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Five In A Row Activities: Mirette on the High Wire

For our next FIAR selection!!  We read, "Mirette on the High Wire" by Emily Arnold McCully.
"In this picture book set in 19th-century Paris, a child helps a daredevil who has lost his edge to regain his confidence. Many traveling performers stay at Madame Gateaux's boarding house, but Mme.'s daughter Mirette is particularly taken with one guest--the quiet gentleman who can walk along the clothesline without falling off. Mirette implores the boarder to teach her his craft, not knowing that her instructor is the "Great Bellini" of high wire fame.  McCully's rich palette and skillful renderings of shadow and light sources make this an inviting postcard from the Old World."
--(Review from Publisher's Weekly)

Social Studies:
  • This was a great book to review countries we have already visited, and we even learned a few new places, too!  Mirette learned that Bellini performed over Niagara Falls in New York, in Russia, Spain, France, and Italy.  We mapped these places daily and talked about which continent each country is located on-- still working on those : ) 
Language Arts:
  • Compound Words-- we just went over compound words when we rowed "A Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge," so it was good to reinforce this concept again.  Using a document found at The Mommy Teacher, T and I made up compound words.  Some were silly and others were real words.  Then he picked six words and made three compound word booklets; using three strips of paper, I folded it to make "doors" each holding a word and then on the inside T wrote the new word and drew an illustration. 

  • Adjectives--  To me, asking T to describe something seems like a fairly easy task, but I realize it is quite difficult for him.  I really need to zone in on a specific characteristic to get something from him.... a work in progress : )  I read "Hairy, Scary, Ordinary" to help him start thinking of adjectives, but I think it was too wordy and he lost interest. Using a recording sheet, T used his five senses to describe popcorn.
  • Long /a/ Funny Faces-- this idea came from the Circus themed Mailbox Magazine; we each had a blank clown face and whoever completed his face first, won.  On your turn, you picked up a card, if the word had a long a sound you could add a facial feature to your clown's face.  If you picked a word with a short a sound, you lost your turn.  T won every time!
  • Feed the Clown-- This idea also came from the Circus themed Mailbox Magazine; I made a Clown face with an open mouth and T was to feed candy (pom poms) to the clown to answer addition problems.  I glued a paper plate to an empty popcorn box and decorated like so; I cut the back of the popcorn box so we could grab the pom poms. 
  • Lines and endpoints--  Using two pieces of string, one going in a straight line and the other in a wavy line, and our USA map, I showed T which route would be the shortest... the straight line!
  • We briefly discussed a few of the topics in the Five in a Row book; honestly I don't divulge too much into art discussions with T because he just shows no interest.   We did, however, use the "Usborne Art Treasury" to complete 4 Days of Art-- each project corresponding to the places Bellini traveled.  See this post for more....
  • Balance-- T tried some balance activities from "The Wiggle and Giggle Busy Book."
Amazing Balancing Butterfly craft: We actually did not put any pennies on our butterflies and they balanced just fine.  Without the weight of the pennies, we made them "fly."
We read over the "In Your Ears" section of  "The Usborne Book of Science Activities: Vol. 3."  Using a bottle filled with water and glitter, we saw how the fluid in our ears reacts when we spin around and then stop.  We end up feeling dizzy because our brain still thinks we are spinning; the water in our "balance tubes" is still moving. 
  • Chemical Reaction Experiment-- in the first page of the book, we see Mirette's mother working in the kitchen surrounded by her copper pans.  The FIAR manual suggested talking about the element Copper, and so I found a couple experiments using pennies.  In one experiment we used vinegar to turn a penny green, and in another we used lemon juice to make the penny shine once again; no pictures because our experiment didn't work. Oh well!
And finally (bummed I have no physical pictures of this), I taped a long piece of string onto our floor pretending it was our high wire, and we pretended to be Mirette and Bellini!  Lots of fun!  Lots of laugh : )

Useful Links:
Emily Arnold McCully: Information about the Author/ Illustrator
Adventures with Kids: Balancing
Jay Cochrane: Prince of the Air-- a modern Tight-rope Walker
Delightful Learning: Mirette on the High Wire
Stilts for Dr. Seuss: making stilts looked like fun, but we never got around to it.
ABC and 123: Movement and Music in France

Next up is: "Harold and the Purple Crayon"
I'd love for you to follow along so you never miss out on one of our fun activities we share at School Time Snippets!
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