Cinderella Stories

Students read multiple versions of the fairytale Cinderella, challenging them to think about how the culture, or setting, of the story influences the plot, and examining the setting and characters.

Unit Summary

In this first unit of second grade, students read multiple versions of a classic fairy tale, Cinderella. Through reading various versions of the same story, students are not only exposed to a wide variety of cultures, but they are also challenged to think about how the culture, or setting, of the story influences the plot. In first grade fiction, students took a trip around the world, exploring a wide variety of themes and stories from all over, in order to build a foundational understanding that our world is made up of many diverse and unique cultures. This unit builds on the exposure to new cultures students received in first grade and provides an opportunity for students to explore the idea that even though cultures may appear to be different, there are many things embedded within the unique characteristics of different cultures that make them similar. Storytelling, and the role of storytelling, is one of those similarities. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with others in the sequence, helps students build empathy and understanding of the world around them.

The different versions of Cinderella help students understand the components of a fairy tale and the lessons associated with traditional fairy tales. Over the course of the unit, students will be challenged to ask and answer questions about the text and illustrations as a way of deepening their understanding of plot, setting, and characters. In the first section of the unit, students will focus deeply on the setting, characters, and plot of the different versions of Cinderella, learning to compare and contrast the nuances across different versions. In the second section of the unit, students will read Cinderella stories that vary from the traditional plot structure but still include the underlying theme that a person’s actions (good or bad) influence his/her life outcomes. In this section students will dive deeply into three texts to analyze different characters’ traits and how the author uses those traits to help reveal the lesson of the story.

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

Supporting Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

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Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 1 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What are the characteristics of a fairy tale?
  • What lessons can we learn from the characters in traditional fairy tales and folktales? How can these lessons translate to our own lives?
  • How does the setting (time, place, culture) impact the characters and plot of a story?
  • How does the author use character traits to reveal the moral/lesson of the story?

Reading Enduring Understandings

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  • Fairy tales are fictional stories that come from all cultures. Common characteristics of fairy tales include; set in the past, have fantasy, make-believe or magical elements, have clearly defined good and evil characters, most often have a happy ending, and teach a lesson that is important to the culture they come from. 
  • Characters are developed through details that reveal their actions, thoughts, feelings, and relationships with others. These details help a reader understand how characters respond to major events and challenges. 
  • A character is a physical person in a story. Character is also an abstract way of describing how someone acts and their personality. For example a character trait is a word that describes what a person is like most of the time. 
  • Setting is where and when a story takes place. The setting influences how characters act and behave. Authors introduce the setting at the beginning of a story to help a reader understand why characters make certain decisions. 
  • The central message of a story is the big idea or lesson the story teaches. Knowing which events are most important in a story helps a reader figure out the story’s lesson or central message. 
  • Recounting stories, or retelling stories in the order they happen, helps a reader better understand a story. When recounting a story, readers think about the key events from the beginning, middle, and end of the story. 
  • Illustrations help a reader build a deeper understanding of what is happening in the text. Illustrations often include additional details that contribute to a reader’s understanding of what is happening. 

The main reading focus of this unit is on understanding characters, setting, and central message and comparing and contrasting those elements across multiple versions of the same story. Over the course of the unit students will notice how the setting influences the way characters respond to major events and challenges. Students will also learn how recounting a story, including its key details, helps determine the central message or lesson of the story. This unit is predominately read aloud and therefore allows students to grapple with the key understandings in complex texts prior to transferring understanding to shared reading texts in later units. 

Writing Focus Areas

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Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Develop a focused narrative with a beginning, middle, and end
  • Brainstorm and include events relevant to the focus
  • Zoom in on one moment by writing lots and lots of details
  • Use illustrations to add details and description to a story

In this unit students complete two longer narrative writing projects. The focus for narrative writing in this unit is on brainstorming and using brainstorms to create a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. Students also begin to explore how to zoom in on one moment by writing a lot of details or by including detailed illustrations. This unit is meant to serve as a launch to narrative writing. Students will have a lot of opportunities in upcoming units to continue to hone and refine their skills as narrative writers.

Language Focus Areas

  • Capitalize names of people
  • Capitalize the first letter of a sentence
  • Use end punctuation

The language focus of this unit is a review of key first grade language standards. Since this unit is a launch into the year and has a large focus on establishing routines and procedures for writing, the main emphasis is on reviewing the use of capitals and end punctuation. A language lesson is included as part of lesson 14, however, targeted feedback on capitals and punctuation can start at any point during the unit since it is a review.

