Mirette on the High Wire {FIAR}


Our week of learning activities inspired by Five in A Row Curriculum's lesson plans for 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)

Get your copy of Mirette on the High Wire

Mirette on the High Wire Lesson Plans -- 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 : ) 

Mirette on the High Wire Lesson Plans -- 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!

  • Make a Word/ Word Families

Circus Themed PreK Pack from Homeschool Creations

Mirette on the High Wire Lesson Plans -- Math

  • 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!

Mirette on the High Wire Lesson Plans -- Art

  • 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....

Mirette on the High Wire Lesson Plans -- Science

  • 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."

    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 : )

    Mirette on the High Wire Useful Links:

    Homeschooling with Five in a Row? See our row for Harold and the Purple Crayon!


    1. Mirette was a favourite here. My children loved walking on a rope on the ground and we found a playground with a low rope for walking on. Mirette was several months ago but the children were eager to look at your pictures and talk about their experiences.

    2. These are wonderful ideas! I love how you tied in the book to his work...and I loved the senses recording sheet for the popcorn! Thanks so much for linking up to Teach Me Tuesday -- I hope we see you again next week!

    3. I love all you did! The clown is so cute. I love the popcorn activity.

      Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

    4. Oh I love your ideas! We are planning on FIAR next year...
      That clown math activity is awesome!

    5. Hello,
      I am a new follower to your blog. Can't wait to check out more of your posts. I like how you connected your activities to subject areas. Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
      Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

    6. I am just hopping over to thank you for linking up this week to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop! How much fun, can I come to your homeschool? :-) It looks like you took a lot of time to tie everything together nicely and your son looks like he is having a great time. I love the lines and endpoints with the map. I hope to see you link up again this week. I am your newest GFC Follower!


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