Cinderella in Many Cultures

Dr. Pam Petty
Assistant Professor of Literacy
Western Kentucky University

Rationale

     Traditional literature including fairy tales and folktales are woven into our American culture in print media, musical lyrics, images, political cartoons, and the entertainment industry (Disney).  It is imperative that all children be familiar with these tales.  Tales that originate in multiple cultures provide for a world view that values all people.  This unit also challenges students to view events from different perspectives, to be alerted to stereotyping and false representation of a culture, and to become more active and critical readers. 

Goals and Objectives:  (NCTE/IRA)

·        Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

·        Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

·        Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

 

Materials Needed:

Hickox, R.  (1999).  The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story.  New York:  Holiday House. 

Climo, S.  (1989). The Egyptian Cinderella.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

Climo, S.  (1996). The Irish Cinderlad.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

 

Climo, S.  (1993). The Korean Cinderella.  New York:  HarperCollins.  Climo, S.  (1999). The Persian Cinderella.  New York:  HarperCollins.  San Souci, R. D. (1998).  Cendrillon.  New York:  Simon & Schuster. 

San Souci, R. D. (2000).  Little gold star:  A Spanish American Cinderella tale.  New
          York:  HarperCollins. 

 

Steptoe, J.  (1987). Mufaro’s beautiful daughters:  An African tale.  New York: 
          Scholastic. 
Winthrop, E.  (1991). Vasilissa the beautiful.  New York:  HarperCollins.   

Thematic Literature:

                            Other versions of Cinderella (holidays, traditional European versions, spoofs,
                             regional versions, etc.)

Internet access

Information books on Egypt, Ireland, Korea, Africa, the Caribbean, the Spanish
           American Southwest, Zuni Native Americans, Persia, Russia

Learning Modules and Timeframe (Approximately 9 months – 30 minutes per day)

Module One:  Foundation

·        Set the tone for the unit of study by doing a teacher read aloud from the book:

o       If the World Were a Village – David J. Smith

·        Prior to read aloud ask students to respond to an anticipation guide which provides true and untrue facts about topics in the book. 

o       Example: 
Agree      Disagree
_____      ______   1.  There are over 200 billion people in the world today.

·        After the read aloud revisit the anticipation guide asking students to adjust their responses based on what they just learned from the book.  Teacher should prompt for discussions on the various topics addressed in the book (nationalities, languages, ages, religions, food, air/water, schooling/literacy, money/possessions, electricity, past, future). 

·        Introduce Cinderella by displaying items one at a time from a “book box” reflecting story elements from the fairytale.  They book box might include:

o       a pumpkin, a mouse, a magic wand, an apron, a piece of coal, a glass slipper, a watch set to 12:00

·        Prompt students to guess the fairytale in which these items appear and then to take turns retelling parts of the story until a chart reveals the entire “traditional” version of the tale.  Students should go onto the Internet to investigate and record some fascinating details of this tale which will then be used to update/enhance the chart:

o       http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/6064/cinderella.html

o       http://www.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/html/research/FAQS/FAQS-Cinderella.htm

o       http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/history.html

·        Ask students to complete a KWHL chart on each of the following prior to the introduction of each Cinderella version from that country/culture: 

o       Caribbean

o       Russia

o       Africa

o       Ireland

o       Korea

o       Egypt

o       Zuni Native Americans

o       Spanish American Southwest

o       Persia

·        Explain to students that over the course of the school year they will be reading many different versions of Cinderella.  These versions reflect different cultures and students are to view the books as “artifacts” from those cultures.  Using these “artifacts” students are to be investigative reporters as they gather information about the cultures from the print and the images, categorize and synthesize that information, and then compare what they find to factual information sources (print and electronic) to determine how reliable each piece of literature is in reflecting a particular culture.  

Module Two: The Tales
NOTE:  Modules Two, Three, and Four should be followed consecutively for each book before introducing the next book. 

·        Students should read each book outlined for this unit.  Teacher should vary the organization of this reading by whole group, small group, and partner reading.  The initial readings should focus on the “enjoyment” and comprehension of the literature and should include:

o       Pre-reading strategies/activities

o       During reading strategies/activities

o       Post-reading strategies/activities

§         Possible resources:  http://www.somers.k12.ny.us/intranet/reading/prereading.html

§         http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/learning/lr1grorg.htm

§         http://www.somers.k12.ny.us/intranet/skills/thinkmaps.html

§         Yopp, R. H. & Yopp, H. K. (2001).  Literature-based reading activities.  3rd ed.  Boston:  Allyn and Bacon. 

