Cinderella Is A Fella
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.

In this lesson, students identify that the universal theme of philanthropy in the Cinderella story remains the same even when the main character is a boy and the setting is in Ireland.  The lesson focuses on vocabulary development.

PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • preview story vocabulary prior to reading.
  • discuss story elements/universal themes.
  • practice story vocabulary through structured group games.
  • suggest other variations to the Cinderella story.
  • read-aloud copy of Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo (see Bibliographical References)
  • student copies of Handouts One - Four: Vocabulary (two ability levels)
  • 3-6 rubber balls (one per group)
  • clay or play dough for each student
  • oversized man's shirt and boot
  • chart paper or chalkboard
Home Connection: 

Students tell their families that they read a story in which Cinderella was a boy. Families can have fun thinking up creative new variations on the Cinderella story (set in our hometown, takes place in the future, Cinderella is a robot, etc.). The following day at school, students share the creative ideas gathered from home.

  • Climo, Shirley.  The Egyptian Cinderella.  HarperCollins, 1991. ISBN: 0064432793 
  • Climo, Shirley.  The Irish Cinderlad.  Harper Trophy, 2000.  ISBN: 0064435776
  • Global Kids Accessed June 29, 2005 [no longer available] 
  • Hickox, Rebecca.  The Golden Sandal.  Holiday House, 1999.  ISBN: 0823415139 (Middle Eastern tale)
  • Jaffe, Nina.  The Way Meat Loves Salt.  Henry Holt, 1998.  ISBN: 0805043845 (Jewish tale)
  • Kids Konnect Accessed June 29, 2005
  • Louie, Ai-Ling.  Yeh-Shen.  Putnam Publishing, 1996. ISBN: 0698113888 (Chinese tale)
  • Marceau-Chenkie.  Naya the Inuit Cinderella.  Raven Rock Publishing, 1999.  ISBN: 1894303059
  • Martin, Rafe.  The Rough-Face Girl.  Putnam Juvenile, 1998.  ISBN: 0698116267 (Algonquin tale)
  • Mayer, Marianna.  Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave.  HarperCollins, 1994.  ISBN: 0688085008 (Russian tale)
  • Pollock, Penny.  The Turkey Girl.  Little, Brown and Company, 1996.  ISBN: 0316713147 (Zuni tale)
  • San Couci, Robert D.  Cendrillon.  Aladdin Papervbacks, 2002.  ISBN:  0689848889
  • Steptoe, John. Mufraro's Beautiful Daughters.  Amistad, 1987.  ISBN: 0688040454 (African tale)
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Put on a large man's shirt and one large boot on over your own clothes. Tell the students that you are dressed up like the main character of the Cinderella story you plan to read aloud to them. Ask students to predict what they think Irish Cinderlad may be about and how it may be different from the other stories. Show students where Ireland is on the world map or globe.

  2. Write all of the vocabularywords (from Handouts One and Two) on theboardand discuss the meanings.

  3. Read aloud the book Irish Cinderlad.(See Bibliographical References.)

  4. Challenge the students to name five things that are the same between Irish Cinderlad and Cinderella--to prove that Irish Cinderlad is a "Cinderella story."(Arrange them into small groups to come up with five things and then share their findings with the rest of the class. Did they all come up with the same five things?)Make sure they noticethe shoe, magichelper, and generous characters vs selfish characters.

  5. Do any of the characters perform philanthropic acts (giving time, talent or treasure or taking action for the common good)?

  6. Write the following headings on chart paper or the board: setting, characters, magic elements/character, problem, events, and solution.With the students' help, write the elements from Irish Cinderlad under each heading.

  7. Circle Cinderlad's name and tell the students that the author used the universal themes from Cinderella and changed the main character to a boy. With that change, the story is very different.

  8. Encourage the students to think creatively about other possible changes to the story elementsof the traditional Cinderella story. For example, how would the story change if Cinderella was a clumsy clown in a circus wholonged to be part of a family of acrobats? Who would the evil characters be? What would the shoe be like? Who would be the magic character? Encourage the students to use the ideas generated here in future creative writing.

  9. Arrangestudents into small groups.Pass out Handout One or Two: Vocabulary (one per student, use the handout most appropriate for the students' reading level). Students read the words and definitions with the people in their group (and adult helpers as needed) andtalk aboutwhere the words were used in the book(5 minutes).

  10. Students roll clay or play dough into "snakes" andform the letters of their vocabulary words. After each word is formed,students read it to a neighbor and tell its definition. (10-15 minutes)

  11. In a small group (students with the same list), students stand in a circle with one ball to share. One student says a vocabulary word and bounces the ball to another student who tells its definition (in own words) or uses it in a sentence. Students repeat this several times until they have used every word several times.

  12. Reread the story aloud. Students may raise their hands when they hear their vocabulary words come up.


Assess students' comprehension through their participation in the class discussions. Observestudents during the vocabulary activities to assess comprehension. Continue to monitor and evaluate the Cinderella Project by collecting and graphing shoes.