You are here

ELA G7:M1:U2:L9

Mid-Unit 2 Assessment: Comparing Fictional and Historical Texts

You are here:

Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite several pieces of evidence to support an analysis of informational text. (RI.7.1)
  • I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of informational text. (RL.7.1)
  • I can analyze how authors of fiction use or alter history based on my comparison of a fictional and historical account of the same time, place, or character. (RL.7.9)

Supporting Targets

Learning TargetsOngoing Assessments
  • I can explain how Water for South Sudan involves Sudanese villagers in the process of drilling wells, and the effects that drilling a well can have on a village.
  • I can explain how the author of A Long Walk to Water both used and altered history (based on my comparison of the novel and Water for South Sudan’s website).

  • Water for South Sudan Homework Assignment (text-dependent questions)
  • Mid-Unit 2 Assessment


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A. Vocabulary Entry Task (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time 

A. Discussing Water for South Sudan Homework Assignment: Text-Dependent Questions (15 minutes)

B. Mid-Unit 2 Assessment (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A. Turn and Talk (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Vocabulary Review

  • This lesson gives students background information that helps them better understand Nya’s story. It includes the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment, which evaluates students’ ability to explain how and why the novel’s author both used and altered historical facts. The standard, RL 7.9, uses the language of “alter” history. It is worth noting that author Linda Sue Park seldom alters facts; rather, she more often elaborates on or imagines details about historical facts. Students practiced these skills in Lessons 6 and 7. 
  • Notice that students do not have a portion of the novel due today, since they completed it for Lesson 8, but the beginning routine of the class remains similar, with a review of vocabulary from the informational text they read. The review of learning targets is brief and folded into Work Time.
  • By this point, students have met at least once with each discussion partner. Starting at this point, when lesson plans call for the use of the Discussion Appointment protocol, they do not indicate which Discussion Appointment to use; you will decide. It is useful to try to rotate through the Discussion Appointments to give students the opportunity to discuss their ideas with a range of classmates.
  • In advance: Review the Water for South Sudan reading.
  • Explore the website and make sure the video loads correctly. Prepare necessary technology. 
  • Decide which Discussion Appointment students will use today.
  • Decide appropriate options for students who finish the assessment early. 
  • Consider whether there are students who should review the homework assignment in a small guided reading group with you, rather than with a partner.
  • Post: learning targets, vocabulary entry task.



advocate; mission, transform, empower, principle, renewed (from

  • Vocabulary Entry Task (one per student)
  • Discussion Appointments in Salva’s Africa (from Lesson 1)
  • Document camera
  • Reading Closely: Guiding Questions handout (from Lesson 2)
  • Mid-Unit 2 Assessment: Comparing “Water for South Sudan” and A Long Walk to Water (one per student)
  • Mid-Unit 2 Assessment: Comparing “Water for South Sudan” and A Long Walk to Water (Answers and Sample Responses for Teacher Reference)
  • A Long Walk to Water (book; one per student)
  • Vocabulary Review homework (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Vocabulary Entry Task (5 minutes)

  • Post the Vocabulary Entry Task in advance:

“Take out your homework and compare the definitions you wrote in the right-hand column with the ones below, and then correct your paper as necessary.”

  • Mission: purpose
  • Transform: completely change
  • Empower: give someone more control over their own life
  • Principle: a belief about what is right or wrong
  • Renewed: feeling strong and able to start again
  • When you and your partner are finished, discuss these questions: 

* “What is an experience that has transformed you?” 

* “What is an experience that has empowered you?”

  • Ask students to put their Water for South Sudan Homework Assignment out on the desk so you can check it. Do not pick it up, since they will need it during the lesson.

  • This turn and talk provides students with the opportunity to connect words that are critical to the assessment to their own experiences.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Discussing Water for South Sudan Homework Assignment: Text-Dependent Questions (15 minutes)

  • Direct students’ attention to the learning target: 

* “I can explain how the author of A Long Walk to Water both used and altered history (based on my comparison of the novel and Water for South Sudan’s website).”

