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ELA G7:M1:U2:L5

Practice Evidence-Based Constructed Response: Explaining One Factor That Helps Nya or Salva Survive (Chapters 11–13)

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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 cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text. (RL.7.1) 
  • I can analyze the development of a theme throughout a literary text. (RL.7.2)
  • I can select evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research. (W.7.9)

Supporting Targets

Learning TargetsOngoing Assessments
  • I can define words from A Long Walk to Water in my Reader’s Dictionary. 
  • I can continue to select evidence to explain what happens to Salva and Nya in 
  • A Long Walk to Water.

I can select a quote from A Long Walk to Water and explain how it illustrates a factor in how Nya and/or Salva survive. 

  • Reader’s Notes from Chapters 11-13 (from homework)
  • Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer for Chapters 9 and 10 (from homework)
  • Student contributions to Salva/Nya anchor chart and Survival anchor chart 
  • Evidence-based constructed response


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening 

A. Vocabulary Entry Task: Chapters 11–13 (5 minutes) 

B. Returning Reader’s Notes and Gathering Textual Evidence Organizers (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A. Reviewing Chapters 11–13: Adding to Our Anchor Charts (5 minutes)

B. Modeling, Partner Practice, and Independent Practice: Writing a Short Evidence-Based Constructed Response (25 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment 

A. Self-Assessment of Evidence-Based Constructed Response (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A. Reread Chapters 11–13 and add quotes to Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer. 

B. Read Chapters 14–15 and complete Reader’s Notes (both parts) for these new chapters. 

  • This lesson is a continuation of the work with the theme of survival in A Long Walk to Water and practice for the type of explanation of evidence that students will do for the End of Unit 2 Assessment essay.
  • Part of the lesson’s Opening is to return the Reader’s Notes and Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizers that students turned in yesterday. This gives you a chance to help students improve their evidence gathering as well as support those who may not be keeping up or understanding what is required at this point. 
  • During this part of the lesson, students are asked to determine one thing they can do to improve their work on each document. This self-assessment of their work is a crucial step in helping students become more self-directed as they continue through the unit.
  • The purpose of the constructed response is for the students to gain experience in explaining how the details and/or quotes they select illustrate a central idea in the text. Use students’ short constructed responses, along with their self-assessment at the end of class, as valuable formative assessment data. Note patterns in students’ responses, both strengths and areas of need. Identify instructional next steps, including additional modeling if needed. Also note which students may need more support; consider pulling an invitational group for more modeling or guided practice. 
  • Future lessons include careful scaffolding toward the End of Unit Assessment. Preview the unit-at-a-glance chart at the end of the Unit 2 Overview document to understand more fully what scaffolds are already “baked in” to upcoming lessons and what other adjustments you may need to make based on your own professional judgment. The ultimate goal is for students to be able to use quotes from the text correctly and appropriately as well as explain how a quote supports a main idea. All of these skills will be needed when students write their analysis essays about the theme of survival in A Long Walk to Water during the last half of this unit.
  • The opening routines (entry task, Reader’s Dictionary, and Reader’s Notes) should be familiar to students by this point in the unit, and thus should take less time. Note that some days students share with partners, and other times the sharing is whole group. During whole group sharing, be sure the routines move along at a rapid pace but not so fast as to leave students confused. Adjust as needed, given the particulars of your class. But know that the heart of the instruction in each lesson takes place during the work time, so pace accordingly. 
  • In this lesson, students are introduced to a simplified quote sandwich graphic. Students will use a more built-out version of this graphic in Module 2. 
  • In advance: Have the Reader’s Notes and Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizers assessed and ready to return to the class in the Opening.
  • Choose a quote from Chapters 1–10 that you think illustrates Salva’s persistence in the face of challenges. Prepare how you would explain the quote to model for the constructed response question. An example is provided in the body of the lesson; feel free to choose a different example that may have emerged as more central or relevant to your students based on previous lessons. The goal is to model the writing with content that students are familiar with, but not the same content that they themselves will then write about. 
  • Post: learning targets, entry task. 



spare (adj); persistence (n)/persistent (adj)/persist (v); stampede (74), despair (72), peril (80)

