As students begin to understand fiction and nonfiction, introduce the genre of historical fiction which includes examples of both. These lessons and activities show you how.
The students will understand the cause and effect relationships in the story.
A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry
Set Up and Prepare
On a piece of chart paper create two columns, one labeled “cause” and the other labeled “effect." In the “cause” column write "I didn’t study for the Social Studies unit test.” Then have students think about what might happen if they didn’t study for a unit test. Write the students' responses in the “effect” column. Explain to the students that “cause” is “why something happens” and “effect” is “what happens." Have the students come up with other cause and effect relationships that might have occurred in their lives. Explain to students that when they understand the cause and effect relationship to events in the book it helps them better understand the story.
Show the students the cover of the book, and have them make predictions about the story. Explain that the book is based on a true story about the Nashua River in Massachusetts. Show the students the map in the book, and have them locate the river.
Read the first two pages, and model the first cause and effect relationship that occurs in the story.
Cause: The river had clean water, fish, and other natural resources.
Effect: The Nashua Native Americans settled by the river.
Then have the students work with a partner and finish pair reading the story and completing the attached cause and effect chart. When students are finished, review the different cause and effect relationships on the worksheet.
Supporting All Learners
If you don't have enough copies of this book to have students pair-read you can create the attached worksheet on posterboard and complete it together after reading the story. Since some of the vocabulary is difficult for my readers that struggle, I also had it on tape. You could also create a lesson just based on teaching the vocabulary in the book.
Students can study the ecosystem of a river and discover different aspects that have a negative impact on that ecosystem. Students can then create a before and after diorama or poster of the ecosystem before and after the negative effects occurred.
Have the students think about environmental issues that might be occurring in their community. Students can write a letter to a local government official explaining the problem, why it’s important to address the problem, and solutions they have to solve the problem.
The illustrator of this story has created an artistic boarder around each page that depicts important places, objects, and animals that were important in the time period(s) represented in the story. Students can research a Native American tribe and write a picture book about their way of life and create an artistic border around each page depicting important places, objects, homes, and animals to that tribe.
Other books about the environment by Lynne Cherry:
Dragon and the Unicorn
Shaman's Apprentice: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest
Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest