The Man Who Walked Between the Towers Lesson Plan
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
- Define character traits
- Use inference skills to analyze a character using character traits
- Cite evidence from text to support conclusions
Set Up and Prepare
Use Post-it notes to mark specific points in the story where the character’s words, actions, thoughts, or feelings might help determine a character trait. This will make the discussion flow during the lesson.
- The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
- Chart paper
Have students choose a favorite movie, TV, or book character. Ask students to describe that character using specific words. Have students share. Inform students that when they use words to describe a character’s actions, thoughts, words, or feelings they are using character traits. We can determine character traits by looking at what a character says (their words), how a character feels, what a character thinks, and what actions a character makes. Using chart paper, have the class come up with a list of “Character Traits” they might use to describe a person. Add to this list as children come up with new words.
Explain that the students are going to read a book about a person who did something of historical significance. Ask students to think about the character’s words, thoughts, feelings and actions while reading.
As the story is read, pause at key points, and have the students fill in the chart. Have the students leave the boxes labeled character trait empty until after the story is finished. Discuss how his actions, words, feelings, and thoughts determine his character.
After the story is finished have the students reread their responses for how Philippe acted, what he said, thought and felt. Students should then use that information to infer character traits to describe Philippe Petit.
The next day have the students choose a book they can read independently. While reading, have the students fill out a blank character trait worksheet about the main character. Have students share their completed worksheets with one another. Add new character traits to the class “Character Traits” poster. If you have a Smartboard or a computer projector you can create a class chart on the computer instead, and then save and print a copy for each student.
Writing: Teach a mini-lesson on how to show movement through time using key phrases. Read the story to students and ask them how much time passed. Then ask the students to identify key words and phrases that showed movement of time. Here are just a few used in the book: “Early on an August evening,” “At midnight,” “It took three hours,” and “as the stars faded.” Students can then revise a piece of writing by adding phrases to show the movement through time.
Reading: This is a great story to have students practice their retelling and story event sequencing skills. Write the story events on paper out of order. Have the students cut each event out and then place them in the proper sequence and glue them on construction paper. Have students compare the order of their stories.
Math: Read this book during a unit of measurement. Students will have fun converting the different units of measurement.
Students can practice identifying character traits at home with their independent reading. Copy a blank character traits worksheet and send it home with students to complete for homework. Students can talk about the different characters in their book.