·        After the initial reading students should re-read (partners/small groups) the books while completing the following chart:

Book Title

Characters

Trouble Makers

Helpers

Why Chosen

Magical Events

Ending

The Egyptian Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Irish Cinderlad

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Korean Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Persian Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Turkey Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cendrillon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Gold Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vasilissa the Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story            

 

Module Three:  Cultures

bulletSurface Culture:
bulletAsk students to read the author’s notes at the end of each book to list the particular ways the authors tried to present a true reflection of each culture.
bulletAsk students to evaluate each version of Cinderella based on the following criteria:

Book Title

Food

Dress

Music

Language

Celebrations

Architecture

The Egyptian Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Irish Cinderlad

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Korean Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Persian Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Turkey Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cendrillon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Gold Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vasilissa the Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story            

NOTE:  Place an “x” where no information is provided either in print or in image form.

bulletDeep Culture
bulletAsk students to evaluate each version of Cinderella based on the following criteria:

Book Title

Concept of Beauty

Family Structure

Courtship Practices

Work Ethic

Expressions of Humor

Body Language

Societal Roles as Determined by Age

Societal Roles as Determined sex

Societal Roles as Determined class

Values

The Egyptian Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Irish Cinderlad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Korean Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Persian Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The turkey girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cendrillon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Gold Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vasilissa the Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story                    

NOTE:  Place an “x” where no information is provided either in print or in image form.

 

Module Four:  Accurate Reflection of Culture

bulletAsk students to work together in pairs or teams to determine the following regarding each book:
bulletIs this version of Cinderella truly reflective of the culture in which the tale originates?  Use the information gathered in the grids to brainstorm a list of “key words” to search (either electronically through a search engine or in print form in the library) for and locate trustworthy information regarding each culture. 
bulletThe following resources might be helpful for students to use when gathering and synthesizing information:
bullet http://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/lesson-6293.html?s19&detoured=1
bullet http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/ci/whatsnew/strategies_and_such/thinking_skills.html
bulletAsk students to prepare a presentation in the venue of their choice to share with others what they have discovered about the literature, the cultures, and the accurate depiction of cultures within the fairytales. 
bulletThe presentation might be in the form of a paper, slideshow presentation, visual aid, dramatization, or other venue as decided upon jointly by teacher and students.
bullet http://www.angelfire.com/wi/writingprocess/specificgos.html
bullet http://www.writedesignonline.com/organizers/

Assessments and Evaluations

     Teachers should devise rubrics for each of the four modules.  The rubrics should be provided to students prior to each module to allow for self-evaluation.  An individual reflective paper at the end of the unit could be used to assess student understanding of different cultures and how accurately those cultural attributes were depicted within the Cinderella literature.

 

Resources to Expand Unit of Study

Little Gold Star: A Spanish American Cinderella Tale
 
The Way Meat Loves Salt: A Cinderella Tale from the Jewish Tradition
 
The GIFT OF THE CROCODILE : A Cinderella Story
 
Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition Yeh Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
 

 

References:

Choi, D. H. (1993).  Korean Cinderella.  Seoul, Korea:  Seoul International Publishing
          House. 

Climo, S.  (1989). The Egyptian Cinderella.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

Climo, S.  (1996). The Irish Cinderlad.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

Climo, S.  (1993). The Korean Cinderella.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

Climo, S.  (1999). The Persian Cinderella.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

Pollock, P.  (1996). The turkey girl.  Boston:  Little, Brown and Company. 

San Souci, R. D. (1998).  Cendrillon.  New York:  Simon & Schuster. 

San Souci, R. D. (2000).  Little gold star:  A Spanish American Cinderella tale.  New
          York:  HarperCollins.  

Smith, D. J. (2002).  If the world were a village:  A book about the world’s.  New York:     
           Kids Can Press.

Steptoe, J.  (1987). Mufaro’s beautiful daughters:  An African tale.  New York: 
          Scholastic. 

Winthrop, E.  (1991). Vasilissa the beautiful.  New York:  HarperCollins. 

Yopp, R. H. & Yopp, H. K. (2001).  Literature-based reading activities.  3rd ed.  Boston:  Allyn
          and Bacon. 

Electronic databases and resources:

Multicultural Literature in the Elementary Classroom
http://www.indiana.edu/~eric_rec/ieo/bibs/multicul.html 

Online Resources for Promoting Cultural Understanding in the Adult ESL Classroom

http://www.cal.org/ncle/multicultures.htm

Other On-line Learning Units Featuring Cinderella Tales

Cinderella Trilogy        
         

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