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Stone Soup

A few weeks back, we had a "Stone Soup" week in my classroom.  This was leading up to Thanksgiving (which, of course, occurs in October in Canada).  I really wanted to tie in the ideals of "thankfulness" and "gratitude" throughout the week.  


I started the lesson by introducing some vocabulary from the Marcia Brown version of "Stone Soup".  The class  did not know what book we were reading.  There were 4 words - one per chart paper.  Students were split into 4 groups and rotated carousel style, brainstorming ideas on each word.  Once we had discussed as a class, we moved on to a new task: Text Graffiti.  I saw a video about this on someone's blog recently, and can't remember where.  If you know the video, please let me know.  In this task - I selected 22 (one per student) lines from the story that didn't give away the "big idea".  Each line was taped to the centre of a paper.  Students sat down at a desk and read the line.  They then wrote any ideas about vocabulary, characters, setting, big idea or questions they had around the text.  They were not to put their name.  We did 4 rotations.  Looking back, I probably did not need to find 22 lines, but it did work well to provide everyone with different context clues.

Then, using the vocab words, and the text they had read students had to create a prediction of the story we were reading with justification.  Some thought we were reading "Shrek" (because of the term village), others invented stories about kings and soldiers.

Throughout the story, we paused to discuss story elements.  Afterward, students had to provide their thoughts about the "big idea" of the story.  Again, with justification.  To the right is a list of my favourites, which I typed up and shared with the class the next day.  We also worked on reflecting on goals of the lesson.  That part was a bit tricky for them.   


On Tuesday, we repeated the activity.  Again, I gave vocabulary words and we did the text graffiti activity.  This time, I used the "Stone Soup" version from Ann McGovern.  Student predictions were more accurate today as they had heard this version in a previous year, and they also were expecting the "Stone Soup" theme.   Below is my favourite piece of thinking from the text graffiti activity.  Student connections are so hilarious sometimes!


We had a big assembly with a special guest this day so no "Stone Soup" activities!


We read a third version of the story today: "Bone Button Borscht".  I really like these spin off books - shows so much creativity!  I hadn't ever heard of this version before.  I found a copy in our Public Library.  This story has a longer text and beautiful illustrations.  It's a nice combination of the two stories I had already read.  A stranger comes to town and tricks the towns people into creating the soup.  The entire town works together to make something delicious and has a huge celebration.

We didn't repeat the activity of previous days as we were short on time.  I think next year "Stone Soup Week" might become "Stone Soup 2 Weeks". 


On Friday, I read "Cactus Soup".  This Mexican version of the story is very similar to the Marcia Brown version.  Again, we just read the story.

Friday was the culmination of the activities.  Of course we had to make soup!  I had two wonderful parents come in to help out.  Students all brought in items for the soup.  I made pumpkin biscuits (with a pumpkin grown in a student's field) and another brought in homemade buns.  Yum!  We had so much food we ended up making two kinds: beef barley and cream of potato.  Throughout the morning 5 or 6 students at a time went to the foods room to help the moms peel, cut, stir and season.  The smells through the school were amazing!  We had so much extra soup, we shared with some of the other adults in the building.  There is currently 10 large Ziploc bags of soup in the freezer waiting for us on a cold winter day.  I think we will go skating on the school rink and then warm up with the soup leftovers.  I am so happy we made the soup - it brought us all together as classroom family.  Parents came in to eat as well.  It was a great event. 

Mrs. Nowell texted me this picture of her bowl of soup.  She got a stone!  Lucky lady.

A student had her cousin spend a few days with us that week.  Her cousin was from Switzerland.  We shared some amazing Swiss chocolate for desert.

Mrs. Holland, our principal, wrote us this thank you note.  Seriously, she has the best teacher printing ever.  I'm really jealous.

What did you do for Thanksgiving?
Check out my Pinterest Board for more great Stone Soup ideas!
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