary instruction has moved the student from basic thinking about Max to more complex thinking.
This vocabulary procedure above touches upon cause and effect - a relationship that we are often looking at in our English classes, whether it be in analysising the impact of persuasive writing upon the reader, the impact of events and actions in an issues unit, or how characters' behaviours affect the course of events in texts we study. We've got a very practical resource here that you can use with students to model simple and more complex cause and effect sentences. It works best if you generate a list of topic nouns relevant to your class focus. The resource then steps students through how they can create sentences such as:

*The actions of every predator create fear within all weaker animals, causing them to flee.

*As a passionate and largely unsupervised teenager, nearly every one of Romeo’s decisions stem from his teenage impulsiveness and then lead to destructive problems.

But they need to first start by ticking a topic noun for the sentence.
We'll be discussing a huge range of other practical ideas like this to teach students vocabulary in our upcoming workshop How To Teach Vocabulary and Spelling In The Years 5-10 Literacy and English Classroom. Find out all the details about the workshop here.

Liked this lesson idea - find hundreds more on our lesson blog Tomorrow's Class here.