  • A Long Walk to Water (book; one copy per student) 
  • Vocabulary Entry Task (one per student)
  • Discussion Appointments in Salva’s Africa (from Lesson 1; one per student)
  • Salva/Nya anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2)
  • Survival anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Survival anchor chart (Students’ Notes; begun in Lesson 1)
  • Evidence-Based Constructed Response sheet (one per student)
  • Quote Sandwich graphic (one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer, Chapters 11–13 (one per student)
  • Reader’s Notes, Chapters 14 and 15 (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Vocabulary Entry Task: questions about specific words from Chapters 11–13 (stampede, despair, peril) (5 minutes) 

  • Distribute Vocabulary Entry Task as students enter:
  1. What does despair mean? Why does Salva feel despair? What is the relationship between despair and desperate
  2. Why is it dangerous to be in a stampede?
  • Ask students to begin. By this lesson, they should be into the routine of the entry task and be efficient.
  • When students are finished, cold call two or three to share their answers.
  • Point out that “stampede” is an American word derived from a Spanish word meaning “crash,” estampida, and a French word meaning “feet,” pieds. Ask: 

* “How do these words make sense in stampede?” Call on one or two students who raise their hands. 

B. Returning Reader’s Notes and Gathering Evidence Organizers (5 minutes)

  • Return the Reader’s Notes to students and explain your comments, being sure to give specific positive feedback for things they did well, in addition to their next steps for improvement. 
  • Ask students to look at your comments in their Reader’s Notes and circulate to speak to those who may need a personalized response from you to understand what you have written about their work.
  • Do the same with the Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer. 
  • Once students have looked at their work and your feedback, point out that they will continue to add information to these two documents and will need that information when they write their essays at the end of the unit. Say something like: “Because these documents will be so helpful to you, you need to do the very best you can to improve collecting this information as we finish reading A Long Walk to Water.”
  • Ask students to write one thing they will do to improve their notes and one thing they will do to improve their work on their Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer. 
  • Then ask students to meet with their Khartoum Discussion Appointments (as listed on their copy of Discussion Appointments in Salva’s Africa). Tell them to find a place to sit, since they will be working together for the rest of class. Once they are settled, tell students to share with their partners their plans for improving their work on their Reader’s Notes and Gathering Evidence organizers.

The Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer will be used throughout the unit, though it will not be used everyday in class. Remind students that this will return to this document repeatedly; doing strong work and making sure to keep track of this paper will help them succeed on later assessments.

Work Time

Work Time

A. Review Chapters 11-13: Adding to Our Anchor Charts (5 minutes)

Note: Part A of Work Time is quite short. Students should be familiar with these routines. In Part B of Work Time, they focus in much more depth on the ideas related to the Survival anchor chart. This is done through modeling and then practice writing.

  • Ask one pair to add to the Salva/Nya anchor chart. (Choose a pair that you think will have good Reader’s Notes on what is happening in the novel).
  • As this pair works, instruct all other pairs to compare their gist notes and decide what they would add to the Survival anchor chart.
  • Direct whole group’s attention to the Salva/Nya chart to check their Reader’s Notes. Have students compare their notes to what was added to the chart to see if they need to clarify notes on the chart or add to their own Reader’s Notes.
  • Be sure students have their text A Long Walk to Water. Ask pairs to contribute ideas for the Survival anchor chart and record their answers without elaboration unless there is a response that is incorrect. In that case, ask the pair to rethink and revise the contribution. Prompt students to update Survival anchor chart (Student’s Notes).

B. Modeling, Partner Practice, and Independent Practice: Writing a Short Evidence-Based Constructed Response (25 minutes)

Note: This entire activity takes 25 minutes total. See the italicized subheadings and suggested pacing below. Adjust to meet the needs 
of your class. 

  • Distribute the Evidence-Based Constructed Response sheet. 
  • Post this question on the board or a document camera:

* “How does persistence help Salva survive in a difficult environment?” 

  • Ask students:

* “What is persistence

  • Define the word if they cannot. It means “the ability to stick with something even if it is very hard.” Use a quick example such as this one: “When you want something from you parents, do you ask and ask and ask? If so, you are being persistent!” Use this as an opportunity to reinforce parts of speech: persistence is the noun, persistent is the adjective describing someone who shows persistence, and persist is the verb, the act of sticking with something that’s hard. 

Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Tell students you will briefly model for them how they might write a short constructed response to answer how Salva’s persistence in the face of a challenge helped him survive. To do this, you are going to share a handy way for them to use and explain quotes. It is called a Quote Sandwich. 
  • Display the Quote Sandwich graphic on a document camera or the board. Explain what is in each of the three sections of this sandwich: context (what is going on in the story at this time), quote from the scene, and explanation (how the quote shows persistence).
  • Display your quote with the page number. Have students turn to that page. 
  • Share the example on the Evidence-Based Constructed Response sheet while students read along with you. 
  • Then, using the Quote Sandwich, have them draw squares around the part of your example that represents the bread, middle, and bread of your Quote Sandwich. They should label each of the three levels of your sandwich. 
  • Have them turn to a partner and explain why they drew the boxes where they did. 
  • Discuss the following example: 

* [Salva’s persistence is one factor in how he survives in a difficult environment. One place in the text where we see this is when Salva is crossing the desert with a group of refugees. This is a long, difficult crossing that will take at least three days. On the first day, Salva’s only pair of shoes falls apart. He has to decide how to cope with this.] TOP PIECE OF BREAD

* [The author writes, “After only a few minutes, Salva had to kick off the flapping shreds and continue barefoot.” (52)] SANDWICH FILLING 

* [Salva’s taking off his shoes shows real persistence. Instead of just giving up, he decides to go barefoot 
to continue his hike across the desert. Because of his persistence, Salva is able to continue and to survive.] 

Partner Practice (10 minutes)

  • Once you have modeled the process, prompt students to turn to Chapter 11 in  A Long Walk to Water and say: 

* “Now that you see what you need to do, please work with your Discussion Appointment by Khartoum to find a section and quote from Chapter 11, 12, or 13 that you can use to show Salva’s persistence.”

  • If needed, clarify that the word spare, as it is used as an adjective in this context, means “lean, trim, or short.” While the class is working, circulate to be sure students are selecting a quote that shows persistence. Tell them that at this point, they are just talking. They will write their response on their own in a few minutes. 
  • After 5 minutes or so, have two or three pairs share their section and quote with the class. 

Independent Practice (10 minutes)

  • Instruct students to use the Evidence-Based Constructed Response sheet to write their answer to the question about Salva’s persistence. Remind them that they should give a quote followed by the page where it is found in the book and explain how it shows Salva’s persistence in the face of a challenge. 
  • Circulate to observe students as they write, noting patterns of strength or confusion. Provide additional guided practice with individuals as needed. You might ask a student to explain how the quote shows persistence or what they think persistence is and how a person might show it.

Closing & Assessments


A. Self-Assessment of Evidence-based Constructed Response (5 minutes) 

  • When the time is up, tell students that they have just begun to practice a type of writing they will work with a lot more in future lessons. It is fine if they didn’t finish or they felt challenged. The goal today was just to get started with this skill, and you want them to think about how that went.
  • Say something like: “The writing you have been doing is a way for you to show me that you are working toward one of our learning targets: ‘I can select a quote from A Long Walk to Water and explain how it illustrates a factor in how Nya and/or Salva survive.’ I’d like for you to look at what you have written and be sure that it matches the learning target.” 
  • Give directions:
  1. Read the learning target.
  2. Reread your writing and answer these questions:

* “Name a star: What is one thing you did well?”

* “Name a step: What is one thing you need in your answer to meet this target?”

  • Ask volunteers to respond. You should get answers like: “I need a quote” or “I need to explain how the quote shows persistence.”
  • As time permits, invite students to revise their evidence-based constructed responses. 
  • Collect students’ writing as useful formative assessment data. (See teaching note below for details.) 
  • Distribute Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer, Chapters 11-13 and Reader’s Notes, Chapters 14 and 15.




  • Reread Chapters 11–13 and add quotes to Gathering Textual Evidence graphic organizer 
  • Read Chapters 14–15 and complete Reader’s Notes (both parts) for these new chapters. 

Note: Later in the unit (Lesson 10), students return to finding and writing explanations of quotes and details from the novel as they begin to work on their essays. It would be good to return these Evidence-based Constructed Response sheets as soon as possible so students can see what they may need to work on. Then either keep students’ sheets or help students file them in their folder so they can refer to these sheets later as they prepare for their essays. 

Supporting Materials


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