Yeh-Shen, the Chinese Cinderella: Day 2 of Cinderella Unit

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SWBAT compare and contrast key details in different versions of the same fictional story.

Big Idea

Puppetry can be used to dramatize a different version of the same fictional story while foreshadowing similar key details.

Introduce Yeh-Shen

20 minutes

     If students are not familiar with the traditional version of Cinderella, I usually read the original version or make a quick review of it.  Then, I begin to read aloud the Chinese version of Cinderella;  Yeh-Shen, retold by Ai-Loing Louie.

     Students are then asked to recall information of differences between the traditional and Chinese versions.  Afterwards, we discuss the similarities between the traditional and Chinese versions.  

     We chart their answers on a class Venn Diagram.  I prefer to do this charting on my Promethean board and save their answers on my laptop for future reference.  I also like to use my Promethean Flipchart for this lesson (see resource).  However, the low tech way of writing on chart paper works as well.  See previous lesson for explanation of flip chart:


Shadow Puppets

30 minutes

    Determining the central theme of a story and role playing multiple perspectives of the same story are elements that add relevance to Common Core lessons.  Furthermore, I tap into my students' creativity and learning style preferences to customize a lesson that will engage them.

    I like to include my own culture and traditions as well as that of my students to personalize my lessons.  I begin by talking about my childhood in Jakarta, Indonesia.  I show photos or slide shows of landmarks, crafts, and bring artifacts to show my students.  One artifact I make a point to show is an Indonesian puppet aka Wayang.  I show a segment of a video of a Shadow Puppet show.  Since my students often like to make shadow images on my projector, this is their chance to do so with my approval.  I use my projector and explain the safety rules: not to touch the projector due to heat and not to stare into the projector. Safety is always important.  Students will focus on the board to view their shadow puppet images.  We examine the Indonesian Shadow puppet and its craft/ structure so that students have an idea to create one for their presentation, using available tools. 

     Then, I ask students to create shadow puppets. They will prepare scripts and create performances of both versions.  However, I will assign which cooperative groups will create shadow puppets of the original and which groups will create the Chinese version. For the sake of time, I limit each group to three puppets.   I review the Cooperative Learning rules and norms per group. We decide on roles per member of each group (see flip chart resource). Guidelines for cooperative learning facilitate collaborative conversations. Common Core speaking and listening standards highlight collaborative conversations. Once guidelines are in place, the managers gather limited amounts of the following materials:

  •  Patterns for puppets (see resource).
  •  Materials for making puppets:
    • Heavy paper or cardboard (limit 4 per group)
    • Pencil
    • Scissors
    • Paper Punch
    • Tape
    • Paper Fasteners, 1/4” long
    • Crayons
    • Markers, Colored Pencils
    • Chopsticks (limit 4 per group-you can get these at any Chinese or Japanese take out place for free)
  • Background instrumental music (music with flute or wind instruments are best.  I choose a traditional Indonesian Gamelan music)


Puppet Show

30 minutes

     Students are asked to begin showcasing their puppet show.  I play Indonesian Gamelon music, which is a Javanese and Balinese traditional music ensemble, featuring instruments such as bamboo flutes, gongs, xylophones, strings, etc.  See you tube resource of Gamelan music example that can be used as background music to add drama to the puppet show.

     After each show, we discuss parts that made an impression on students.  My students really enjoy giving feedback and entertaining each other.