November 18, 2005

Stone Soup Lesson Plan

This is now the second time I have taught a class on the book Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. I have used two different approaches and I have liked different things about each approach. For my previous Stone Soup lesson idea check out this lesson.

Today I taught at our homeschool coop for our three and four year old class. I have just under an hour to teach them. Each week we pick a book and base the lesson on that. Today's was Stone Soup.

For this class I did quite a bit of prep time and work, including making the soup ahead of time (since we only had about 45 minutes total). I followed the recipe as it was in the book with one exception. Since Ciaran is in the class and we are vegetarians I substituted lentils and a vegetable bouillon cube for the meat in this story. Otherwise it was the same as the story.

I also cut out my printables and clipped them together as our children are younger. For older kids your prep time would be less and I highly recommend actually making and cooking the soup at the same time as the class if you have the time and access to a stove. We did not so we had to make it work. On to the lesson.

We began with the kids seated at the table - I had all my supplies nearby. We started with a pot and I showed it to the kids. Then as each ingredient was mentioned I passed it around to the kids (with help of other mothers) so they could smell, touch, and when appropriate taste it. Each child took a turn dumping ingredients in. An alternate approach would be to ask each child to bring one ingredient so they can see how each person contributes the little they have to make a wonderful soup all together. This was a bit chaotic with 12 3 and 4 year olds but they did a good job taking turns and listening to directions so it worked well.

While I finished reading the story and let the kids all take turns stirring the ingredients another mom heated and served the soup I had made ahead for the kids to try. Some really liked it and ate their portion other just tried it and did not want anymore. That was fine I just asked that they try it. While they ate their soup I talked about the bible story of the boy with 2 fish and 5 loaves and how it was used to feed 5,000. We also talked about how we can share and how our little can be used for greater good.

Then I reminded them how following particular directions are important in making a recipe such as soup. I then transitioned into how it is important to listen to directions in general. Then talked about a particular time people had to follow directions that made no sense at all. I read a child's version of The Walls of Jericho and how God's people had to follow what seemed like strange and silly directions - walk around the walls of this fortified city for 7 days, blow a trumpet and yell and the walls will fall down. Several kids were familiar with the story already and could answer questions right away.

Then I had them make people of Jericho using toothpicks, dots and marshmallows. Use the marshmallow as a body, toothpicks for arms and legs and one toothpick to attach the head to the marshmallow. We made walls of Jericho with graham crackers - they did not stand too well and were very fragile. They were sufficient for my purpose but you may want to try something else. Each child got to walk their Israelite around the walls of Jericho and then all the kids stood in a line. We have a little boy named Joshua so he got to be the line leader. We walked around the walls of Jericho (the table holding our graham cracker Jericho) seven times. Blowing our horn the last time, then everyone yelled and we knocked down the walls. Then the kids got to eat graham crackers and and marshmallows and dots as a snack. While they finished their snack I ended with a discussion of the importance of following directions and whose directions we need to follow. We talked about God and our parents and where we find those directions (in the Bible and our parents rules). With older kids you could also talk about listening to the laws of the land and other authority figures.

Our time was up so I sent the other craft home with the kids. I had printed out small printouts of each ingredient and a black pot for the kids to glue each ingredient onto the pot. For older kids you could make a book where they write the name of each ingredient and any observations they made about the item.

The kids had fun and while it was a bit chaotic I think it helps the kids understand better to be so active. I really liked the connection between the Jericho story and the Stone Soup book.



  1. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Great idea! We are doing a Stone Soup project with our young readers, and I never thought about linking it to Joshua. I still have time, perhaps we will try it with a "brownie wall."


  2. Precious! Thank you for sharing.