Beacon Lesson Plan Library

High Wire Act

Serena Mirabella


This activity is a follow up writing activity for [Mirette on the High Wire] by Emily Arnold McCully. The students produce a “high wire” time line with yarn and index cards to sequence events and then write an expository paragraph.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping ideas, grouping related ideas, keeping a notebook of ideas, observing surroundings, answering questions posed by others).

The student uses supporting ideas, details, and facts from a variety of sources to develop and elaborate the topic.


-Paper clips
-Note cards
-McCully, Emily Arnold. [Mirette on the High Wire]. Putnam: New York 1992.
-Copy of writing rubric (Bay County Writing Rubric) *see attached file (rubric will assess content and organization only)
-Masking tape
-Chart pape


1. Have ready copy of story or student text (Silver Burdette, Literature Works)
2. Gather materials for activity.
3. Cut yarn and gather index cards either enough for each student or for small groups.
4. Have copy of writing rubric (Bay County Writing Rubric)


1. Prior to beginning this lesson, students should have read the story, [Mirette on the High Wire]

2. Stretch a piece of masking tape on the floor and have a student walk across as if on a high wire.

3. Ask students if Mirette was able to walk across the wire the first time she tried .

4. Students brainstorm and teacher records events from story where Mirette learns to walk the high wire.

5. Students (individually or in small groups) make a twelve inch time line with yarn.

6.. Students write a sentence on each of three index cards that sequences three main events or steps that Mirette took to learn to walk the wire and clip them to the high wire time line. This will serve as a prewriting activity and graphic organizer for an expository paragraph.

7. Students draw a concept web on notebook paper and write Mirette learns to walk the high wire in the center circle (or simplify). Then, they draw three circles around the center circle and write key words from the index cards in the circles. The center circle (main idea) will be expanded as the topic and concluding sentence. The three events are the supporting detail sentences.

8. Students use their concept webs as planning sheet sto prepare them to write paragraphs which will include a topic sentence, detail sentences and a concluding sentence.

9. Students write well formed paragraphs explaining the process that Mirette used to learn to walk the high wire in chronological order.


The students’ completed time lines are used as formative assessment and their paragraphs are used as assessment. A rubric is attached and includes criteria for successful performance. Paragraphs are assessed for ideas and organization.

Attached Files

The attached document is the Bay District School writing rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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