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ELA G7:M1:U2:L4

Using Routines for Discussing A Long Walk to Water and Introducing Juxtaposition (Chapters 9 and 10)

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases. (L.7.4)
  • I can analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of characters and narrators in a literary text. (RL.7.6)

Supporting Targets

Learning TargetsOngoing Assessments
  • I can use context clues (in the sentence or on the page) to determine the meaning of words in 
  • A Long Walk to Water. 
  • I can break a word into parts in order to determine its meaning and figure out what words it is related to. 
  • I can explain what juxtaposition means and list several ways in which Salva and Nya are juxtaposed in A Long Walk to Water
  • I can explain one way in which juxtaposing these characters helps the author compare and contrast their points of view.

  • Reader’s Notes from Chapters 9 and 10 (from homework)
  • Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer for Chapters 6-8 (from homework)
  • Exit ticket


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A. Vocabulary Entry Task (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Reader’s Dictionary and Introducing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

2.  Work Time 

A. Take a Stand: Survival in Chapters 9 and 10 (10 minutes)

B. Introducing Juxtaposition (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A. Exit Ticket (5 minutes) 

4.  Homework

A. Reread Chapters 9 and 10 and add two quotes to the Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer. 

B. Read Chapters 11–13. Complete Reader’s Notes (both parts) for these new chapters. 

  • By Lesson 4, students should be proficient with the routines for reviewing vocabulary and the reading. The lesson Opening has been condensed into fewer steps to reflect the familiarity with these routines. 
  • Continue to offer specific positive feedback for student mastery and use of routines, especially rereading for homework. 
  • If you choose to collect Reader’s Notes after Chapter 10 and the Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer for Chapters 6–8 (recommended), collect the work just before the closing of class. Otherwise, follow your usual routine for spot- checking homework.
  • Students also should be familiar enough with the two main anchor charts (Salva/Nya and Survival) that you can introduce some variation without confusing them. (It does not make sense to change the routine every day, but some variation will increase student engagement.) In this lesson, the class will update the anchor charts, but in the context of the more engaging Take a Stand protocol. This simple protocol is described in Part A of Work Time and also in the supporting materials. Review it in advance. 
  • This lesson introduces students to the concept of juxtaposition. This concept helps students meet standard RL.7.6, which focuses on how an author develops and contrasts the point of view of two narrators or characters. The novel A Long Walk to Water was chosen for this module in part because it addresses this reading standard so directly. 
  • This standard, and the concept of juxtaposition, is introduced in this lesson and practiced informally in this unit. In Unit 3, students will engage more deeply with the standard, which is more central to (and formally assessed through) their two-voice poem about Salva and Nya.
  • Juxtaposition is defined for students in the lesson; it involves putting things side by side to see how they compare and contrast. In A Long Walk to Water, the author juxtaposes the two main characters in a number of ways. Do not tell students this; they will come to discover it throughout the lesson series. But note for yourself the many comparisons: Both Salva and Nya are children, both suffer from lack of water, and both are affected by some aspect of the conflict in South Sudan. Also note the contrasts: The two characters grow up about 20 years apart from each other, they are different genders and from different tribes, etc. And, of course, one character is fictional and the other is based on a real person. 
  • Through this juxtaposition, Park is able to show a wider range of experiences than if she had only one character. The parallels and contrasts between the characters also help the reader understand each character’s point of view and allow Park to more fully convey her ideas about how people in Sudan survive. Throughout this unit, students will be guided to notice not only how the two main characters are juxtaposed, but also to think about the author’s purpose in using this approach. 
  • In advance: Review the explanation of juxtaposition in the lesson. This lesson includes some basic examples, but you may prefer to select examples that you know your particular students will relate to.
  • Find a visual example of juxtaposition here: Images 2 and 4 are particularly effective.
  • Review the Take a Stand protocol (see Appendix 1). Read the directions for Part A of Work Time to envision this activity. Consider posting three charts in three areas of the classroom: “Strongly Agree,” “Strongly Disagree,” and “In the Middle.” 
  • Review Chapters 9 and 10 of A Long Walk to Water, as well as the Teacher’s Edition of the Reader’s Notes for these chapters.
  • Prepare Reader’s Notes, Chapters 11–18 (packet) if this is how you are organizing this work. See Unit 2 overview. 
  • In advance: Bring in or loocate an online image that shows juxtaposition of two objects.
  • Post: Learning targets, Vocabulary Entry Task definition of juxtaposition, charts (Strongly Agree, Strongly Disagree, in the Middle; Salva/Nya anchor chart; Survival anchor chart).
  • Before teaching this lesson, review the Unit 3 mid-unit assessment. In your conversation with students, try to avoid specific discussion of those examples of juxtaposition. (Both are from chapters 17 and 18: Salva’s step by step work to start his organization juxtaposed with Nya’s village’s step by step change because of the well; Nya’s joy in going to school juxtaposed with Salva’s joy in finding his father.) 



