Unit 1: 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.
In this first unit of second grade, 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 Literature, students took a trip around the world, exploring a wide variety of themes and stories from all over in order to build a foundational understanding that our world is made up of many diverse and unique cultures. This unit builds on the exposure to new cultures students received in 1st grade and provides an opportunity for students to explore the idea that even though cultures may appear to be different, there are many things embedded within the unique characteristics of different cultures 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 them.
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 plot, setting, and characters. In the first section of the unit, students will focus deeply on the setting, characters, and plot of the different versions of Cinderella, learning to compare and contrast the nuances across different versions. In the second section 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.
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Book: Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci (Aladdin, 2002)
Book: Cinderella by Marcia Brown (Aladdin, 1997)
Book: Cinderella: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani (The Islamic Foundation, 2011)
Book: The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo (HarperCollins, 1992)
Book: Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie (Puffin Books, 1998)
Book: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe (Puffin Books, 2008)
Book: The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin (Puffin Books, 1998)
Book: The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989)
Book: What is Culture? by Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2009)
Assessment Text: “The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story” by Mindy Dwyer
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
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Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
To learn more about how to prepare a unit, internalize a lesson, and understand the different components of a Fishtank ELA lesson, visit our Preparing to Teach Fishtank ELA Teacher Tool.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
This unit is one of the only units in the sequence where the majority of texts are read aloud to students. Therefore, the focus of this unit is on modeling reading aloud with prosody. This involves reading with expression, timing, phrasing, emphasis and intonation in a way that supports comprehension and meaning making. In later units, and during independent reading, students will have multiple opportunities to practice fluent reading in grade-level texts.
Specific skills to focus on when giving feedback on writing assignments
Complete sentences are the foundation for all writing. In this unit, students learn to differentiate between a fragment and a complete sentence. We recommend using our guide Sentence-Level Feedback and Support (K-5th Grade) to provide individual and small-group feedback to ensure that all students are able to use complete sentences by the end of the unit.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
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.
Identify culture and the ways that cultures can be similar or different by identifying key details in a text Read Aloud.
Describe Cinderella, her stepmother, and her stepsisters, and how they act toward people who treat them poorly by describing characters and how they respond to events.
Describe what happens at the ball and how it changes Cinderella and the stepsisters’ lives by describing characters and how they respond to events.
Describe the setting of Cinderella and how it influences what characters do by identifying and describing key details from the text and illustrations that describe setting.
Explain how the queen knows that Cinderella has good character, and what else Zahra does to show her good character by using the text and illustrations to describe characters and how they respond to events.
Produce complete simple sentences orally and in writing.
Describe why Cendrillon says, “You gave me this night. It is enough,” by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.
Discussion & Writing
Compare and contrast two versions of Cinderella by describing how the setting impacts the characters and plot of a story.
Describe Yeh-Shen’s relationship with the fish and why it is important by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.
Describe why the king did not allow Yeh-Shen to bring her stepmother and stepsister to the palace after they were married by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.
Explain the role of the falcon and how it makes this version of Cinderella different from others by analyzing details in a text to draw conclusions about characters’ actions and motivations.
Compare and contrast two versions of Cinderella by describing how the setting impacts the characters and plot of a story and analyzing the different lessons learned.
Describe Nyasha and how her character is different from Manyara by analyzing details that describe character traits and motivations.
Analyze how the author uses character traits to demonstrate the lesson or moral of the story by analyzing details that describe character traits and the lesson.
Describe Blanche and how her character is different from her mother and sister by analyzing details that describe character traits and motivations.
Determine if a sentence is a complete sentence or incomplete sentence.
Describe the Rough-Face Girl and how her character is different from the two older sisters by analyzing details that describe character traits and motivations.
Debate and analyze what lessons we can learn from the characters in traditional fairy tales and folktales and how these lessons translate to our lives by citing evidence from the entire unit to support an idea.
Write a different version of Cinderella by writing narratives that include a beginning, middle, and end.
Revise your version of Cinderella by adding temporal words to help events unfold in a logical way.
Identify the four different types of sentences and explain when they are used.
Edit your version of Cinderella by applying generalized spelling patterns when spelling a new word.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage → badge; boy → boil).
— Compare formal and informal uses of English.
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
— Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
— Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
— Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
— Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
— Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
— Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
— Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
— Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
— Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
— With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Standards covered in previous units or grades that are important background for the current unit
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs (e.g., toss, throw, hurl) and closely related adjectives (e.g., thin, slender, skinny, scrawny).
— By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
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