I love to time my classroom feast for the week of Thanksgiving but there's never a bad time to build community and break bread with your littles. It is such a valuable experience and can provide experiential learning for so many academic standards. Our feast comes at the end of a combined Social Studies and Language Arts unit on families and story elements.
Stone Soup is a folktale that comes in many versions. These are the three that I use:
Each version is slightly different but they all end with the same lesson- all people thrive when a community shares and works together. I love to build upon this theme by tying it into our classroom community and the idea that our classroom is like a family- with rich traditions, love, acceptance, and generosity. I introduce the word gratitude and explain the magic of voicing the things you are grateful for out loud. I purchased a stone from Amazon that says gratitude on it, but any stone would do. We pass it from person to person, never letting it touch a table or the floor. Each child must say something they are grateful for before passing it along. The last child places it in our pot before we add our ingredients. (**teacher secret** I sneak the dirty, touched-by-everyone-in-the-class-stone out of the pot before we add our ingredients. But they don't need to know that.)
You can find Gratitude vocabulary freebies here:
Stone soup is also ridiculously easy to make and the ingredients are common and inexpensive. I always ask parents to volunteer to bring items in.
You can decide what works best for you but these are the items I ask for:
diced onions (cleaned and pre-packaged, my school requires this), diced celery, 3 cartons of chicken broth, 2 cans of sliced carrots, 1 can sliced potatoes, dinner rolls, butter, sturdy paper bowls, spoons, juice and cups, fruit cups/applesauce cups, and packaged cookies for desert. **teacher tip** I like to add a cube of bouillon for flavor.
Another friendly tip, ask for the items to be brought in a day or two before your feast date so that you can purchase any missing items. I have put on the feast without any parent volunteers in the past and it didn't cost me much. You will also need a crock pot, ladle, paper products, and A CAN OPENER! For the love, don't forget the can opener. Not that I've ever done that or anything. While your soup simmers I love to engage my students in some Stone Soup themed activities. We list the ingredients, talk about the story elements, and compare the different versions of the story. You can find everything you need for a successful feast in my Stone Soup Printables Pack. There are handy sign-up and reminder sheets for parents and worksheets to help you plan your Stone Soup book study.
I hope these tips have helped you plan a classroom feast. I'd love to hear your tips, experiences, or classroom traditions. Feel free to share in the comments section. Happy Feasting!