Cinderella Around the World

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



Unit 1

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, 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 1st Grade ELA, students explored a wide variety of themes and stories from all over in order to build the foundational understanding that our world is made up of many diverse cultures. This unit builds on that foundational understanding and provides an opportunity for students to explore the idea that even though cultures may appear to be different, there are many things 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 people and cultures that might be different from theirs.                                  

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 the plot, setting, and characters. In the first part of the unit, students will learn to compare and contrast the nuances across different versions. In the second part 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 their 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. Based on the complexities of the text, all texts in this unit are read aloud. Additionally, students will use discussion and oral discourse to show their understanding of texts. 

Students begin to build their writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question with an emphasis on writing complete sentences. Throughout the unit, students also have multiple opportunities to develop their narrative writing skills with a focus on crafting a strong beginning, middle, and end, using show not tell to describe characters’ thoughts and feelings, and temporal words to show passing time. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

Essential Questions

  • What lessons can we learn from the characters in traditional fairy tales and folktales?
  • How can we use the lessons we learn from fairy tales in our own lives?

Reading Focus Areas

  • To understand what happens in a story, readers notice character relationships and feelings.

  • A story’s setting impacts the sequence of events by influencing what the characters say and do.

Writing Focus Areas

Narrative Writing

  • Develop a focused narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.

  • Use descriptive language to show, not tell, character feelings.

  • Use adjectives to make writing more interesting.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions.



admire arrogant ashamed cross crafty culture deceitful desperate delighted dread envy entranced fairy tale generous genuine graceful humble jeers long marveled obedient peer pleased proud relieved sob temper vain weary

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • Cultures around the world are all unique. They share many similarities and differences. If a culture is different from yours, ask questions to learn more.
  • 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. 
  • There are several major characteristics of all Cinderella stories:
    • Cinderella arrives, is the most beautiful woman at the ball, the prince falls in love.
    • The clock strikes midnight, she runs away and drops her glass slipper.
    • The prince tries to find Cinderella by putting the glass slipper on all women in the land.
    • It fits Cinderella, they marry. 
    • Changes Cinderella: she’s no longer a servant, but a princess
    • Changes stepsisters: they apologize, and Cinderella forgives them and lets them live at the palace 
  • These characteristics differ based on the setting of Cinderella and the values/elements of the culture. 

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards


Unit 2

Exploring Habitats

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