Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Lesson 1
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the characteristics of fairy tales as a genre to the students. The students explore positive and negative character traits and universal themes in the story of Cinderella. The service plan is introduced in this lesson and carried out over the next weeks.


Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (Plus time to watch a movie)


The learner will:

  • recall the story elements of the Cinderella story.
  • orally retell the story of Cinderella.
  • listen to versions of Cinderella (book and video).
  • discuss the universal themes and traits of fairy tales.
  • make a plan for a service learning project of gathering gently-used clothing to give to families who have the need.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

The service learning component is a clothing drive. The class collects new or gently used clothes for children. The drive may be conducted as a class or as a school-wide project. The clothes are then donated to a local agency. The students may vote on which agency they prefer. (Some agencies redistribute locally while others distribute around the world. Some agencies charge a minimal amount to the clients.)


  • Picture books of Cinderella (see Bibliographical References)
  • Video of Cinderella story (see Bibliographical References)
  • Large construction paper and crayons/pencils (for each student)
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Blank receipts from agency where you will bring the donated items
  • Student copies of Clothing Drive (Attachment One)
  • Student copies of Fairy Tale Traits (Attachment Two)
Handout 1
Clothing Drive
Handout 2
Fairy Tale Traits

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Show the video of Cinderella to the class. Ask students as they view the video to watch for the story elements of character, setting, problem, events, solution and ending. Tell them that after the movie you will be asking them to name these.

Teacher Note: Sensitivity to students who may be members of blended families should be considered when teaching these lessons. The stereotypes of "stepmothers" and "stepsisters" that are part of the Cinderella story will need to be carefully addressed by the teacher.

  • Show students how to fold a piece of large paper into eight squares. They illustrate (K-1) and label (second grade) the story elements in the eight squares (characters, setting, problem, events, solution and ending).

  • Using the story elements as a reference, the students retell the story of Cinderella. This may be done as a whole class or in small groups.

    Day Two:

  • Tell the class that Cinderella is a fairy tale. A fairy tale is a type of story (genre) that involves magic and good and evil characters. To check for prior knowledge, start a KWL about fairy tales on chart paper.

  • Pass out Attachment Two: Fairy Tale Traits. Read the list with the students and have them highlight the words that describe Cinderella (second grade). Younger students can raise their hands when you read a word that describes Cinderella. Save this list to look at with other fairy tales.

  • Read aloud a book version of the Cinderella story. (The Native American and African versions will be used in the following lessons.) Discuss the choices made by the different characters and the consequences of their choices.

  • Hold a discussion about the difference between good and evil characters. Define selfish and selfless. Brainstorm and discuss other vocabulary related to the character traits (enchantress, spells, magical, evil, villain, greedy, foolishness, laziness, gentle, kind, hard-working, patient, honest, brave, helpful, humble). Discuss why Cinderella continued to be kind when the step sisters and mother were unkind. Who was acting for the common good in the story and who was acting for selfish reasons?

  • Students fold a piece of paper in half and draw two characters: one evil and one good. The drawings should reflect the characters and include labels from the brainstormed list.

    Day Three:

  • Read aloud a second version of the Cinderella story. Ask the students to compare and contrast the two versions (use a Venn diagram or have students draw one difference).

  • Ask the students to describe Cinderella’s family. Does Cinderella get from her family the things she needs? What are the most important things about families?

  • Discuss Cinderella’s feelings throughout the story and in response to different issues. Encourage the students to respond to each other as they discuss and compare her feelings. Ask the students how they think Cinderella felt about having only her ragged clothes to wear.

  • Introduce the service learning project to the students. Tell them that there are many children who—like Cinderella—don’t have appropriate clothes to wear. Sometimes this makes them not want to go to school. Sometimes other children make fun of them because of their clothes. Talk to the students about these feelings and help them decide how they should respond to this issue (personally and as a class). Lead the students to the idea of holding a clothing drive.

  • Tell students about agencies that work for the common good by providing clothes, food and furniture for families that need help getting some basic supplies. List some of the places in your community that accept used clothing and tell the students how each agency distributes (locally, internationally, for a fee, free, etc.). Students can vote on where they should send the collected clothes (which agency).

  • Send home the family letter explaining the drive and asking for volunteers (see Attachment One: Clothing Drive). Start collecting the clothes and set a date for the end of the clothing drive.


