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The Glass Slipper Shatters

PDF Version With Materials

Grade Level: 9

Character Education Focus: Honesty


Students will analyze the relationship between the two main characters in the short story “The Glass Slipper”.  The lesson explores the role of honesty as each character tries to impress each other by lying. Students practice note taking and forming opinions based on evidence from the text in preparation for writing an essay of literary analysis.  

(50-60 minutes)

Materials Needed

  1. Armer, Alan, & Grauman, Walter E. (1969).  The glass slipper.  In. J. Olsen & L. Swinburne (Eds.) Breaking loose. New York, NY: Noble and Noble.  Used with permission of authors.

    Copy of the short story included in PDF version. 

  2. Handout “An Organizer”  

Academic Character Education Objectives

Students will:

  1. Write their meaning of honesty, provide an example from their lives, and reflect on the outcomes of their honest behavior.
  2. Identify a time when they may have been dishonest in a relationship and the results that their action had on their relationship.
  3. Discuss how honesty can foster a positive interpersonal relationship.
  4. Analyze characters’ speech to determine their motivation and character.
  5. Use note taking skills as they listen to the story and use their notes and evidence from the text to justify their opinions. 
  6. Learn that forming an opinion and using evidence from the text are elements of an essay of literary analysis.

California English-Language Arts Standards Addressed


3.0 Literary Response and Analysis

  • 3.3  Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.
  • 3.4  Determine characters' traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.
  • 3.10  Identify and describe the function of dialogue, scene designs, soliloquies, asides, and character foils in dramatic literature.


2.0 Writing Applications

  • 2.2  Write responses to literature:
  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the significant ideas of literary works.
  2. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works.
  3. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.

Reprinted, by permission, California Department of Education

Lesson Procedures

  1. Explain the purpose of the lesson which is to use evidence from a close reading of the story to form an opinion and back it up with concrete evidence from the story, thus forming essential elements for an essay of literary analysis while exploring the role of honesty in interpersonal relationships. [Honesty: being truthful with myself and others.
  2. Ask students to write a short journal entry.  Give students this prompt: “Can you think of a time when you were dishonest in your conversation with a friend? What was the result? Or when you were tempted to be dishonest but chose to be honest anyway? What was the result?”
  3. After the students spend sufficient time on the introductory reflection, bring the class together. Begin a discussion with the following questions:

    Why should people be honest in their interpersonal relationships?
    Would you be upset if someone you thought was a friend did a great deal of “pretending” around you, making him/herself seem better than he/she really is?
    What does it mean to be honest in your interpersonal relations?
  4. Distribute the handout “Organizer”. Explain to students that they will use it to record notes on their opinion and their reasons about any or all of these questions:

    Where does Duchess first start to be less than truthful in order to create a good impression?
    Where does Smitty first start to be less than truthful in order to create a good impression?
    What would Duchess like to have from a relationship with Smitty?
    What does Smitty think she wants?
    What would Smitty want from a relationship with Duchess?
    What does Duchess think he wants?
    Where is the last place in the text where Smitty could have decided to begin telling the truth?
    Where is the last place in the text where Duchess could have decided to begin telling the truth?
    Will Duchess and Smitty have a romantic relationship? Why or why not?

    Explain that as they listen to the story, first focus on taking notes on the selected prompts with their reasons (column 1 and 2). 

     Say It –
    My Opinion     

     Explain It –
    My Reasons

     Evidence –
    Story Details as Proof

  5. Select two students to be the characters and read the scene “The Glass Slipper” to the class. Students can take notes as the scene is read.
  6. Then using their copy of the story, students can reread it to finalize their notes completing the "evidence" column of their organizer.
  7. Then students will analyze their notes and form their thesis statement based on the prompt, Will Duchess and Smitty have a relationship?  Why or why not?
  8. As the students work individually, the teacher can clarify and monitor for understanding.
  9. In the closing discussion, have students share their opinions along with the evidence to substantiate their opinion, such as textual clues and dialogue, with a partner or to the whole class.
  10. Ask, “How could this relationship be different if the couple was honest with one another?”
  11. Collect “Opinion Organizers” for assessment if desired. Remind them that this activity gave them practice in preparing to write an essay of literary analysis.

Academic – Character Education Assessment

Teacher can informally assess the students’ responses in class discussion, as well as during their individual work time.  Teacher can assess students’ “Organizers” as they work individually in class, checking for appropriate comprehension.

Criteria for assessing the “Organizer”:  

  • “Opinion” section: Students express their opinions with clarity and completeness. Students may have concluded that the relationship did not develop into something more meaningful because the two characters are lying to one another.
  •  “Reasons” Section: Look for key notes, such as character traits, dialogue pauses and conversational mishaps.
  •  “Proof” section: Look for specific textual reasons (either from dialogue or character description) as to why the relationship will not work.

Teacher can assess students’ understanding of honesty through their discussion of the definition, the examples they provide in the initial writing activity, and their responses regarding the consequences of being dishonest in a relationship. 

Reflective Journaling Prompts

  • What could Duchess and Smitty have done to make amends?  How should they proceed from here?
  • Why is respect for self and others the root of honesty?  How do you see this in the community?
  • Write a resolution to the problem of dishonesty among friends.  Use concrete reasons and support for your reasons.

Extensions and Variations

Students may create their own story with the same short story characters, Duchess and Smitty.  In their story, the characters will be honest with one another and students will create a positive conclusion to the relationship.

Instead of having students work individually, have them work in pairs.

Teacher Notes or References

The students appreciate the “Organizer” as a way to put their thoughts together in a coherent manner.  It is a great prewriting tool in preparation for an essay of literary analysis.  It allows them to see how their thesis statement, details (proof), and comments are different and essential parts of their essays. 

The Glass Slipper by A. Armer and W.E. Grauman. “Smitty, a dark teenager, nice-looking but not handsome, meets Duchess, about seventeen, slender to the point of appearing bony, and wearing borrowed clothes, on the dance floor. As they inquire into each other's lives both, through innuendo, imply that they are better off and more secure than they in fact are. It takes considerable reflection and careful reading for them to get past their disguises and to accept each for the anxious person he/she is.”  Abstract from Peck, Russell A. Cinderella bibliography. Abstract retrieved April 20, 2005, from

Based on a lesson by Annie Pierini

Edited by Lucy A. Vezzuto, Ph.D. and Janet Ewell

© 2005 Orange County Department of Education