Standard Lesson

Slipping, Sliding, Tumbling: Reinforcing Cause and Effect Through Diamante Poems

6 - 8
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Four 45-minute sessions
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Combine higher order thinking with creativity in this lesson that uses diamante poems to illustrate the phenomenon of cause and effect. Students define and identify instances of cause and effect to help them generate their own examples. After practicing the diamante format in a shared writing experience, students construct their own diamante poems illustrating cause-and-effect scenarios of their choice. The diamante poem will start with the cause and transition to the effect.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Teaching concepts of cause and effect helps students to think logically and draw conclusions based on evidence.
  • Cause and effect is an important jumping-off point that allows students to move beyond memorizing answers or facts and consider alternative possibilities and underlying concepts.
  • In addition to modeling cause and effect questions, the teacher can "scaffold the process of figuring out cause and effect with activities that support content and language learning."


Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access and connection to a printer
  • One classroom computer with projection capability for demonstration (optional)
  • Overhead projector (optional)
  • Chart paper
  • Colored markers or highlighters



1. Review the Cause and Effect Definition Sheets and make photocopies for each student. You may also want to make overheads of these sheets for discussion purposes. In addition, you should look over the Tiered Cause and Effect Examples so that you have a list of simple and complex examples readily available during the lesson.
2. Photocopy for each student the Cause and Effect Questioning Frames and the Cause and Effect Diamante Writer’s Checklist. If you are not using an overhead projector for the lesson, you may also wish to copy the Diamante Poem Format sheet for each student.
3. Make overheads of the Cause and Effect Questioning Frames and Diamante Poem Format poster for discussion purposes (optional).
4. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve a 45-minute session in the computer lab for Session 4 of this lesson. Visit the Diamante Poems tool and check that it works properly on your school’s computers. Bookmark the site on the student computers so that it is easily accessed. You may want to create and print several of your own cause and effect diamante poems to use as models. You can also refer to the Examples of Cause and Effect Diamante Poems.
5. Photocopy the Cause and Effect Diamante Writer’s Checklist for each student.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Develop critical thinking skills by defining and identifying cause and effect and generating examples of cause and effect statements
  • Learn the structure and format of a diamante poem through shared and partner writing
  • Apply their knowledge of cause and effect in diamante poem format

Session 1: Understanding Cause and Effect

1. Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about cause and effect. Pass out the Cause and Effect Definition Sheets or display them on the overhead projector. Discuss the definitions of cause and effect with students.
2. Brainstorm a list of cause and effect statements with students and record them on chart paper or overhead transparency. Your students may be able to generate examples on their own, or you may want to use some of the examples from the Tiered Cause and Effect Examples.
3. After you have a good number of cause and effect statements recorded (i.e., 10 to 12), ask students to come up to the chart and color code the cause part of each statement and the effect part of each statement. Options for this activity include:
  • Have students work in pairs, and then have each pair come up to the board and analyze one of the statements, with one partner identifying the cause and the other partner the effect.
  • Have students work in groups of three or four, with each group color-coding one or two of the brainstormed statements, then presenting and explaining their examples to the class.
  • Conduct the activity as a whole class and have students come up one at a time to highlight or underline the cause in one color and the effect in another color.

Session 2: Understanding the Diamante Format

1. Explain to students that they will be demonstrating their understanding of cause and effect by writing a diamante poem. Show students the Diamante Poem Format. Pass out individual copies of the format if you have made them. You may also want to display it as an overhead transparency.
2. Go over each part of the diamante poem with students, making sure they understand what part of speech belongs in each line of the poem. If necessary, conduct a quick review of the parts of speech students will need to know for this format (nouns, gerunds, and verbs).
3. Working together as a class, pick a topic and generate a diamante poem. If you have a classroom computer with projection capabilities, you may wish to use the online Diamante Poems tool for this activity. Students can also write a diamante poem with a partner for additional practice. You may wish to suggest a few appropriate topics based on your content area studies or on current events.

Session 3: Adapting the Diamante for Cause and Effect

1. Begin by reviewing cause and effect. You may want to refer to the Cause and Effect Definition Sheets and the brainstormed list from Session 1.
2. To further review, pass out the Cause and Effect Questioning Frames handout, which provides phrases to use for developing cause and effect statements. Ask students to practice developing cause and effect statements with a partner. Circulate around the room to be sure students are coming up with effective cause and effect statements.
3. In Session 2 students practiced writing a diamante poem in the standard format. Explain that they will now be changing the format slightly to create cause and effect diamante poems.
4. First, students should generate a cause and effect statement that they want to turn into a diamante poem. Refer students to the list of cause and effect statements generated during Session 1, but ask that they come up with an original statement for their poem. Again, you might suggest that they consider current events or a particular content area for inspiration regarding their poem topic.
5. Ask students to take their cause and effect statement, and after identifying the cause, narrow the cause down to a one-word statement. Ask them to do the same for the effect. (Students will need these two key words when they publish their poem with the online Diamante Poems tool).
6. Display the Examples of Cause and Effect Diamante Poems. (If you chose to write your own examples, you may want to display them instead.) Show students how the poem transitions from the cause to the effect. Note that if four nouns are used in line 4, the first two refer to the cause and the last two refer to the effect. Alternatively, if a short statement is used for line 4, it should link the cause and the effect. From that point on, the rest of the poem focuses on the effect.
7. Choose one or two of the cause and effect statements that students brainstormed in Session 1. As a class, develop the statements into cause and effect diamante poems. You might also choose to have students work in groups to construct cause and effect diamante poems.
8. After students have practiced as a class or in small groups, ask them to take the cause and effect statement that they chose at the beginning of the session and turn it into their own cause and effect diamante poem.
9. When they finish, ask students to complete the Cause and Effect Diamante Writer’s Checklist and, if necessary, revise their poems in preparation for publishing them in the next session. These activities (checklist and revision) can be completed as homework if you prefer.

Session 4: Publishing the Cause and Effect Diamante Poem

1. Ask students to review their Cause and Effect Diamante Writer’s Checklist from the previous session.
2. Show students how to access the online Diamante Poems tool. The tool does a good job of walking students through the process step by step, but some of the onscreen instructions will need to be modified for the cause and effect poem. Demonstrate with the class-generated poem (from Session 3) using an LCD projector, explaining that the one-word cause should be entered as the Beginning topic for poem and the effect as the Ending topic for poem.
3. Students should type and print their cause and effect diamante poems using the Diamante Poems tool. Be sure they understand that they must print their poem when it is complete (the program does not allow for saving the poems electronically).
4. If time permits, allow students to experiment with revising their poems or creating new ones. Have them share their poems with the class.


Student Assessment / Reflections

Use the Cause and Effect Diamante Writer’s Checklist to assess students’ diamante poems. Each student will have already filled out his or her section of the checklist. Each of the assessed objectives has been assigned a value of 10 to 25 points, but you may choose to change the values according to your priorities for this lesson.

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