Bring Emily Arnold McCully’s Caldecott Winning book, Mirette on the High Wire, alive with this active unit! We combine a rich exploration—primary grades appropriate—of language and science to produce a meaningful learning experience.
Materials: Activity Sheets (included), string, and other common classroom supplies
Time: About 3 hours total if all the parts are included
Level: GATE 1st or 2nd and 3rd
Primary Source Analysis and Inferences: Let’s set the stage by seeing what students can infer from a 100 year old poster. Our goal is to produce—orally and visually—what is the equivalent of an excellent written response. We must cite details from the source, provide explanations, and use logic to support an opinion.
Movement and Language in the High Wire Walk: Students try balancing on a line in an introduction to a STEM activity we will do later. In the meantime, we begin a discussion about how French words are a part of the English language—including a visual description which we apply to our high wire walk.
Vocabulary in Context: Mirette on the High Wire is rich in vocabulary. Use the ready-to-print activity sheet to help students determine word meaning through sentence level context clues.
Critical Thinking Questions: As always, we want students to think about literature and answer higher order thinking skills questions.
Digging Deeper into Characterization: Use the ready-to-print activity sheet below to help students master the all-important literary task of supporting inferences with examples and explanations.
A Balancing Act: Let’s bring STEM into our literacy unit. We will challenge the students to make a ruler balance on a string tied between two desks. It will be fun and challenging, but we want to learn about physical science in the process. In the process, students work like a scientist and reach conclusions about balance and center of gravity.