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • Correctly answers the questions 

The focus of this unit is on continuing to establish the routines and procedures necessary for students to write for 15–20 minutes in response to the text. In first grade, students wrote for 10–15 minutes in response to the text; therefore, students should be accustomed to the routines of writing about reading as a way to deeply engage with a text. Explicit modeling, however, should be done to ensure that students are set up for the more rigorous demands of second grade.

While the main focus of this unit is on establishing the routines and procedures for writing about reading, students will also be working on answering the questions correctly in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the text. Students will also begin to include relevant facts and details from the text. 

Foundational Skills

Phonics and Word Recognition Focus Areas

Decode words with common prefixes and suffixes.

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage

This unit is one of the only units in the sequence where the majority of texts are read aloud to students. Therefore, the focus of this unit is on modeling reading aloud with prosody. This involves reading with expression, timing, phrasing, emphasis and intonation in a way that supports comprehension and meaning making. In later units, and during independent reading, students will have multiple opportunities to practice fluent reading in grade-level texts. 

Suggested Supports: 

  • Multiple times over the course of the unit prompt students to notice and explain how you are modeling fluent reading. Potential prompts:
    • What did you notice about the way I read X character’s dialogue? How does it help a reader better understand what is happening? 
    • What did you notice about my expression during this section of text? Why did I read with expression? How does it help a reader better understand what is happening? 
    • Why did I place extra emphasis on X word? How does it help a reader? 
    • When I read aloud I read fluently? What do you notice about the way I read? How does it help you better understand the story? 

Vocabulary

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Literary Terms

message, lesson, moral, character trait, compare, contrast, fairy tale

Roots and Affixes

Re-, Un-

Text-based

culture, temper, handsome, pleased, astonished, delighted, relieved, longed, forgiving, orphan, arrogant, disgust, splendid, radiant, differences, handful, elegant, peered, crossly, commotion, longed, disgrace, sobbed, entranced, marveled, nimble, gawk, scolded, anxious, scold, stammered, desperately, vanished, ashamed

Idioms and Cultural References

good riddance, catch a glimpse, cold feet, easier said than done, on the ball, in hot water, head over heels

Intellectual Prep

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Build Background Knowledge:

  • Research and learn about the different cultures found in the Cinderella stories from this unit.
  • Prepare an explanation of how these stories show one example of the way things may be in the particular country/culture but are not representative of an entire culture or all people from that country.
  • Internalize the difference between fairy tales and realistic fiction. What are the characteristics of a fairy tale that students should notice over the course of the unit? How are the characteristics of a fairy tale different from realistic fiction?

Internalize the Text and Standards:

  • Read all unit texts with essential questions and unit priority standards in mind. 
  • Take unit assessment and notice demands of unit priority standards. Determine the habits of good readers students need in order to access the text. 
    • RL2.1 → What does it look like for a good reader to ask and answer questions using who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details? What does a good reader need to know or do in order to show mastery of this standard? 
    • RL2.2 → What does it mean to recount a story? What is included? How do good readers determine a story's central message? 
    • RL2.3 → What should a good reader include if they are describing how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges? 
    • RL2.7 → How should good readers be using information from the illustrations? 
  • Identify major characteristics of all Cinderella stories (evil stepsisters, ball, slipper, etc.). Create an anchor chart for tracking the similarities and differences over the course of the unit. 
  • Brainstorm a list of powerful character traits to introduce and reinforce over the course of the unit. 
  • Identify major message, lessons, and morals that appear over the course of the unit. Brainstorm ways to make connections between these messages and everyday life in preparation for lessons 19 and 20 at the end of the unit. 
  • Determine a habits of discussion focus for the unit based on priority speaking and listening standards.

Classroom Routines and Structures:

  • Determine classroom routines for close-reading/discussion days.

Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • Cinderella stories have been told and retold all over the world.
  • There are over 900 different versions of Cinderella stories.
  • Every version of Cinderella differs in characters, plot, use of magic, and other details, but they all have common themes.
  • The main lesson from Cinderella is that good will always triumph over evil in the end. Other potential themes: Good things happen to good people. If you keep hope and faith, good things will come your way. Never let bad things in life take away your spirit. We can make good choices when faced with tough circumstances. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.

