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A Spelling Seed for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 5

Literary Theme: Ambition & Desire

Author(s): Mordicai Gerstein


This is a two-session spelling seed for the book The Man Who Walked Between the Towes by Mordicai Gerstein.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement the Literary Curriculum by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

Spelling Seeds work alongside the texts within the Literary Curriculum and, as such, will also reflect the suggested number of weeks spent on a text, as well.


Word List Words

achieve, amateur, desperate, disastrous, embarrass (+ment), excellent, guarantee, marvellous

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words ending in –able and –ible, ably and –ibly

A Planning Sequence is available for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

Planning Sequence Overview:


Information writing (Wikipedia page), letters of advice (formal), writing in role, interviews, persuasive speeches

Main Outcome:

Biography / autobiography


12 sessions, 2+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

In this two-week planning sequence using The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein, children explore how a real-life story has been portrayed as fiction. They consider a diary entry found written by Philippe Petit just before he leaves to walk between the towers and write letters of advice to him, considering the pros and cons. After reading up to the point of the act, children write a first person recount in the first person as the main character, using figurative language to describe feelings and scenery. As witnesses and reporters, they create newspaper reports for The New York times. Finally the children gather everything they have learnt about Philippe Petit and write a biographical account of his life, researching where needed to fill in gaps about childhood and events prior to this. They then write their own autobiography, with a focus on a particular event in their life, which has been significant.

Synopsis of Text:

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour performing high-wire tricks.


America, New York, figures from history, circus, famous people

View The Man Who Walked Between the Towers Planning Sequence
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