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Character Education Lesson Plan

Teaching Determination:  The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

by Mordicai Gerstein

Grades: 1-4

CASEL Standard: Self-Management- The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.

Character Education Lesson Objective: To understand what determination is and what to do when you feel determined to do something


Part 1: 

  • Have you ever wanted to do something so much?  What happened?
  • Sometimes, we decide that we want to do something so much and nothing can change our minds.  When you want to do something, even if there are obstacles in your way, that is called determination.
  • Can you think of something that you have wanted to do, but there was a reason that you could not do it right away?
  • You might have wanted to eat certain food, go someplace, play with a specific toy or wear certain clothes.
  • What was in the way of you being able to do what you wanted? 
  • Your parents might tell you that you are not able to do what you want or there might be other obstacles such as how much something costs or that a place might be too far away.
  • When you are determined, you do not give up, even when getting or doing what you want seems really difficult.
  • I am going to give you a worksheet that has a few examples of someone who wants to do something.  There are also the ways that the person figured out how to do what they wanted to do.  You are going to draw a line from what the person wanted to do and match it to how the person was able to do what they wanted.
  • When you are done, we will go over the answers.  As you are going over the answers, emphasize how there are different ways to accomplish your goal when you are determined.

Part 2: 

  • We are going to be reading a book called, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein.
  • Read the book.
  • What was Phillipe determined to do? 
  • How did he make his desire to walk between the two towers happen?
  • Why do you think Phillipe’s friends helped him?
  • How did Phillipe feel when he was walking on the cable?
  • What happened after Phillipe finished walking between the towers?
  • What punishment did Phillip receive from the judge?  Why do you think that is what the judge told him to do?
  • Do you think Phillipe made the right choice when he decided to walk between the towers?  Why or why not?

Part 3: 

  • Phillipe was really determined to walk between the towers.  He figured out how he could get into the towers, who would help him and how he could make it happen.  He probably spent a lot of time planning so that he could do what he wanted to do.
  • You are now going to write a story about how you could do something that you really want to do.  Think of as many details as you can to help you plan out what you want to do.
  • When you are done writing, you will have a chance to share what you wrote.
  • After the students have finished writing, allow them to share.  Point out the different things that people want to do and the different ways that they came up to go about doing them.

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View more: Character Education Lesson Plans

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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