metaphor, point of view, perspective, juxtaposition (n)/juxtapose (v), compare, contrast; relentless (52), refugee camp (60), spark of hope (61), shrubs (52), endured (52), been reduced to (52), arid (52), lag (53), vulture (59), corpses (59), vision (61), receding (61), ritual scarring (62)

  • Vocabulary Entry Task (one per student)
  • Reader’s Notes, Chapters 11–13 (one per student)
  • Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer (Chapters 9–10) (one per student)
  • A Long Walk to Water (book; one per student)
  • Salva/Nya anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2)
  • Reading Closely: Guiding Questions (from Lesson 2; one per student)
  • Survival anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Survival anchor chart (Students’ Notes; begun in Lesson 1)
  • Take a Stand directions and prompt (one per student)
  • Discussion Appointments in Salva’s Africa (from Lesson 1; one per student)
  • Juxtaposition image (one to display; see Teaching Note above)
  • Juxtaposition image discussion prompts (one per student)
  • Juxtaposition in Chapters 8 and 9 questions (one per student)
  • Exit ticket (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Vocabulary Entry Task (5 minutes) 

  • Post the Vocabulary Entry Task before students arrive: 

A. “What does relentless (page 52) mean? How did you figure it out?

B. “Why does the author use the phrase ‘spark of hope’ (page 61)? What does this mean? Why didn’t she just
write ‘hope’?”

  • When students are finished, cold call several of them to share their thinking. Help them notice that “spark of hope” provides a visual image of a small light in the darkness. It is a metaphor, which authors sometimes use to help their readers understand the emotions of their characters. Authors sometimes choose a sensory image to represent an emotion, since we cannot see or hear emotions directly.

B. Reviewing Reader’s Dictionary and Introducing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

  • Write the word refugee on the board. Ask students if they see a prefix they recognize. When a student points out the prefix re-, explain that re- means again, back, or from, as in rewind (wind again), retrace (trace again), or revert (turn back to the way it was before). 
  • Ask students if they recognize a root in the word. (This is likely to be harder.) Explain that the root of this word, like the root of desperate, is from Latin. The root is fug, from fugere, which means “to flee or run away.” 
  • Ask students: “Given this prefix and this root, what do you think this word means? What is a refugee camp? Why might they be set up?”
  • Listen for students to identify that a refugee is someone who has fled home. 
  • Extend the learning of this word family by asking students if they can think of other words that have the same root. Listen for them to suggest related words, including fugitive and refuge
  • Post definitions of other words in their Reader’s Notes for Chapters 9 and 10 and ask students to review their dictionaries and correct as necessary. 
  • (If Reader’s Notes for Chapters 11–13 and are in a new packet, distribute that packet.) Distribute Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer (Chapters 9- 10). Finally, quickly review the words in the Reader’s Dictionary for Chapters 11–13. As before, read the words aloud but do not define any words that are not already defined. 
  • Read aloud the last two supporting learning targets: 

A. “I can explain what juxtaposition means and list several ways in which Salva and Nya are juxtaposed in A Long Walk to Water.”

B. “I can explain one way in which juxtaposing these characters helps the author compare and contrast their points of view.”

  • Ask students: “Think of a time while reading this book that you talked about point of view. When you remember one, raise your hand.” When most of the class has a hand up, call on several students to explain their thinking. Listen for references to the point of view work in Unit 1. Confirm that students remember what point of view means: the perspective from which a story is told or how things are being seen and experienced. 
  • Ask the class to repeat after you: juxtapose, juxtaposition, juxtaposing. Tell the students that they will talk more about this learning target, but that juxtapose literally means to put two things next to each other. To illustrate this abstract concept in a concrete way, ask students to juxtapose two items on their desks. 

Reading the vocabulary words aloud will help students learn those words. 