  • Remind them that they have practiced this skill before (with Salva’s story and the article about Sudan) and tell them that after they have a chance to talk about the reading they did for homework, they will have an assessment of this skill, using the reading they did the previous evening.
  • Tell students that they will have the opportunity to discuss the Water for South Sudan Homework Assignment with a classmate. They should review their homework and make sure that they both understand the answers to all the questions. 
  • Remind students of their work with the Reading Closely: Guiding Questions handout. Remind them that this document helps connect all of the different skills strong readers use, and tell them that readers use these skills both with novels, which they have been doing, and with informational text, which is what they are discussing today. Encourage them to use the same close reading skills when discussing this text that you have seen them use in discussing the novel.
  • Remind students of the expectations for the Discussion Appointment protocol and direct them to find their Discussion Appointment (you select which appointment: Juba, Kenya, Ethiopia, Khartoum, White Nile). 
  • After students have worked for 10 minutes, cold call several to explain their answers, especially to the questions for Excerpt 2. If possible, scribe strong answers on a blank form on a document camera. Prompt students to correct their work as necessary. You can leave this up during the assessment.
  • Thank students for their participation and ask them to return to their seats and clear their desks for the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment.

  • Making sure that all students have the opportunity to make meaning of this text before they are assessed ensures that the assessment is primarily of the standard, RL 7.9, and not primarily of their ability to independently make meaning of complex text.
  • During Work Time A, you may want to pull struggling readers to review the homework in a small group with you, focusing on Excerpt 2 to ensure that they have understood the text on which the assessment centers.

B. Mid-Unit 2 Assessment (20 minutes)

  • Tell students that today they get to demonstrate their progress on the learning target that was discussed earlier. Assure students that there are no tricks to this assessment; it really is the exact process they’ve been practicing in class in Lessons 6 and 7.
  • Tell students that everyone needs to remain silent until the entire class is finished, that this commitment is how they show respect for each other and it is non-negotiable. Write on the board, “If you finish early, you can …” and include suggestions they made in Unit 1 (Lesson 14). 
  • Distribute the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment: Comparing “Water for Sudan” and A Long Walk to Water to each student. 
  • Ask students to begin work on the assessment. Circulate as needed to ensure students are on task and answer any questions regarding the directions for the assessment.
  • Collect students’ assessments.
  • For some students, this assessment may require more than the 20 minutes allotted. Consider providing students time over multiple days if necessary. It is also possible to shorten the number of responses. To do this, cross out the bottom row on each chart. All students need to show their thinking on both charts. 
  • Use your professional judgment with regard to Section III of the assessment. This question will be particularly difficult for students who struggle to explain complex ideas in writing, and a weak answer may indicate more about their writing than about their understanding of standard RL 7.9. Options include: asking for oral answers from some students; making success with this item the criteria for an “advanced” as opposed to “proficient” score on the assessment; removing it for all students and substituting a Think-Pair-Share about that question. 

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Turn and Talk (5 minutes) 

  • Explain the following scenario: “Your little brother is in fourth grade, and he is learning about the U.S. Civil War. He comes home grumbling from school one day. ‘Can you believe it? My teacher says I have to read TWO things—this novel about a soldier in the Civil War and this article about camp life and battle strategies in the Civil War. I don’t get it. Why can’t I just read one thing?’”
  • Ask students to turn and talk: 

* “What would you tell your brother? How does reading informational text and a novel help you understand a topic better?” 

  • After several minutes, invite a few students to share something their partner said. Reinforce the relationship between reading informational text and reading historical fiction. 
  • Distribute the Vocabulary Review homework and explain the directions. As time permits, ask students to do the first one to make sure they understand how to do the task.

  • Consider posting this scenario and the turn and talk questions on the board.


ELA G7:M1:U2:L9


  • See Vocabulary Review homework. Rewrite the sentences from A Long Walk to Water in your own words. Make sure you are correctly explaining the underlined words. The page number after each sentence indicates the page in the book where you can find the sentence. Let’s look at the example on your homework sheet: 

Salva shook with terror inside and out. (40)
Salva was very scare`d. 

Supporting Materials


Our newest K-5 curricula is available on a new site,
This website will be decommissioned in June 2018. Sign up for updates.