Steps of Kindness

K, 1, 2

The lesson emphasis is on the shoe motif in Cinderella as well as the philanthropic ideals of giving and helping others.  A service learning project will be developed where students create a "shoe drive" to donate to children in need.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify the importance and symbolism of the shoe motif in Cinderella tales.
  • generate ideas for a class service learning project.
  • contribute to a class story intended to engage local businesses/sponsors in donating toa cause.
  • demonstrate a knowledge of basic philanthropic values of helping, giving, kindness and common good (see additional keywords for Lesson One).
  • read-aloud copy of Cinderella by Charles Perrault (see Bibliographical References)
  • chart paper or poster board
  • a pillow
  • student copies of Handout One: Cinderella Project Individual Charts
  • small shoe stickers: one sticker for each pair of shoes you are trying to obtain
  • paper cut-outs in shape of shoes: one for each pair of shoes you are trying to obtain
  • gym shoe of the smallest shoe in the classroom
  • Story Paper for each student (see Handout Two)
  • access to a laminator
  • pencils, crayons and markers
  • list of local organizations teacher feels may be possible sponsors
  • student copies of Handout Three: Parent Letter
Home Connection 

Students tell their families about the Cinderella Project. Then they draw a picture and/or write about how the goals of the Cinderella Project make them feel. Establish the level of written requirements according to students' abilities.



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Enter the room grandly withthe smallest gymshoe ona pillow. Walk around the classroom looking at feet and comparing them to the shoe. Pantomime that you are looking for the foot that goes with this shoe. Go to the tallest students first and make a show of comparing the small shoe to the large foot (but be sensitive not to offend). Ask students, "Does this remind you of any fairy tale story you know?" Remind students that this is not the only version of the Cinderella story. Since the story was told aloud for thousands of years, it passed through many countries and developed many versions.

  2. Before reading aloud the originalFrench version of Cinderella by Charles Perrault (see Bibliographical References),discuss students' prior knoweldge of the Cinderella story. Tell them to listen for differences from their expectations.

  3. Tell students to pay special attention to the shoe and its meaning in the story, as well as the role of the fairy godmother or magical helper. Point out that Cinderella has bare feet at the beginning of the story, but the step-sisters have many shoes.

  4. After reading, talk about the symbolism of the shoes and the fairy godmother.

  5. Draw a rough image of Cinderella's shoes before the ball and during the ball. Under each sketch,write a description of the shoe and what the shoe says about the person (students tell you what to write). For example, the first shoes are tattered, poor, dirty, flat, gray and soft. The second shoes are shiny, rich, firm, high-heeled, see-through, and match her sparkly disposition.

  6. Discuss the fairy godmother and her role. Why does she help Cinderella? Why does Cinderella need her? When does Cinderella stop needing her help? Is the fairy godmother a philanthropist? (A philanthropist gives time, talent, or treasure or takes action for the common good.)

  7. Discuss the need for a variety of shoes: gym shoes, dress shoes, winter/summer shoes, etc. Tell the students that some families cannot afford that many shoes for their growing children. Motivate the students to play the part of the fairy godmother in the lives of these children--not by magic--by being philanthropists.The teacher should select in advance the recipient of the shoes they will be collecting: local schools, shelters, churches, missions, etc.

  8. Display pre-made teacher poster (large graph with heading "Cinderella Project").Pass out the individual charts (see Handout One). Decide as a class what each column in the graph should be. The columns could be types of shoes (boots, gym, dress, sandals) or a timeline, or funding sources (neighborhoods, businesses, families, churches). Write the same column names on the poster graph as the individual graphs.

  9. Send home a Parent Letter regarding the Cinderella project (see Handout Three).

  10. See School/Home Connection for the students' homework assignment.

  11. Teacher Note: Prompt students to think of where they get their shoes. Encourage them to think of sponsors or businesses who may want to help children get the shoes they need. Explain who a sponsor could be (the students themselves, parents, neighbors, businesses, etc.).

  12. Day Two:

  13. Have students present their homework in which they share their feelings about the project.

  14. Review the Cinderella Project graph with students and set a goal for the collection. Explainthat for each pair of shoes collected (or funds to purchase one pair of shoes),they will place a shoe cutout on the class graph and a sticker on their personal graphs.

  15. Brainstorm a list of organizations that may sponsor the project. Students may think of stores they visit regularly, places they have seen that support projects, places that sell shoes, or family-owned businesses. Encourage students to come up with creative ways to involve supporters (such as a collection box on a counter of a shoe store).

  16. Arrange the students into small groups to discuss ways that they personally can collect shoes or money to buy shoes. After five minutes, groups may add their ideas to the class brainstorm list. (This may include ideas such as a popcorn sale at lunch time with the profits going to the Cinderella Project.)

  17. Tell the students that they are going to write an advertisement for their project on Story Paper (see Handout Two). This advertisement will tell about the project and encourage people to donate money or shoes. Guide a discussion about why someone would be interested in helping or donating. This discussion will help the students appeal to the possible donors. Use the following writing prompts:

    • If you owned a business, how would it make you feel if you could give?
    • If you didn't have shoes and someone gave you a new pair, how would you feel?
    • How could a pair of shoes make a difference for a child?

Use the following rubric/guide for the writing assignment. The advertisement includes (total of six points): an explanation of the project. an explanation of how to make donations. an explanation of who will receive the donation. neat handwriting. school name, but no student names. a neat and colorful illustration.

Cross Curriculum 

Students participate in the"Cinderella Project," a service learning project in which students collect donations of monies and shoes for children in need. The students create and present an "advertisement" to local businesses and sponsors. The advertisement explains the project and requests money or shoes as donations.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
    2. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.3 Name a corporation or business that has contributed money for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  3. 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.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.4 Set a fund-raising goal and identify sources of private funds.