Direct Instruction Lesson Plan Template

Grade Level/Subject: 3rd / Reading
Central Focus: Students will use literature to learn about
cause-and-effect, a comprehension skill
Essential Standard/Common Core Objective:
3.RL.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate
understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the
basis for the answers.
Date submitted:
Describe the logical connection between particular sentences
and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect,
first/second/third in a sequence).
Daily Lesson Objective: Students will independently formulate and develop cause-and-effect
relationships using a template to create an original story on a comic strip via a supplied writing
prompt with 80% accuracy.
21st Century Skills: Collaborate
Academic Language Demand (Language Function and
with Others:
Demonstrate ability to work
Demand: listen-to read aloud, speak- in groups to complete
effectively and respectfully with
worksheet, write- sentences to make comic strip
diverse teams
Function: create- students will create cause-and-effect
Work Independently: Monitor,
comic strips
define, prioritize and complete
Vocabulary: cause-and-effect, master, slave, stutter, comic
tasks without direct oversight
strip, caption, dialogue balloon, illustration
Prior Knowledge: Students should have been exposed to the words cause and effect. Students
should already have knowledge about the underground railroad and slavery. Students should be
able read chapter books with sufficient accuracy and fluency for comprehension.

1. Focus and

Description of Activities and Setting
Re-introduce the concept of cause-and-effect with some simple
sentences. On the board, write the following two sentences.
a. The students stayed in and played board games during
b. It was raining outside during recess time.
Explain to students what cause and effect means “the cause of
something is always what happens first and the effect is the
resulting outcome or what happens second. Does this mean
that the cause will always be first in a sentence though? No! A
lot of times, we don’t learn the cause until after we know the
effect. That’s why cause-and-effect can be tricky!” Have a
student volunteer go to the board and label which event he or
she thinks happened first and which happened second. Once
the student has successfully identified that sentence b
happened first and was the cause of the students staying inside
and playing board games during recess, explain that sentence

5-7 mins

a is the effect of sentence b.
“Very good Jill, the cause is that it is raining outside (sentence
b) and the effect is that the students must stay inside to play
during recess.”

2. Statement of
for Student
3. Teacher Input

Ask a student volunteer to write a new, action-oriented
sentence on the board. (You may want to instruct the student
to finish a prompt, such as “The dog…”) Next, invite another
student to go to the board and write an effect to go with the
first sentence. For example, the first student might write, “The
dog ran across the street,” and the second student could write,
“The car hit its breaks and honked at the dog.”
Note that for younger students or learners that need help, you
may need to provide the prompts on the board and have
students complete the sentences.
Say to students: Today I want you to listen as I read Henry’s
Freedom Box. While we read, we are going to determine some
of the cause-and-effect situations that the main character
encounters. Finding these cause/effect relationships will help
you understand what you read!”
Say to students: “Alright class, the cause of something is
always what happens first or the “Why” and the effect is the
resulting outcome or the “what” that happens. Often an author
uses cause and effect as an element of story writing. Causeand-effect relationships are used to explain many science and
social studies concepts.”
Gather students together and share the picture book Henry’s
Freedom Box. Ask student volunteers to share what they may
already know about this book (i.e., Who is the main character?
What types of things happen in the book? Use clues from the
illustrations). Explain to students that you are going to read the
book aloud and they need to listen closely so they can identify
the cause-and-effect relationships afterwards.
Give each student a copy of the cause-and-effect relationships
worksheet. Explain that as a class, we will be filling in a portion
of the worksheet together as we read. Explain the worksheet
to students by saying “Alright guys, if you take a look at the
worksheet you will see that there are 8 boxes that need to be
filled in. Two of the “cause” boxes are filled in so you will need
to reread the text and find the effect of each cause. Two of the
effects are also filled in so you will need to go and find the
cause of that outcome.”
Begin reading Henry’s Freedom Box, stopping often to make
connections to the story and the students real life. (This book is
based on a true story and is very impactful-remember to help
students comprehend the text and not just look for cause/effect
relationships.) Stop on page 1 and ask students “What do you


think your life would be like if you didn’t have a birthday?”
After reading page 12 ask students “Which clues in the story let
you know that Henry was excited about meeting Nancy?”
Students should respond “He hummed all the way home!”

