Gazing Through the Glass Slipper – A Fairy Tale Perspective of World Folklore Influence on American Elementary Liberal Arts Education

Jennifer Dalesandro, Third Grade, Bain Elementary School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


This definitive cross-curricular unit is designed to provide students with a global and cultural connection to one of our most iconic heroes, Cinderella. By anchoring the learning experience in the origin and development of this popular storybook character, this unit seeks to engage students by focusing on the use of folklore and fairy tales to enhance critical thinking skills, and curriculum in both social studies and literacy. Although this unit is designed to focus primarily on the cultural influences that enhanced the development of the fairy tale, Cinderella, the overall objectives of this unit can be used as a guide for teachers to custom tailor a similar unit using other fairy tales. During the course of study outlined in this unit, students will seek to learn that fairy tales originated through legends, music, oral history, beliefs, customs, and other traditions of developing cultural stories and folklore. However, they will also learn that some were adapted by other societies to become culturally relevant to their population as well as to provide a medium through which children could face their deepest fears. The activities within this unit enrich the in-depth literary study of cultural influences on folklore and fairytales by comparing and contrasting different versions of the fairy tale, Cinderella, with activities such as: composing an alternate version, Venn diagrams, and the use of internet technology integration. Each activity uses a combination of observational assessments, research, and writing methods to appeal to all learning styles while efficiently integrating the national common core state standards.