What can we learn from those who have survived the greatest tragedies and become even more determined to help others? How can we share these kinds of stories to inspire and educate? In this module, students develop their ability to analyze narratives and create their own stories as they learn about the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan and the lessons revealed through their journeys.
Students begin Unit 1 reading the novel A Long Walk to Water. The focus of the reading is on how the setting shapes the characters and plot, how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters in the text, and how themes are developed throughout the story. As they analyze and discuss the text, students also create discussion norms in order to have productive discussions about the text at the end of the unit.
Students begin Unit 2 researching to answer the questions generated while reading A Long Walk to Water during Unit 1, including questions about the Lost Girls of Sudan. While researching, they determine two or more central ideas in informational texts and provide objective summaries of them. Students also watch clips of the documentary God Grew Tired of Us about The Lost Boys of the Sudan, analyzing the main ideas and supporting details and explaining how the ideas clarify what they have been researching. In the second half of the unit, students write a compare and contrast essay looking at how an informational text about the Lost Children of Sudan and the novel treat similar subject matter.
Students begin Unit 3 comparing A Long Walk to Water to the audiobook version of the text, exploring how authors and readers develop tone, mood, and expression. Students draw on this exploration as they start the second half of the unit, planning and then writing a narrative children's ebook about a Lost Boy or Girl of Sudan. Through mini lessons and independent planning work, students focus on developing characters, settings, plot points, and narrative techniques such as pacing, description, and dialogue. For their performance task, students refine their narratives and convert them into ebooks to publish and share with others, especially elementary school children.
Notes from the Designer
A Long Walk to Water contains references to sensitive topics such as war (including the violent death of family members and children), displacement, family separation, hunger, dehydration (including death from lack of water), refugee camps, violent deaths from wild animals, and serious illness of family members. These issues must be carefully and sensitively discussed to give students context as they read the story. Speak with students and families in advance, especially those who may have sensitivity to topics discussed.
The ebook edition of Nasreen's Secret School is used as a model for the Grade 7: Module 1 Performance Task, for which students create an illustrated ebook to share with a younger audience. If students will be completing this task using digital tools, the ebook should be procured as a model. If digital tools for the Performance Task are unavailable, a copy of the print edition (978-1416994374) can be substituted to support students in making a picture book on paper.