In this first unit, students will explore the question: "How do culture, time, and place influence the development of identity?" Through a study of the development of character in the novel A Long Walk to Water, students will immerse themselves in the experiences of the people of Southern Sudan during the Sudanese Civil War.
In this unit, students will read the first five chapters of the novel, discovering the differing perspectives of the novel's two main characters and considering the different experiences of the Dinka and Nuer tribes of Southern Sudan. Students will then explore informational texts that describe the cultures of the Dinka and the Nuer. Students will identify textual evidence that supports the differing perspectives of the novel's characters and the Sudanese people, and do routine writing tasks to analyze and explain that evidence. (This will lay the foundation for a rich performance task in Unit 3 in which students synthesize their understanding of character point of view in a two-voice poem.)
Throughout this unit, students build their ability to read closely and to analyze textual evidence in writing. This unit also introduces important discussion protocols that help students collaborate effectively during discussions. For the Mid-Unit and End of Unit Assessments in Unit 1, students will demonstrate their abilities to gather textual evidence that highlights the different perspectives from their readings.