Write to Inform: The Lost Children of South Sudan | EL Education Curriculum

You are here:

Students begin the unit researching to answer the questions generated while reading A Long Walk to Water during Unit 1, including questions about Lost Girls. While researching, students 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 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 use the Painted Essay® structure to write an informative essay comparing and contrasting how the novel and an informational text deal with the subject matter of the Lost Children of Sudan.

For homework, students continue to read chapters of A Long Walk to Water in preparation for reading and discussing them in class. When they are not reading the anchor text, they should continue their independent research reading for at least 20 minutes and respond to a prompt. Additionally, students should continue independent research reading over the weekends.

Please note: For the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum, there are Teaching Notes for each unit that contain helpful information for supporting English language learners. These overview notes complement the more specific English language learner supports and differentiated materials within each lesson. You will find the Teaching Notes in the Unit download below.

CCS Standards

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Discovering the Lost Children of Sudan: Write to Inform: The Lost Children of Sudan
  • Task: 
    • Complete selected response questions related to the main ideas and supporting details in a video clip (Mid-Unit Assessment Part I).
    • Research online to answer a question about A Long Walk to Water (Mid-Unit Assessment Part II).
    • Write an essay to compare and contrast the novel A Long Walk to Water and the informational article "The 'Lost Girls' of Sudan" to analyze how the author of the novel uses or alters history (end of unit assessment).
  • Targets: RL.7.1, RL.7.9, RI.7.1, RI.7.2, W.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.6, W.7.7, W.7.8, W.7.9, W.7.10, SL.7.2
  • Texts: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, God Grew Tired of Us (DVD), "The 'Lost Girls' of Sudan," "The Need"


Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to the EL Education curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. In this unit, students continue to work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, and collaboration). Students also continue to work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, and compassion).

In this unit, as students read A Long Walk to Water, they witness evidence of respect, empathy, collaboration, perseverance, and taking responsibility habits of character and discuss what these look and sound like in the text. Also, students focus on the habits of character of respect, empathy, and compassion as they respond to one another's ideas and skills in written work and in discussions. Students focus on integrity and perseverance as they work independently on assessments. Then as they track progress on their assessments, they take responsibility for their own learning.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 10-18 lessons. The Unit-at-a-Glance charts, available on the grade-level landing pages, break down each unit's lessons, showing CCS standards, agenda breakdown, daily learning targets, and ongoing assessments. The charts also indicate which lessons include mid- and end of unit assessments and the performance task.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts and resources that need to be procured. Please download the Required Trade Books and Resources Procurement List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
God Grew Tired of Us (DVD)
by Christopher Quinn (director)
One per classroom
ISBN: 0043396198999
A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park
One per student
ISBN: 9780547577319

Preparation and Materials

Prepare the following anchor charts for this unit:

  • Researchers Do These Things anchor chart
  • Choosing and Using Credible Internet Sources anchor chart
  • Criteria of an Effective Informative Essay anchor chart
  • Peer Critique anchor chart

Ensure that families are aware of the sensitive content of A Long Walk to Water, and prepare students who may be affected by this content in advance.

The following material is introduced in this unit and referenced throughout both the module and the school year:

  • Informative Writing checklist

Get updates about our new K-5 curriculum as new materials and tools debut.

Sign Up