4. Guided Practice

5. Independent

Continue asking questions and creating conversation as
students listen to the rest of the story. For students
disengaged-be sure to ask them “connection questions” to get
them thinking about and relating the book to their life.
Create groups of 3–5 students. Give one of the Henry’s
Freedom Box books to each group. Tell students to work with
their group to fill in the remaining boxes of the cause-and-effect
relationships worksheet. Have students pick one team member
to re-read parts of the book aloud, one to record the
relationships on the worksheet, and one to share one of their
findings with the class at the end.
Say: “It is up to your group to find two more cause-and-effect
relationships to write down in your chart.” And the explain,
“Upon completion, each group will share one of their causeand-effect relationships answers, as class time permits. Each
group will need to come up with something different to say.”
Next, students will create cause-and-effect comic strips based
on a fiction text given to students as a handout.
Teacher will display a sample template on an overhead
projector for the entire group to see. Explain to students that
this lesson involves creating their own cause-and-effect story in
the form of a comic strip, meant to be shared in a read-aloud
format with the class when completed. “Today you are going to
create cause-and-effect comic strips based on the paragraph I
am about to give you to read.”
Model the resulting creation of a comic strip. Their comic strip
prompt must have something to do with the passage. For
example, students may choose to become the main character
from the text and create three cause-effect situations that they
might face as that character. Or they could simply retell three
relationships they found in the text.
Model the steps to complete a six-panel comic strip. (This
results in three cause-and-effect relationships). Explain the
details each comic strip should have using the teacher made
strip as a model. “As you can see from my comic strip, each
panel has a speech bubble where you will add the character’s
thoughts or interactions and an illustration that represents
what is happening in the comic strip. You will need to have
each of these elements for each comic strip box.” (Note that
some students may want to create longer strips.)

15 mins


Distribute the Comic Strip Checklist and the Comic Strip Rubric
to students. Review the checklist and explain that students
need to check off each section as they complete it. Review the
rubric and explain that their comic strips will be evaluated and
graded based on this rubric. Tell students that their checklist,
completed comic strip, and rubric should be turned in after
their oral presentations.
Have students use notebook paper to brainstorm their story.
Upon completion, instruct students to share their story with you
for approval prior to beginning their work on the final comic
strip template.

6. Assessment
Methods of all

After the comic strips are created or are in the process
(depending on time and student pace), distribute art materials
and allow students to add illustrations, colors, and designs to
their comic strips.
Review each student’s Comic Strip Checklist, and make certain all
components have been successfully completed prior to accessing the
selected interactive tool. Note that successful completion includes
accurate cause-and-effect relationships.
Observe each student’s ability to orally present their comic strips along
with their ability to be active listeners while peers are sharing.
Use the Comic Strip Rubric to determine and evaluate students’ abilities to
apply learned information on an independent level.
“Now we are going to share your completed cause-and-effect
comic strips with your classmates!”

7. Closure

Gather students to the read-aloud area and have student
volunteers take the “author’s chair” and share their comic
strips with their classmates. At this time, call on students to
identify the different cause-and-effect relationships they have
heard during their peers’ stories.

10 mins

Collect completed strips, checklists, rubrics- after presentations
for grading.
The students’ completion of the cause-and-effect worksheet and their
8. Assessment
presentations of their comic strips should show their understanding of
Results of
identifying cause-and-effect relationships and should prove that they can
successfully use cause-and-effect to comprehend fiction and non-fiction
Targeted Students
Student/Small Group
Modifications/Accommodations: The teacher
The teacher can assist struggling students
should provide scaffolding during the guided
during guided and independent practice as
practice phase of the lesson to keep students on
needed. Early finishers should have a
task and help learners who might get stuck or
partner or the teacher proofread their comic don’t understand. ELL’s can have the first choice

strip and review their checklist to make sure
they have everything completed.

for their “job” during guided practice to make sure
they feel comfortable and can contribute to the
group work.

(Include any instructional materials (e.g., worksheets, assessments PowerPoint/Smart Board slides, etc.) needed to implement the lesson at
the end of the lesson plan.)

