Early Literacy: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (lesson plan, part 2)

The Man Who Walked.jpg

Last year, I did a yoga class around the book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gernstein because it is probably one of my most favorite picture books of all time.  So here it is, making a reappearance in this new lesson plan.  And I'm sure it won't be the last time! Besides being a fantastic tool for teaching almost any subject (it encompasses comparisons of non-fiction vs. fiction, a plethora of math concepts, stellar vocabulary, lends itself beautifully to social studies/current events, touches on geography, and could be used for any number of narrative and language building activities), The Man Who Walked Between the Towers also provides the perfect foundation for a yoga practice focused on balance, perseverance, self-awareness, and risk-taking.

Three things I loved - and felt really successful with - in this particular class: 1) The Connection activity where everyone had a chance to share a time they had taken a risk and/or were brave; and 2) the use of a tactile drishti (we used plastic gemstones, representing a crystal) to help kids stay engaged and focused during balancing poses; and 3) the use of the "crystal" for Savasana.  For the latter I placed a gemstone on each child's forehead and led kids on a guided meditation where they imagined the light of the crystal traveling all through their body and then shining out to the world.  The lesson plan goes into all the detail for the class so I won't break it all down here, but needless to say this is a class I will repeat again and again!

Because of some changes to the schedule, we were a bit rushed on time and didn't get to the game, but I have played it with kids before and its a real crowd-pleaser.  But it can take time depending on the size of your class, so allow for at least 10 minutes :)  


PS. There is a great slideshow on Youtube that shows cool pictures of Philippe Petite actually walking on the wire in 1974.  This 1974 news story, showing an interview with one of the policemen who tried to get Philippe off the wire, is also a really nice complement to the read aloud.  And then this mini-documentary is also a great addition to any lesson if you have an extra 15 minutes (it shows some of the same footage as the above news story)! The documentary Man on Wire is also a great resource :)