Classroom Activities for Cinderella

Every classroom has a princess. This year, make Cinderella the princess in yours. She can help you teach social studies, literature and more. Take a few minutes to look beyond the Walt Disney Cinderella that we all know and love and find the magic that will inspire the kids in your classroom.

Social Studies

World history is only a princess away! Did you know that there are more than 300 versions of Cinderella? Some are retold with humor or a twist, but many of the stories will take your students around the world. Divide the kids into groups and give each group a different version of Cinderella. Use the story as a lesson starter that will help the kids derive elements of the culture. Use further research to add to their materials. Ask each group to complete a presentation about the country their Cinderella lived in, asking them to include information about the Cinderella, too.

Here are a few examples of Cinderella stories that teach information about the world we live in:

Bound, written by Donna Jo Napoli, is based in China. It is the story of a young girl left to the devises of her step-mother, who calls her ‘Lazy One,’ and her younger step-sister. It includes the ancient practice of binding the feet of girls to make them prepared to be married.

The Egyptian Cinderella is a story by Shirley Climo that takes place in Egypt. Ms. Climo is a Cinderella expert. Her repertoire of Cinderella stories also include The Irish Cinderlad and The Korean Cinderella. 

More Asian countries also have their stories. The Enchanted Anklet: a Cinderella Story from India by Lelia Mehta teaches students about India clothing, festivals and more. Judy Sierra shares about Indonesia with The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story while Rebecca Hickox shares Iraqi highlights with The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella.

More stories, from Russia to China to Native Americans, are available. For an incomplete list, click here for a list from Deschutes Public Library.

Literature

Because there are so many different versions of Cinderella, it is an excellent story to chose to teach certain elements of literature. Compare and Contrast is easy to do when one story is about a boy and another about a girl or if the story has two characters, like Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson. 

Because the story is so well known, it is useful in teaching about main ideas and Cause and Effect. When a different version is used, Cinderella is a wonderful story to teach students how to draw conclusions or determine the author’s purpose. Check here  for graphic organizers to help teach these concepts.

Cinderella is definite creative writing assignment material. Stories, like Cinderella Penguin, or the Little Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman puts the Cinderella story in the animal world. Have students write their own version of Cinderella starring their favorite breed of animal. 

Put your children in groups and have each group read a different version of Cinderella. Students will write their own play from their version and perform it in front of the class. Compare and contrast the stories in a class discussion.

Like any beloved story, Cinderella belongs in the classroom. Whether you are using her story to create math problems or spelling lists, give a princess her due. Let her star in your classroom this year.