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, Cause and Effect worksheet, Scrap paper, Teacher comic
strip model, Fictional text handout, Comic strip template, comic strip checklist, comic strip rubric,
markers/colored pencils
References: Common Core State Standards for Reading Literature, Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen
Levine, How to Teach Reading to Elementary and Middle School students by Robert Ruddell,
Comic Strip Activity on Read-Write-Think website
Reflection on lesson:
This lesson was probably my favorite of all the lessons I observed or taught during the two-week
intensive clinical experience. I believe it was my favorite because of the reaction the students
had at each phase of the lesson. The students absolutely loved Henry’s Freedom Box. I was
worried that the students would have either already read the book or would not be interested in
the topic. I was so completely wrong because they hung on to every word I said. They loved the
story so much that they begged me to read the authors note in the back of the book at the end
for the extra information it gave. The students also loved getting to look through the pictures
individually in the extra copies of the book I had for them to use while working on the Cause-andEffect Fill-In sheet. After students finished the fill-in sheet, I made sure to review the answers as
a class. I did this because I wanted to give students who might have made a mistake a chance to
see that mistake and correct it before moving on. I was worried about making sure that every
student’s understood before continuing to the next activity and that is something easier said
than done. Even though I thought the read-aloud was a hit, the students ended up loving the
comic strip activity even more. I think this is because this activity gave students a chance to be
independent, creative, and different. While all of their comics dealt with the same overarching
topic, each student got to decide exactly what they wanted to do. Their completed comic strips
look even better than I thought they would. The only drawback was that the comic strips took
way longer to create than intended. Because of this, students did not have a chance to share
their creations with the class. I knew some of the students would be upset because they were
looking forward to it but thankfully my cooperating teacher said that she would give five minutes

at the end of a few days for students to share that wanted to. Her saying that made me realize
how blessed I am to have had a cooperating teacher who was flexible and understanding about
the work I had to complete. She really made this lesson possible by allowing me the time I
needed to get everything done. The biggest take away from teaching is to plan, plan, plan! I was
so nervous and anxious to teach this lesson that I decided to create a PowerPoint slide that I
could display for the students. I knew the students would like to have a visual reminder of the
specific parts of the lesson but honestly, I was just worried that I might forget what was next and
I wanted to have something to fall back on. Planning and creating the PowerPoint was the best
thing I could have done. It gave me the confidence to get up and go for it, to not hold anything
back or get flustered in front of the students. Visual aids are definitely something I will create for
every lesson I teach from now on!

Henry’s Freedom Box
Before Reading…
 master-a man who rules others or has control over others.
 slave-a person owned by another.
 beckoned-to summon by gesture.
 pried-to raise or move.

Make a Connection:
Imagine how you would feel if your family was taken
away from you and you never saw them again.

Focus Skill: Cause and Effect
During Reading…
Be on the lookout…
for examples of cause and effect events within the
story. Remember: The cause is why something
happens. The effect is the result.

After Reading…
Group Activity:
After reading the story, finish the cause and effect chart

Cause and Effect: Henry’s Freedom Box


Henry’s master was
very ill.
Henry met Nancy and
they walked along the
streets talking.
Henry’s wife, Nancy, and
their children were sold
to a new master.
He made it to
Pennsylvania. He was
finally free!

Teacher made Comic Model:




Comic Strip Name: “_______________________________________________”
My comic strip has a title.
My comic strip has an author.
My comic strip has three cause-and-effect relationships.
My comic strip has six panels.
My comic strip has an illustration on each panel.
All illustrations are colored or decorated.
My comic strip has a speech bubble on each page.
All speech bubbles have appropriate punctuation
and grammar.
I’ve rehearsed my completed comic strip and am ready
to share with my peers.

Comic Strip Rubric


(title, author,

Comic strip
Comic strip
contains all
contains all
elements in a
organized form.

Panels/layou All six panels are
complete with
a speech
bubble in a



All six panels
are complete
with an



Comic strip is
missing one

Comic strip is
missing two
or more

Five panels
with an

Four or fewer
panels are
with an

Strip contains six Strip contains Strip contains Strip contains
six completed five or fewer four or fewer
completed completed
drawings in
a creative,

Grammar/ There are no
mechanics more than two

There are no
more than
three errors.

There are no There are
more than
five or more
four errors.

presentatio demonstrates

Presentation Presentation Presentation
demonstrates demonstrate lacks fluency,
s some
appropriate fluency,
rate, and
rate, and
appropriate pronunciatio
pronunciation rate, and

Title:________________________________ Author: ____ _______________