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Lesson Plan

The Day Jimmy's Boa Taught Cause and Effect

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The Day Jimmy's Boa Taught Cause and Effect

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Vanessa Udry

Tolono, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This lesson introduces the concept of cause and effect with Trinka Hakes Noble's books about Jimmy and his boa constrictor. Each lesson begins with the teacher reading a new story about Jimmy and his boa and the chaos they bring to each place they visit. Class discussions about each event and its cause are followed by tasks for the students to help illustrate understanding of the concept. Students create cause-and-effect pictures, puzzles, and flow charts as they explore the genre. As a culminating activity, students write their own book with causes and effects, which are assessed with a rubric.

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Providing opportunities to learn concepts from a variety of pieces of literature is an important part of language arts instruction. Integrated language arts instruction is usually centered on a language process or a literary text. This integration engages students and helps create meaningful learning experiences. In a study comparing a basal-only reading program and a program with integrated language arts, results indicated that an integrated reading program promoted better readers. The students from the integrated program "read more, had higher scores in story retellings, had higher comprehension scores, and created more original stories, all at no cost to performance on standardized tests." This research emphasizes the importance of integrating a variety of literature within reading programs. This lesson builds on the ideas in the research by using a number of Jimmy's Boa books to explore the concept of cause and effect.

Further Reading

Biondo, Sandra M., Taffy E. Raphael, and James R. Gavelek. "Mapping the Possibilities of Integrated Literacy Instruction." Reading Online. March 1999.


Kucer, Stephen B. 2008. What Research Really Says about Teaching and Learning to Read. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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