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Take a Stand: Survival in Chapter 9 and 10 (10 minutes)

  • Be sure students have their book A Long Walk to Water out. Ask a strong pair of students to use their Reader’s Notes to add to the Salva/Nya anchor chart. Direct their attention to the criteria for strong gist notes. 
  • Invite other students to clarify the pair’s notes as needed.
  • Tell the class that today, as usual, they will be talking about survival. But they are going to do it in a new way. Review the Take a Stand protocol briefly with students. Tell them that it is a simple process that lets them show their opinion by where they stand, physically. Point out that “take a stand” is often used synonymously with “tell your opinion.” 
  • Give directions:
  • You will be given a question to think about.
  • Then you will physically “take a stand”: go to the spot in the room that is designated for that opinion.
  • You will be asked to justify your decision. Why do you think what you think? 
  • If you hear someone else say something that changes your thinking, you may move to the spot in the room that designates your new opinion.
  • Distribute the Take a Stand directions and prompt, or post the prompt on the board. Read it aloud:

* “Salva survives the desert crossing mostly because he is lucky. His personal qualities, such as bravery and persistence, have little to do with his survival.”

  • Give students 2 minutes to review their Reader’s Notes and think silently about this prompt.
  • Refocus students whole group and point out the three areas of the room: 

* “People who strongly agree will be all the way over here.” 

* “People who strongly disagree will be all the way over here.” 

* “People who are in the middle will be here.” 

  • Ask the class to physically move to “take a stand.” Once students are settled, tell them you would like to hear a few of them justify their thinking. Encourage students to listen to their peers and consider whether, based on the evidence and explanation, their own opinion is changing. Emphasize that readers often modify their opinions as they read, think, talk, and write more about a topic. 
  • Cold call a few students to justify their stand, making sure to hear from students at different points on the spectrum. Pause to allow their classmates to move in response to the ideas they hear. 
  • Ask at least one student who moved:

* “How and why did your thinking change?”

  • Publically appreciate students who are willing to revise their thinking based on others’ evidence and explanations.
  • Thank students for their participation and ask them to return to their seats. Briefly debrief the protocol by asking: “What factors in survival did we talk about today?” Add these to the Survival anchor chart. Make sure that persistence is mentioned and added to the chart. 
  • Prompt students to use the Salva/Nya chart to check their Reader’s Notes for accuracy and to update the Survival anchor chart (Student’s Notes).

  • A.  Use of protocols (like Take a Stand) allows for total participation of students. It encourages critical thinking, collaboration, and social construction of knowledge. It also helps students practice their speaking and listening skills.
  • In this part of the lesson, students are supported in grappling with a complex idea by having the opportunity to explore that idea with an image and in conversation, rather than in writing.

B. Introducing Juxtaposition (15 minutes)

  • Tell students that today they are going to dig in to some really interesting aspects of the novel, specifically why the author wrote the story the way she did.
  • Review key text features with the class, asking: 

* “What text features in A Long Walk to Water signal when the reading is about Salva or about Nya?” Give students a moment to talk, then invite volunteers to share. Confirm that they have noticed the following:

* Nya’s story is the first (shorter, colored) part of each chapter. 

* Dates are listed at the start of each character’s story in each chapter. 

* Salva’s story takes place earlier in time than Nya’s.

  • Ask students to take out their Reading Closely: Guiding Questions handout (from Lesson 2). Focus them on the second row, and ask them, 

* “Are we mostly talking about Structure, Topic, Language, or Perspective? How can you tell?” 

  • Listen for students to notice that the class is discussing the structure of this book. Tell them that strong readers notice how a book is put together, and why, and that this is the work you will be doing today.
  • Project a definition of juxtaposition: “To put things next to each other, especially for the purpose of comparing them.” Read it aloud. Explain that using prefixes and word roots will help students remember what this word means. Juxta means “next to,” and pos is a common root from the Latin positus (placed). Ask students to think of other words that use the root pos. Listen for “position,” “impose,” “compose,” etc. 
  • Ask students to add this word and its definition to their Reader’s Notes (in the margin).
  • Share the juxtaposition image. Give students a minute to look at it, then post the juxtaposition image discussion prompts. Turn and talk: 

* “What two images are juxtaposed here?” 

* “What is the same about these images? What is different?”

* “Why did the artist want you to compare these two images?” 

  • Tell students that now they will think about this question:

* “How did the author of A Long Walk to Water juxtapose Nya and Salva?” 