Assessment is obtained though ongoing teacher observation of student participation and understanding of material through discussion, retelling, brainstorming and drawings.

School/Home Connection:

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
Family members are invited to help with the clothing drive. A family letter involves families in collecting gently-used clothing for local agencies. See Attachment One: Clothing Drive.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

Read other versions of Cinderella and compare/contrast the story elements. The following two lessons explore Cinderella stories from other cultures.

Bibliographical References:

  • Disney. Cinderella (1950, Animated version).
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein. Cinderella (1957, Television version with Julie Andrews, black and white, 97 minutes).
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein. Cinderella (1965, Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella, color, 83 minutes).
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein. Cinderella (1997, Brandy as Cinderella, multi-ethnic cast, 88 minutes).
  • Books:
  • Brown, Marcia. Cinderella. Atheneum, 1971. ISBN: 0684126761

  • Jackson, Ellen. Cinder Edna. HarperTrophy, 1998. ISBN: 0688162959

  • Jeffers, Susan. Cinderella. Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. ISBN: 0525473459

  • Karlin, Barbara and James Marshall. Cinderella. Puffin Books, 2001. ISBN: 0142300489

  • Perlman, Janet. Cinderella Penguin, Or the Little Glass Flipper. Puffin Books, 1995. ISBN: 0140555528

  • Sanderson, Ruth. Cinderella. Little, Brown, 2002. ISBN: 0316779652

Lesson Developed By:

Jeanne Prisco
Romulus Community Schools
Merriman Elementary School
Romulus, MI 48174


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Clothing Drive


Dear Families,

Our class is beginning a philanthropy and language arts unit on fairy tales, specifically the Cinderella stories. Motivated by sensitivity to Cinderella’s lack of appropriate clothing, our class has decided to hold a clothing drive.

We are collecting clothes to help children who don’t have enough clothing to wear to school and other events. The students may collect children’s clothes from home, family, friends or neighbors. Please supervise them so that they do not ask any strangers. Any clothing donations are greatly appreciated. Clothing should be gently used and clean.

On the date of __________, we will bring our collected clothing to __________________. If any parents would like to volunteer to package or deliver the clothes, we would appreciate your help.

We can provide receipts from the agency for donations. Families who are interested should fill out a list of donated items.

Thank you,

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Fairy Tale Traits

Fairy tales were first told aloud and then were passed around to many people over time. The story changes a little with each telling. Sometimes different countries seem to have the same stories (but changed to fit the people and places).

Fairy tales are alike in many ways.

Common Style:

  • Stories are short.
  • Stories are interesting and entertaining for all ages.
  • Begins with "Once upon a time."
  • Has a happy ending.
  • Includes chants or events that are repeated.
  • Things happen in threes (and sometimes seven).
  • Animals have human traits.
  • Stories include magic.

Common Themes:

  • Good character is rewarded.
  • Bad character is punished.
  • Poor characters get rich (or married).
  • Weak (bullied) characters get strong.
  • There is either revenge or forgiveness at the end.

Philanthropy Framework:


kanchan, Educator – indore, India1/4/2011 11:48:10 PM

All the exercises given about the story help in differentiated teaching and are helpful and innovative.

Patti, Teacher – Corona, CA5/18/2011 3:29:04 PM

Thank you so much for such a complete 3-day lesson plan! We love the structure and progression of the lessons and how it is applied to a community project! We are doing a fairy tale theme for our kindergarten open house, and that is when they will be donating their gently used clothing for others! Loved it!

Linda, Educator – Fruitland Park, FL10/10/2012 9:08:41 PM

Great lesson plan! The kids loved it, and it was easy to implement. Thank you!

Amanda, Teacher – Columbus, XX2/15/2013 3:55:10 PM

Multicultural versions of Cinderella also include Adelita, the Mexican Cinderella, The Egyptian Cinderella, The Islamic Cinderella. It would be interesting to teach this lesson and also study the cultural differences in the stories and the stereotypes across the world.

Asha, Teacher – Dubai, United Arab Emirates2/10/2015 2:02:36 PM

We had a clothes collection drive recently and your lesson plan was so apt and useful. Thank you.

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Cinderella Stories (The) Summary


African Tale (An)
Native American Legend (A)

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