slipper.jpgUnit 6: Around the World with a Glass Slipper

In this sixth six-week unit of first grade, students compare and contrast multiple versions of Cinderella while learning about continents and cultures.


In the previous unit, students were introduced to writing opinion pieces in the context of studying American contributions. In this unit, students look beyond America, but continue to focus on opinion writing. Students choose a favorite version of a fairy tale, such as Cinderella, and write about their choices, supporting their opinions with reasons. They continue to focus on similarities and differences in fiction and nonfiction texts. As the unit closes, the students examine artistic masks from various countries and cultures and use descriptive words to describe the masks.

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What can versions of the same story teach us about different cultures?

Focus Standards
LAFS.1.RL.3.9 Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
LAFS.1.RI.3.9 Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).
LAFS.1.W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
LAFS.1.W.3.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
LAFS.1.L.2.5 With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
LAFS.1.L.2.5(d) Distinguish shades of meanings among verbs differing in manner (e.g., look, peek, glance, stare, glare, [and] scowl) and adjectives differing in intensity (e.g., large, gigantic) by defining or choosing them, or by acting out the meanings.
LAFS.1.SL.2.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

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Suggested Objectives:

  • Compare and contrast multiple versions of a story (e.g., Cinderella) by different authors and from different cultures.
  • Identify the similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic.
  • Write opinions about a favorite version of a story.
  • Read nonfiction texts independently with a sense of purpose (e.g., to know about the continents and cultures discussed in a fairy tale version).
  • Illustrate an adaptation of a scene from a story and present it to the class in a slide.
  • Use vivid words to describe an object

Interdisciplinary Connections:

  • This unit teaches:
    • Science: The earth’s surface (e.g., the seven continents, the four oceans, the two poles)
    • Art: Masks
    • Geography: Working with maps and globes (e.g., the seven continents)

    This unit could be extended to teach:
    • History: Ancient Egypt (e.g., Africa, Nile, the Pharaohs, pyramids, mummies, and hieroglyphics)
    • Science: Inside the earth (e.g., layers, volcanoes, and rocks)
    • Geography: Working with maps and globes (e.g., North American countries, the Equator, and cardinal directions)

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Act Out
Fairy Tales
"Once Upon a Time.."

Sample Activities:
Art, Language Usage, Speaking and Listening
Discuss how countries and continents, as depicted in the literature in this unit, are very different. Introduce masks from different continents. As they view each mask, ask the students to think of describing words (i.e., adjectives) you would use to tell someone about the mask. Ask such questions as: "What materials do you think are used? Why do you believe each culture chooses specific colors or textures in their works of art? Can you guess how each object was used?" (L.1.5d, SL.1.4)
Reading Literature, Opinion Writing, Language Usage
Read many different versions of Cinderella. Then, give students this prompt: “Choose your favorite version of the Cinderella story. Tell at least two reasons why you liked this version the most.” Students should include the title of the book, at least two reasons why they thought it was their favorite, and a strong ending. Revision should focus on word choice, elaboration, or word order as they rewrite the paragraph. (W.1.1, L.1.1j, L.1.2a, L.1.2b, L.1.2d, L.1.2e, RL.1.9)
Reading Literature, Vocabulary
As you begin the set of Cinderella stories, create a wall chart to organize the similarities and differences among the versions. Use categories that review the literary terms of this school year, such as: characters, setting, beginning, events (middle), and ending. (RL.1.1, RL.1.2, RL.1.9)
Reading Literature, Speaking and Listening, Oral Presentation
Ask the students to think about how all of the Cinderella stories are different because of the time and place in which they happen. Challenge the students to draw the “trying on the slipper” scene as if it were happening right now and in the place where they live. Scan the pictures and create a slide for each image. Students present their drawings to the class, explaining their adaptation of the “slipper scene.” (SL.1.5, SL.1.6, RL.1.9)
Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening
Choose two books about the same continent such as Australia (Pull Ahead Books Continents, Madeleine Donaldson) and Look What Came from Australia (Kevin Davis). Discuss how the books are similar (because they are about the same continent). Determine how they are also different (because they are written by different authors and have different purposes). Then, read the books as a class. Make a chart with two columns, one for each book (e.g., Australia and Look What Came from Australia). Work together to make a list of what is learned in each book and then look for similar information in both books. Challenge the students to do this activity with two books, reading with a partner or reading one independently and having the teacher read the other aloud. (RF.1.4, RI.1.2, RI.1.3, RI.1.9, RI.1.10)
Reading Informational Text, Research, Oral Presentation
Partner students to research the contributions/inventions of a country introduced to them in this unit. Tell them to work together to gather information from several different sources. Building knowledge of the contributions of various countries that is gleaned from informational texts (e.g., the Look What Came from . . . series), have students gather actual items that represent the contributions (e.g., for China, writing paper, a compass, and paper money). Ask them to communicate findings by creating a museum of contributions by having the students design information cards to go with each item. Students could stand behind their table to explain the origins of the items as visitors come through the museum. (SL.1.5, RI.1.2, RI.1.5, RI.1.9, RI.1.10, W.1.7, W.1.8, L.1.2)
Reading Informational Text, Reading Literature, Speaking and Listening
Have students read one of the nonfiction books about a continent or country. After the students finish, have them find and review a fairy tale that is set in a similar place or culture. Discuss what students saw in both books (e.g., geography, people, clothing, food, places, and customs). Discuss how the books are different (e.g., one tells a story; the other gives factual information). (RL.1.5, RL.1.7, RI.1.9)

Online Resources:

Read Works Passages/Lessons:

Sight Words
The expectation for first grade is for students to learn the first 200 words by the end of the year.