  • Start a list on the board, getting the class started with the most basic example: One way Park juxtaposes Salva and Nya is by putting them in the same book, and even in the same chapter. Add that to the list. 
  • Direct students’ attention to the Salva/Nya anchor chart and ask: “What other ways does the author juxtapose Salva and Nya?” Wait until four or five hands are up, and then hear two students’ ideas. 
  • Point out that juxtaposition means putting things side by side BOTH for comparison (how they are alike and different) AND for contrast (how they are different). Pause for a moment to make sure students understand this academic vocabulary: Comparing usually focuses on similarities, and contrasting involves finding differences. 
  • To check for understanding, do a quick call and response. Tell students that you will make a statement and then count to three on your fingers. At three, they need to say all together “compare” or “contrast.” Say: “Both dogs are brown, but my dog is bigger.” “He had chocolate ice cream, but I had vanilla.” “We both ate spaghetti.”
  • Provide positive feedback to students for engaging with the new and complicated idea of juxtaposition. Tell them that they are acquiring tools for thinking deeply about complex texts. As they move on to high school and college, they will need tools that match the texts they will read. 
  • Tell students that in a moment, during their Ethiopia Discussion Appointment, they will continue talking about how the characters compare. Briefly review the expectations for movement, and then ask students to move to their Ethiopia Discussion Appointment.
  • When students are settled, refocus the class. Ask students to think, then turn and talk: “Now that we have noticed that the two characters are juxtaposed, let’s think about how this helps us compare and contrast them. Find at least two similarities and two differences between Salva and Nya.”
  • Call on several pairs to explain their ideas. Listen for comparisons: The two characters are within the book (the author could have told one story, then the other); are within the same historical context; are both children; and both need water. Listen for contrasts: boy versus girl, different years, etc. 
  • Point out that the author clearly chose to write her novel in this way: She is using juxtaposition to get us, as readers, to think more deeply about the characters and themes. Tell students that now they will practice analyzing one particular instance of how Park uses juxtaposition to help readers compare and contrast the two characters’ points of view. 
  • Post the Juxtaposition in Chapters 8 and 9 questions for a Think-Pair-Share: 

* “In Chapters 8 and 9, what was each character’s experience with water?”

* “How were their experiences the same and different?”

* “Why do you think the author put these two accounts so close to each other?” 

* “What does she want you to notice or wonder about survival in Sudan?”

Listen for students to notice:

* In Chapters 8 and 9, Salva is crossing the desert. People live or die depending on whether or not they have water. Nya is worried about getting clean water, since the nurse told them to boil it but there is never enough to boil. 

* Same: Life depends on clean water. Different: Nya is at home, where dirty water causes sickness but not death, and there is hope (people come to talk about a well); Salva is traveling, and people die from thirst.

* Putting these so close together helps Park show us how important access to clean water is in Sudan, in war 
and in peace, at home and traveling, in the 1980s and today. People without access to clean water have 
difficulty surviving.

  • Tell students that this is only an introduction to this idea. They will circle back to it and should keep it in mind as they read.
  • Many students will benefit from having the time available for the various partner conversations displayed via a timer or stopwatch.
  • Consider partnering ELLs who speak the same home language when discussion of complex content is required. This can allow students to have more meaningful discussions and clarify points in their native language.
  • Some students may benefit from sentence starters for Think-Pair-Share. For example, “The two images are …” or “One thing that is the same is …” or “One thing that is different is …” or “The artist wanted me to compare these two things because …”

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Exit Ticket: (5 minutes) 

  • Distribute the exit ticket. Read the prompt aloud and ask students to respond in writing: 

* “How does Park’s decision to juxtapose Salva and Nya in A Long Walk to
help us better understand each character’s point of view? Support your
 answer with at least one specific comparison from the book so far.” 

  • Collect Reader’s Notes and the first part of the Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer (for Chapters 6–8).

(Note: If you have created the Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer as a packet, it is formatted so that students can tear off the first page and turn it in and still have the part of the packet they need to complete tonight’s homework.)

  • Using entrance/exit tickets allows you to get a quick check for understanding of the learning target so that instruction can be adjusted or tailored to students’ needs during the lesson or before the next lesson. 
  • When you review student’s Reader’s Notes and Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizers, consider giving feedback that celebrates effort and also tells students what the “next step” should be. Note any students who are really struggling with this; they may need additional support in class. 
  • Also select one particular issue that applies to most of the class; identify a piece of work that deals with this issue well and type it up for use in Lesson 5.




HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Reread Chapters 9 and 10 and add two quotes to your Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer. 
  • Read Chapters 11–13 and complete the Reader’s Notes (both parts) for these new chapters.

Note: Review students’ Reader’s Notes and Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizers and be ready to return them to the class at the start of Lesson 5. 

  • Struggling students could be asked to add one quote from a particular chapter that relates to a specific factor (in this case, focusing them on water and chapter 6 would work). 

Supporting Materials


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