Decision Making. Cinderella’s Trip to the Ball

Decision making – a logical process or a fast flight by the seat of one’s pants!?

This is the logical process. From Choices to Criteria, let’s see how Cinderella uses decision making as she considers the best way to go to the Prince’s ball.

goat and cart : Goat and farm animals

A goat pulling a cart is one travel choice for Cinderella.

5 Steps to Make a Decision

State the Question

Identify the Choices

List the Criteria

Comparing Choices

The Result


STATE THE QUESTION  Her fairy godmother asks, “Cinderella, what is the best way for you to go to the ball?”

IDENTIFY THE CHOICES Cinderella thinks about the local transportation. “Well, I could take…

a wagon, a stagecoach, or a goat pulling a cart; or  ride horseback, or take a horse-drawn carriage.”

LIST THE CRITERIA Cinderella ponders…

a. Will people see me easily as I go by them?

b. Will my dress stay clean?

c. Will I impress the Prince?

COMPARING CHOICES Cinderella compares the five local transportation choices. She decides 5 ways to compare them. Be sure to rank them 1- 5 in each column, Cinderella. Then total the points.

1. means No Way     2. means Probably Not    3. means It Might Work

4. means It Will Probably Work Out     5. means Absolutely It Will Work


…………………..Easily seen ……………..Stays clean……….Looks impressive…………………..

WAGON                 3                                    3                                2             TOTAL:  8

STAGECOACH     1                                    5                                4             TOTAL: 10

GOAT CART         2                                   1                                 1             TOTAL:  4

HORSEBACK       5                                   2                                 3            TOTAL: 10

CARRIAGE           4                                   4                                 5            TOTAL: 13


FINAL RESULT Cinderella will be taking a horse drawn carriage to the ball!

Best of all – Her fairy godmother promised her four white horses and a footman! She will arrive in style.


horse and carriage : drawing carriage and horses. Silhouette on white background

Creative Thinking. Cinderella Cleans the Fireplace


Creative thinking is everywhere – from smart phones to photography – it’s our world and our future!

To insert a little thinking into an age old fairy tale, let’s find out how Cinderella might clean the fireplace.

Cinderella, the fireplace needs cleaning!

         4 Steps to Creative Thinking





THE SITUATION  Cinderella’s step-sisters want the filthy fireplace to look good – and fast!

THE QUESTION How many ways can Cindy get a clean-looking fireplace fast?

GUIDELINES Identify sensible answers and/or include fun/fantasy.

RESULTS  As students share ideas, write the key words or icons on the board.         (This gives them time to think of the next idea and honors their ideas.)

Sensible answers may include: – Use a big broom and a bucket of hot soapy water.     – Get lots of rags and scrub!

Imaginative answers may include.   – Ask the birds to go up the chimney with long pieces of cloth.  – Use white paint to cover the dirt.  – Hide the dirt with big flower pots and trailing vines.

NOTE At the end, compare the answers to the question. Some of these results work only if time is not a factor.  By allowing fun answers, better sensible answers are found.


-Have the students write a story describing how Cinderella cleans the fireplace.

-Draw and label  illustrations of the steps involved.



Other ideas for Creative Thinking.

Science. Identify ways water is used in our world.                                           History. Find ways for Columbus to deal with a mutiny.                                           Math. What happens if the measuring cups are the wrong sizes?

Real Life. Movies… shoes… vacations… all the many, varied and unusual options, please!

Remember. Use a clear question and set guidelines.                                 Encourage students to use one answer to generate another – it’s called piggy backing.

Note. There will be laughter! –  a sure sign that creative thinking is taking place.  If only sensible answers are needed, remind them the answers must be useful. Silliness can get in the way. You decide.


Creative thinking enriches teaching lessons – they make a great review, support other thinking skills, and keep school interesting.

A REVIEW QUESTION. To review the students’ understanding of the Arctic, I asked – What are the many, varied, and unique ways the Arctic would change if the temperature went up ten degrees?  They filled the board with answers!


