English Language Arts, Visual-Spatial Skills, collaboration, social-emotional learning
- The “Cenerentola Checkers” reproducibles (checkerboard, events grid, and checklist)
- One checker or other game token for each player
- Dice, one for each group
- Clear tape or glue stick
Common Core Standards
This activity directly supports the following ELA-Literacy Common Core Strands:
Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-onone, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3–5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
The plots of Rossini’s comic operas can be tricky and difficult to follow, even when they parallel a familiar story like “Cinderella.” This activity is designed to teach your students the plot of the opera—through a board game as fun and intricate as a Rossinian comedy!
STEP 1. PREPARE TO PLAY
Divide your class into groups of two to four players, and distribute materials as follows.
For each group:
One copy of the Events Grid
One copy of the Checkerboard
For each player:
One copy of the Checklist
One checker or game token
Next, direct students to:
- Separate each event on the Events Grid. (If you have younger students, you may wish to have the squares pre-cut.)
- Stick each event onto a random square on the checkerboard. (Students can place the events wherever they wish, but they should be distributed evenly across the board.)
STEP 2. EXPLAIN THE RULES
The rules of Cenerentola Checkers are straightforward—but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t full of twists and turns! The rules are as follows
- Each player places their game token at one corner of the checkerboard.
- Players roll the die to see who goes first. The lowest number will move first, and then play will move clockwise.
- On their turn, players will roll the die and then move that number of spaces. Tokens may move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally along consecutive spaces. Players can combine directions during a turn, but may not use the same space more than once on any single turn.
- The goal is to “collect” all the events on the board in sequence (as indicated by the numbers on the events and on the checklist). When players lands on an event, they can check it off the checklist. (But remember: Events MUST be collected in order!)
- The first player to collect all 12 events in sequence wins the game.
STEP 3. PLAY THE GAME!
As students play, the game will familiarize them with La Cenerentola’s plot, whet their appetite for the opera, and engage their own creative storytelling ideas.
- After playing the game, you can explore why each of the events is essential to the plot: How would the logic of the plot suffer if a) any event was omitted, or b) any event appeared out of the original sequence?
- You can modify this game to suit any opera or narrative text. Students may enjoy writing an “events grid” for their own favorite operas, books, or other narrative works.
- Play selections from the opera and ask students to guess which event from the gameboard they depict. The following table connects specific tracks from MOoD to the game’s events.