Curriculum Ideas-Stone Soupd comes to life

Have you ever read the story stone soup? It's one of my favorites. I especially love to do a storytelling rendition of it in the classroom. I have a special stone that I once found that only comes out for this purpose. I have been using it for years! Anyway, I would encourage you to find a special stone for this purpose. I get a clear bowl and set it aside; I also fill a cloth bag with all sorts of play food (carrots, lettuce, corn, salt/pepper shakers, etc...). I also have a pitcher of water available and a long wooden spoon. I start the story by showing my special stone, "Do you see this stone? This is a very special stone. It's very old and it has a very special, magical story that goes with it. Would you like to hear the story?" Well, of course they are all enamoured and want to hear the story. Wouldn't you? As I tell the story, I bring out the supplies as needed. The whole storytelling is one which leaves the children in awe and wondering...and always begging for another telling. I usually tell it everyday (sometimes several times a day) for about a week. After this, the children are eager for my next lesson plan idea...we make a classroom, very edible, stone soup.
I send home a request list to the parents of items we need to be shared with the classroom. I have done this a couple of ways: 1, make a list and post it on the door; 2, send a list home and ask them to bring in something off the list; and 3, send a paper bag home with each child with a specific item listed on the bag to be brought in. The last one works best. This one gets every parent to remember to bring in something and you don't end up with tons of carrots and no corn.
Leading up to this, I talk to the children about parties and dancing and singing, and we decide on the activities for the day of the soup making (I also plan a few surprises of my own). On the day of the making, we start immediately after breakfast. I set up a crock pot at circle time. I pull out the special stone and start the story telling process. "Let's see if this stone will work for us." I announce as I place it in the crock pot. Then I tell the story as if they are the villagers. They get all excited when I mumble to myself "It tastes all right, it just needs a bit of corn." "Oh, I have corn Miss Jenni!" Then, after the story telling, I have to leave it hanging because the villagers all dance and sing and have a party (in this version: "while they wait for it to cook"). And we have party games and I always include a dance lesson (square dances or line dances work well). We play musical instruments and it is a VERY busy morning hopping from one activity to the next. Then, of course, lunch time comes and we enjoy our soup!
This is a fabulous activity that totally wears them out (nap time is a dream!). It also takes some preplanning on your part. You have to introduce the story at a time that they are ready for it; and you have to get them so enamoured with the story that they ALL are eager to hear it and experience it. During this process, you also have to pick your window of opportunity. Have your soup party too early, and only some will be interested; have it too late, and they'll be tired of the story by this time and won't be interested. It is a great language and literacy experience; it's great for sharing and community; and it's fabulous for introducing some dancing and singing that maybe some of them would never try otherwise.
It's also a very busy day that, for the most part, the whole group seems to travel together (no one really breaks off into their own areas for fear that they will miss the magic of the soup).
In the end, however, it is well worth it!

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