Lesson Map

1

  • What is Culture? — pg. 1–21 and 26–27

    RL.2.1

Identify culture and the ways that cultures can be similar or different by identifying key details in a text read aloud.

2

  • Cinderella pp. 1 – 14

    RL.2.1

    RL.2.3

Describe Cinderella, her stepmother, and her stepsisters, and how they act toward people who treat them poorly, by describing characters and how they respond to events.

3

  • Cinderella — 15-end

    RL.2.1

    RL.2.3

Describe what happens at the ball and how it changes Cinderella and the stepsisters’ lives by describing characters and how they respond to events.

4

  • Cinderella pp. 1 – 20

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe the setting of Cinderella and how it influences what characters do by identifying and describing key details from the text and illustrations that describe setting.

5

  • Cinderella pp. 20 – 40

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Explain how the queen knows that Cinderella had good character and what else Zahra does to show good character by using the text and illustrations to describe characters and how they respond to events.

6

  • Cendrillon

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe why Cendrillon says, “You gave me this night. It is enough,” by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.

7

  • Cendrillon

  • Cinderella

  • Cinderella

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    RL.2.9

    SL.2.1

Compare and contrast two versions of Cinderella by describing how the setting impacts the characters and plot of a story.

8

  • The Golden Sandal

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Explain why the stepmother could not rejoice in the good fortune by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.

9

  • Yeh-Shen pp. 1 – 15

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe Yeh-Shen’s relationship with the fish and why it is important by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.

10

  • Yeh-Shen — 17-end

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe why the king didn’t allow Yeh-Shen to bring her stepmother and stepsister to the palace after they were married by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters actions and motivations.

11

  • The Egyptian Cinderella

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Explain the significance of the falcon and how it makes this version of Cinderella different from others by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.

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  • Cendrillon

  • Cinderella

  • Cinderella

  • The Egyptian Cinderella

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    RL.2.9

    SL.2.1

    L.2.6

Compare and contrast two versions of Cinderella by describing how the setting impacts the characters and plot of a story and analyzing the different lessons learned.

13

  • “In Search of Cinderella”

    RL.2.9

    RF.2.4

Explain why the narrator started to hate feet by drawing conclusions based on details from multiple texts.

14

Narrative Writing

    W.2.3

    L.2.1

    L.2.2

Write a different version of Cinderella by writing narratives that include a beginning, middle, and end.

15

  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe Nyasha and how her character is different from Manyara by analyzing details that describe character traits and motivations.

16

  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

Analyze how the author uses character traits to demonstrate the lesson or moral of the story by analyzing details that describe character traits and the lesson.

17

  • The Talking Eggs

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe Blanche and how her character is different from her mother and sister by analyzing details that describe character traits and motivations.

18

  • The Talking Eggs

    RL.2.2

Analyze how the author uses character traits to demonstrate the lesson or moral of the story by analyzing details that describe character traits and the lesson.

19

  • The Rough-Face Girl

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Describe Rough-Face Girl and how her character is different from the two older sisters by analyzing details that describe character traits and motivations.

20

  • The Rough-Face Girl — Close read

    RL.2.2

    RL.2.3

Analyze how the author uses character traits to demonstrate the lesson or moral of the story by analyzing details that describe character traits and the lesson.

21

Discussion

  • All unit texts

    RL.2.9

    SL.2.1

    L.2.6

Debate and analyze what lessons we can learn from the characters in traditional fairy tales and folktales and how these lessons translate to our lives by citing evidence from the entire unit to support an idea.

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  • All unit vocabulary

Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs and closely related adjectives by sorting and interacting with target unit vocabulary.

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3 days

Narrative Writing

    W.2.3

    SL.2.5

    L.2.1

    L.2.2

Write a different version of Cinderella by writing narratives that include a beginning, middle, and end.

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Assessment

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.2.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.2.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.2.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.2.1 — Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

  • RL.2.2 — Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

  • RL.2.3 — Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

  • RL.2.5 — Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

  • RL.2.7 — Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

  • RL.2.9 — Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.2.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.2.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • SL.2.4 — Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

  • SL.2.5 — Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

  • SL.2.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

Writing Standards
  • W.2.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.3 — Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

  • W.2.8 — Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.