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Cinderella Stories
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The Princess and the Golden Shoes
A Scottish Cinderella Variant

Lesson Plan
for Elementary, Intermediate, Junior high

by Jean D. Rusting
Author of The Multicultural Cinderella. Rusting Educational Services
(4523 Elinora Ave., Oakland, CA 94619)


Students will Note to teacher: there are more activities below than you will want to use. Review and highlight those most suited to your class.

Materials needed

A copy of The Princess and the Golden Shoes, a Scottish Tale, available from the Tales of Wonder site, which provides seven other tales from Scotland.

Paper, pencil, pen for creating a script. If you have access to a camcorder, use it to record a polished performance. (Remember to sign up in advance.)

The newspaper activity requires at least pencil, pen and paper. Students make a single oversize newspaper, or if the class has a computer, students input and publish their newspaper. If no oversize paper available, large paper can be created by taping pieces of standard-size blank paper together.

Art materials (colored pens, crayons, paint; paper) to create episode pictures.

Audio cassette tapes or CDs of Scottish music, as well as cassette or CD players. (See the Library / Research section at the end of this lesson plan.)

Pre-reading strategies

Take a moment for a geography lesson: This story is set in Scotland. Look at a map of Scotland. Locate the Western Highlands. The prince comes from the southwest. The King is off fighting against a King in the Western Isles. Where would that be? Just by looking at the map what do you know about this country?

Get in the mood: An American storyteller will not sound like a Scottish one. Check with the children's librarian to see if the library has any story telling tapes performed by a native of Scotland. To help set the scene students can listen to bagpipe music and Scottish folk songs. Check at your local library for ballads, military music, and bagpipe music.

Do you know anyone who is Scottish? Most students will know Scotty, the engineer on the Star Trek TV series. And who has never heard of the Loch Ness monster?

Read and listen strategies

Read and/or listen to the story. Teacher reads the story out loud to the whole class.


Post-reading strategies

Spelling list: Students work in small groups to develop a list of 10 or 15 words which group members believe everyone should be able to spell. In whole class students combine their lists and then play spelling games or take written test. Brain teaser: If you make a color using black and white, is that color "gray" or is it "grey"? Which is the correct spelling?

Post-reading writing exercise--"The play's the thing"

Students create a short drama and present the story in class. Playwrights are free to add to story. For example, the number of characters and roles can be expanded by adding villagers. After a bit or practice, writing and improvisation, students might be ready to take their show on the road--present it to another class (either in person or via a class-made video).

Graphic response(s):

Character descriptions:

Students create a character chart by dividing a piece of drawing paper into 8 sections. In each of the sections the student creates a symbol for each one of the characters:


"The Princess and the Golden Shoes" is told quickly through a series of episodes (events). Students work in groups to create a newspaper which contains who-what-when-where-why news stories as well as personality profiles, editorials, "a lost and found section" and various classified (want) ads. Examples of titles of stories or ads:

After students brainstorm about possible news items, they will have more than they need. Students work individually or together to write short (one or two paragraph) news stories. Students may also draw pictures to go with stories, or create and name with a banner for the newspaper.

Values clarification /writing prompts:

1. Let's look at stereotypes. This story uses several stereotypes, including the image of a dainty little foot. In versions of the Cinderella story where there is a slipper or sandal involved, great emphasis is placed on the girl having tiny feet. What's the big deal? Why are small feet considered beautiful? Who sets the standard for beauty?

2. What is wrong with this picture? The stepsister's toes are cut off at her own mother's command because the mother wants her daughter to marry the prince. The mother is ambitious for her daughter. What are the issues here?

3. What difference does a name make ? In this story none of the characters have names. Instead, all the characters have functions, such as a princess, a prince, a stepmother, a henwife, and so forth. Why do you suppose this is? What difference does having a name make?

4. What was right in the old days and what is right now. Everyone knows that the Princess is being mistreated: "While everyone was sorry for her, no one had the right to interfere with her stepmother's treatment of her." What do you think of this statement?

5. What do you think? Explain why some people who read this story might feel sorry for the stepsister.

Library / Research

Research ideas for students:

Compare other versions

"The Princess and the Golden Shoes" sounds a lot like Jacobs and Wilhelm Grimm fairy tale "Aschenputtle." European folk and fairy tales by Joseph Jacobs has another similar version, "Cinder-Maid" in which the stepsister does her own cutting. Look for these books in the library.

You can find folk tales and fairy tales of Scotland in your local library using the key words Scotland Folklore or Scotland Tales. Ask your librarian to suggests some good titles. Look for these titles at your local library:

Become familiar with the music of Scotland

Look in the library catalog for the heading Folk music, Scotland for recorded materials. If your local public library does not have any records, tapes or CDs, the acquisitions librarian can tell you how to locate recordings of Scottish music (and perhaps order some for your library).

Find out more about Scotland

What do you know about Scotland? What do you have to do to get information about Scotland? Where is Scotland located? What does the country look like? What does the map of Scotland look like? What language do the people of Scotland speak? What does it sound like? What do people in Scotland do for a living?

Friday, August 9, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Jean D. Rusting, Oakland CA (
All rights reserved.
Teachers are welcome to copy for their class
The Children's Literature Web Guide