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ELA G7:M1

Journeys and Survival

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In this eight-week module, students explore the experiences of people of Southern Sudan during and after the Second Sudanese Civil War. They build proficiency in using textual evidence to support ideas in their writing, both in shorter responses and in an extended essay.

In Unit 1, students begin the novel A Long Walk to Water (720L) by Linda Sue Park. Students will read closely to practice citing evidence and drawing inferences from this compelling text as they begin to analyze and contrast the points of view of the two central characters, Salva and Nya. They also will read informational text to gather evidence on the perspectives of the Dinka and Nuer tribes of Southern Sudan.

In Unit 2, students will read the remainder of the novel, focusing on the commonalities between Salva and Nya in relation to the novel’s theme: how individuals survive in challenging environments. (The main characters’ journeys are fraught with challenges imposed by the environment, including the lack of safe drinking water, threats posed by animals, and the constant scarcity of food. They are also challenged by political and social environments.) As in Unit 1, students will read this literature closely alongside complex informational texts (focusing on background on Sudan and factual accounts of the experiences of refugees from the Second Sudanese Civil War). Unit 2 culminates with a literary analysis essay about the theme of survival.

Unit 3 brings students back to a deep exploration of character and point of view: students will combine their research about Sudan with specific quotes from A Long Walk to Water as they craft a research-based two voice poem, comparing and contrasting the points of view of the two main characters, Salva and Nya. The two-voice poem gives students an opportunity to use both their analysis of the characters and theme in the novel and their research about the experiences of the people of Southern Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War. This task addresses ELA standards RL.7.6, RL.7.11, W.7.3a, d, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.8, W.7.9, L.7.1, and L.7.2.

Week-at-a-Glance

Each module is approximately 8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

Individual survival in challenging environments requires both physical and emotional resources.

Authors of fiction both draw on and elaborate on historical facts in order to convey their ideas about what it was like to be alive during that time.

How do individuals survive in challenging environments?

How do culture, time, and place influence the development of identity?

How does reading from different texts about the same topic build our understanding?

How does juxtaposing multiple characters help an author develop and contrast their points of view?

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about the Second Sudanese Civil War. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies Practices and Themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content. These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework:

Unifying Themes (pages 6–7)

Theme 1: Individual Development and Cultural Identity: The role of social, political, and cultural interactions supports the development of identity. Personal identity is a function of an individual’s culture, time, place, geography, interaction with groups, influences from institutions, and lived experiences. 

Theme 4: Geography, Humans, and the Environment: The relationship between human populations and the physical world (people, places, and environments).

Social Studies Practices, Geographic Reasoning, Grades 5–8: 

Descriptor 2: Describe the relationships between people and environments and the connections between people and places (page 58).

 

Texts

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.


Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park
One per student
ISBN: 978-0547577319, 0547577311

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
Water for South Sudan
by Water for South Sudan, Inc
2011
“Loss of Culturally Vital Cattle Leaves Dinka Tribe Adrift in Refugee Camps,”
by Stephen Buckley
Washington Post Foreign Service, 1997
“Sudanese Tribes Confront Modern War,”
by Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service, 1999
“Life and Death in Darfur: Sudan’s Refugee Crisis Continues,”
by Current Events, April 7, 2006
2006
“Author’s Note,” from A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park
Sandpiper by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-547-57731-9

Outcomes

CCS Standards: Reading—LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets

RL.7.1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text.

RL.7.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

I can analyze the development of a theme or central idea throughout a literary text.

RL.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in literary text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).

RL.7.6. Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.

I can analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of characters and narrators in a literary text.

RL.7.9. Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.

I can compare and contrast a fictional and historical account of a time, place, or character.

RL.7.10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

I can read grade-level literary texts proficiently and independently. I can read above-grade-level texts with scaffolding and support.

RL RL.7.11 Recognize, interpret, and make connections in narratives, poetry, and drama, ethically and artistically to other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events, and situations.

I can make connections between a novel and other informational texts.

CCS Standards: Reading—Informational TextLong-Term Learning Targets

RI.7.1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

I can cite several pieces of evidence to support an analysis of informational text.

RI.7.2. Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

I can objectively summarize informational text.

RI.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).

RI.7.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.

I can determine an author’s point of view or purpose in informational text.

RI.7.10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

I can read grade-level informational texts proficiently and independently. I can read above-grade-level texts with scaffolding and support.

Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets

W.7.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. a. Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. b. Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. c. Use appropriate transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts. d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. e. Establish and maintain a formal style. f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.

I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.

W.7.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically. b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another. d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events. e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.

W.7.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.7.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.

W.7.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources. I can quote or paraphrase others’ work while avoiding plagiarism. I can use a standard format for citation.

W.7.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. a. Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history”). b. Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims”).

I can select evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

W.7.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

I can adjust my writing practices for different timeframes, tasks, purposes, and audiences.

CCS Standards: Speaking & ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets

SL.7.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

b. Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

c. Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.

d. Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.

I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about seventh-grade topics, texts, and issues.

I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions.

I can build on others’ ideas during discussions.

SL.7.2. Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.

I can analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in different media and formats.

SL.7.4. Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

I can use effective speaking techniques (appropriate eye contact, adequate volume and clear pronunciation).

CCS Standards: Language Long-Term Learning Targets

L.7.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. a. Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences. b. Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas. c. Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.*

I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.7.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. a. Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old[,] green shirt). b. Spell correctly.

I can use correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling to send a clear message to my reader.

L.7.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. a. Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. b. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., belligerent, bellicose, rebel). c. Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech. d. Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).

I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases.

L.7.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. a. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context. b. Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words. c. Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending).

I can analyze figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

L.7.6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

I can accurately use seventh-grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas. I can use resources to build my vocabulary.

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