Theme Traditional Tales Year Group

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This is a suggestion unit of work based on Cinderella. It could be delivered over a two week block or alternatively, to further explore the objectives and to build the story of the learning, it would be better as a unit of work across a half term.

Theme Traditional Tales

Year Group 3 (the work can be changed to suit any year group and has also been carried out successfully with year 6)


Learning Intention


Success Criteria

Organisation (Activities)


To investigate the styles and voices of traditional story language – collect examples, eg: story openings and endings; scene openers
To identify typical story themes, eg: good over evil
To write portraits of characters, using story text to describe behaviour and characteristics and presenting portraits in different ways

Describe a character

Children write a descriptive passage which includes a range of:

  • Synonyms

  • Metaphor

  • Simile

  • Adverbials

Feely bag 1 (to include for example: glass slipper, golden invitation to a ball, beautiful ring, tiara, wand). Different people to choose an item. Who might the bag belong to? What does each item make us think about? Discuss that the bag must belong to Cinderella. What do we know about her already from these items? Generate a list of vocabulary to describe Cinderella. Show a painting of Cinderella – Children to write a descriptive passage of her, focussing on the positive aspects of her life.


Set the scene

Children write a descriptive passage to set the scene which includes a range of:

  • Synonyms

  • Metaphor

  • Simile

  • Adverbials

Children use vocabulary and sentence style for effect.

Feely bag 2 (to include for example: a peg, a wooden spoon, a dustpan and brush, a letter from the school teacher asking why Cinderella has not been attending school).

What do we now know about Cinderella? Children to compare the two mental images of Cinderella – how do you now feel about her? Why? Children to generate a list of words and phrases to describe their feelings about Cinderella. Show a painting of Cinderella working in the kitchen. Children to write a descriptive passage about Cinderella using effective and powerful language to set the scene and build the atmosphere.


Speaking and listening – debate.

The children can:

Listen to the opinions of others and respond appropriately.

Who’s the real Cinderella? Call my Bluff game. Using the different pictures of Cinderella, children to work in groups to prepare an argument as to why their picture of Cinderella is the real Cinderella. Each group to present their argument to the class. Children to debate which is true and to justify their reasons, referring back to the text for support


To begin to use formal and persuasive language

Debate – Was it right that Cinderella didn’t attend school?

The children can:

  • Organise and express their opinions with clarity

Listen to the opinions of others and respond appropriately

How does Cinderella’s life compare with our own? Are there any jobs that we have to help out with at home. Do they impinge on our rights? Agree that tidying a bedroom may be a responsibility at home which does not prevent us from going to school or put our health at risk, therefore our rights are not impinged. Share again the letter from the school teacher about Cinderella not attending school. Why is this a problem? Was Cinderella’s father right to take her away from school? Debate.


To write letters for a range of different purposes supporting other work in the curriculum
To organise letters into paragraphs

Can I write a persuasive letter which includes:

  • Use of formal language

  • Balanced paragraphs

  • An introductory paragraph which clearly states the reason why the letter is being written and the main arguments

  • A concluding paragraph which summarises the main arguments

  • Persuasive devices:

Following the debate, children to write a persuasive letter to Cinderella’s step-mother, persuading her to let Cinderella attend school.


To write alternative sequels to traditional stories, using the same characters and settings and identifying topical phrases and expressions from the story and use these to structure their writing

To write an alternative ending

Can I write an alternative ending to a traditional tale, maintaining the voice and style of the author?

  • Language related to traditional tales

  • Clear character description

  • Appropriate use of descriptive devices to set the scene and describe the character

  • A clear resolution

In groups, children to explore another traditional tale. Which character has one of their rights impinged? By whom? Why? What responsibilities do the other characters in the story have? Can you write an alternative ending to a traditional tale where it ends with the character having their right resolved?

HIAS RRE website: Primary curriculum file Cinderella – Manor Field Junior School

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