There is an old fable that in one version tells the story of a traveler who tries to trick the people of a small village into sharing the food the villagers have.
At its heart, the story, “Stone Soup,” is a tale of helping others even when those providing the help may not have a great deal of their own material goods to spare.
For the third grade students at Parkview Elementary, the fable has become a cherished Thanksgiving tradition that not only teaches language content for the students; it teaches lessons of gratitude and giving.
“This really has become a tradition for the third grade classes here,” teacher Andrea Young said. “I know we have been doing this for as long as I have been here and it’s a really wonderful way to bring us all together as a class.”
The four third grade Parkview teachers — Young, Laura Peck, Rebecca Hughart and Kristina Petrashishina — read the book to their students and then have them watch a video version of the story.
The students then use Venn Diagrams to compare the two versions of the story by comparing the similarities and differences between the versions.
“In the book there was only one stone,” Emilia Hofstetter said, “But in the movie there were three.”
“They changed the characters too,” Hofstetter’s classmate Kylee McMullin said. “In the book it was one boy but in the movie there were three soldiers.”
In the story, the traveler comes to the village with nothing but an empty pot. The villagers ask what he is doing with the pot to which the traveler replies he is going to make stone soup.
He goes to the river, fills the pot with water and places a stone in the bottom of the pot, telling the villagers stone soup is very tasty but it needs some extra ingredients to make it even better.
The villagers decide they can spare a few vegetables or other ingredients and eventually adding enough food to feed the entire village.
“The people all thought they didn’t have enough food,” Bode Hayworth said. “But they really did when they all helped.”
“They really do a lot of deeper thinking with this project,” Young said. “It really is a different spin on coming together for Thanksgiving.
“Everyone in the class contributes and they all have a part because they each bring in one can of vegetables or something for the soup,” she added. “It can really bring some of them out of their comfort zone when they try the soup, too.”
The students each went to the front of the room and chose a can of vegetables, meat or some spices to add to the crock pot as Young supervised.
“We just went to the front yard of the school and found the stone one day,” Young said. “Everyone asks me if I use the same one each year, but I would never be able to remember where I put it,” she added with a laugh.
Each class makes a batch of the soup and then they eat together in their classroom.
“I think it teaches them so many lessons that are especially important this time of year, especially about the importance of helping others and being thankful for what we are given.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484