The Love of the Teacher

As the class sat expectantly and slightly in awe, my first college education professor asked,  “Why do you want to be a teacher?” One student answered, “I want to be a teacher because I love children.”  Boom! The instructor’s firm response was, in essence, “Loving the children alone doesn’t do it. You have to know what you’re doing.”  Our careers in teaching had begun.

When the heart of child is touched by the love of the teacher, true learning takes place.


Now that I am on the other side of decades of teaching, here’s my take on it –     “When the heart of the student is touched by the love of the teacher, true learning takes place.”  When a teacher loves and appreciates the student for who he is and what he can become, he/she knows it and is willing to do as much as they can.

For me, being a well-trained teacher is a form of love; being open to new ideas is a form of love; learning to see the good in every student is a form of love.


VIGNETTE. Five years into my teaching career, I was assigned a science class with sixth graders when sixth was in the elementary school. One  student loved disrupting our class.  One day, as the sixth graders lined up to leave the room, he decided it was time to teach his teacher a lesson. Putting up his fists and taking a fighter’s stance, he offered to beat me up. [Mind you, he was a shade taller than I was!] That challenge put the class on pause.

My humor kicked in. I carefully and slowly bit by bit moved my body to mimic his pose making sure he knew what I was doing. I set myself up as he was – fists up, feet spread, chin out – then, sighing deeply, I said with an exaggerated sadness, “I know I’m going to lose, but if it makes you happy, I’m willing to take you on.” He burst into laughter – as did the class.

Now I don’t recommend this as a teaching technique, but letting him save face after putting us both into a lose-lose situation saved both of us.  After this, the classroom was no longer a place for him to demand attention. He knew I wasn’t trying to win, I just wanted to teach. And, he realized that I appreciated him – just as he was. Yes, we were friends from then on – ‘teacher/student’ friends.  No, I didn’t send him to the office although I let the principal know what happened.  Sometimes, as a friend once told me, we just move on. We moved on.





Log Lines. Awesome Introductory Sentences

In five words, what is our book about?

Tell me the log line for our book.

A log line is found describing movies and books. As a summary of entire book in one sentence is makes an immediate connection to the entire story.  A friend said to compare it to speaking to someone while riding an elevator. When asked, “What you do?” you quickly tell what your book is about –  the log line. (If you teach writing, think ‘introductory sentence’. Learning to write log lines for books students have read, transfers well to writing introductory sentences for the book report.)

As I worked on my book’s log line, I found myself  in an analysis mode. My beginning attempt for my book Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends? was  “Melville and Throckmorton learn to get along when they have to help each other  – a single event leads to a broken promise, burnt feathers and fur, and finally to friendship –   the war between dragons and frogs comes to an end when a dragon egg appears.”  Quite a log line, eh?…

My son, the movie goer, explained,  “You need to summarize the essence of the idea behind the story. You’re using too many details.”

I reread my book reviews.  I reread the ‘Hollywood Coverage’ project in which my book was laid out in five paragraphs. What essence?

My website design person chose quotes from the book reviews. “Friendship against all odds.”  “‘An epistolary fantasy.”   “A sweet narrative about dragons and frogs finding peace.”  None of them was a log line.

Perhaps this was it:  “An ancient rhyme of 3000 years is challenged by a dragon egg.”   No names.  No characters. No Great Forest nor Deep Pond. No broken promises nor rescue. Was this my log line? No. Too short.

Having a YouTube made, new ideas emerged as the film editor asked specific questions. The answer to the final question, “Why should someone buy your book?” was “Because this book teaches a child to forgive his enemy by having enough compassion to  forget the past.”

This was it! The quick ‘elevator answer’ I was seeking.  My log line at last.


VIGNETTE. A few days later, I had a meeting in a 30 story business building. I stepped into an elevator next to a young man. We nodded.  Before I could open my mouth, we had zipped up twenty-two floors. As he held the door, I stepped out,  reached into my purse, and handed my fellow traveler a postcard of the book cover with notes on the back, smiled and said, “Share this!”  It wasn’t my  logline….

Ah well. will tell more.


LOG LINE. Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends? is about having the courage to overcome the fear of a bully; and the compassion to forgive and forget the past.