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Adverbial clauses of cause
(...because I was tired)
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Review the concept of ‘because’ with the students.  Use activities, illustrations and stories to develop the relationship between ‘cause’ and ‘effect’.  An adverb clause can begin with a sub conjunction such as "after," "if," "because" and "although." An adverbial clause must have a subject and a verb, If it does not have both a subject and a verb, it's an adverb phrase.


Teacher actions are highlight

  • Students should be familiar with the “Why--?” question from exposure in social contexts. Review the structure of the question form by comparing it to familiar Wh-questions using do support (Where did___go? and What did___do? question forms).

  • The Why--? can be answered with clauses and phrases, 'that is', clauses starting with 'because'…, infinitive phrases starting with 'to', and prepositional phrases starting with 'for'.

    • Show students a picture that will prompt a Why? question, for example, a picture of a cat scurrying up a tree with a dog chasing it.

    • Discuss the picture emphasizing:

      • A dog is chasing a cat.

      • The cat is climbing up the tree.

    • Write both sentences and have the students read the story.

    • Ask: Why is the cat climbing the tree?

      • Write the question.

      • Read the question and then say: The cat is climbing the tree because the dog is chasing it.

      • Write the response on the board and show how it is derived from the first sentence e.g., A dog is chasing the cat.

      • Discuss why the pronoun 'it' is used instead of repeating' the cat'.

    • Tell the students that this sentence has two clauses:

      • a main clause, 'The cat is climbing a tree' and

      • a dependent clause, 'because the dog is chasing it'.

    • Review what they know about clauses (a clause contains a subject and a verb).

      • Identify the subject and verb of the main clause

        • e.g., S + V  The cat and is climbing,

        • e.g. dependent clause, a dog and is chasing.

    • Show the students another picture that prompts a Why question.

    • Discuss the picture. Present two or three sentences that describe the picture.

      • Maria bumped into Jesse. Jesse fell down.

      • Ask: Why did Jesse fall down?

      • Write the question on the board.

      • Write: Jess fell down because Maria bumped into him.

      • Students identify the two clauses, and the subject and verb of each clause.

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Advancing the Strategy
  • Show the first picture,e.g., a little girl in bed with a thermometer in her mouth.

  • Show the sentences describing the picture.

    • The little girl is in bed. She is sick.

    • Ask: Why is the little girl in bed?

    • Show written form of question. Students write the answer on a piece of paper.

    • Display the response: The little girl is in bed because she is sick.

    • Students check and correct their answers, if necessary.

  • Explain that we don’t always need to answer with a complete sentence. We can answer: because she is sick.

  • Repeat the same steps with the next two pictures. Select several pictures from their books.

  • Ask students 'Why questions' about the pictures without giving the two base sentences first.

    • For example: The picture shows a little boy crying and a dog eating the ice cream cone in his hand.

    • Ask: Why is the little boy crying?

    • The students respond: because the dog is eating his ice cream cone.

  • Give each student a paper with 3 pairs of new sentences with a  'Why question' for each pair.

    • Student read the sentences and respond to each question.

    • Lead a class discussion of the answers reinforcing conceptual accuracy, (allowing for creativity and cultural differences) and English structure.

  • During direct instruction in reading and content areas and all social contexts within the school environment, use this language structure frequently to reinforce the students’ understanding and use.

  • Present units on the 'Why questions' that require a response starting with an infinitive, 'to'  for example:

    • Why did the chicken cross the road?

    • to get to the other side.

  •  Why questions that require a response starting with the preposition for, for example:

    • Why did you bake that cake?

    • for my son’s birthday.

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