By Lily Burgess, 1-2 Teacher
This past Friday, our buddies trundled into the classroom, papers in hand. Right on time! Around mid-November the preparations begin for a beloved UCDS tradition: Stone Soup. As the familiar folktale goes, a community gathers together (unknowingly) to make a feast together. Whether we are comparing retellings of the story with Venn diagrams, calculating recipes with column addition during Math Vitamin, or planning a toast to kick off the event, the kids lean into all aspects of the tradition. There is an excitement to be a part of the community in a familiar way. Each year we share food, foster our connections and, of course, make placemats for our buddies!
Those paper-wielding buddies were armed, ready for an interview; as were the 1-2s! These interviews are valuable as you practice asking and answering questions, building understanding of someone new to you, and fostering cross-level connection. But there seems to be another layer of magic each year when we convert the information gleaned from this task into a placemat. With the element of surprise, kids reflect on the joy of giving the placemat to their buddy. They recall how they felt to get their own placemat, emblazoned with their name and decorated in a unique style each year. With that remembrance, they set out to create the same feeling for their own buddy.
Each year, as we dive into Stone Soup preparations, the feeling of kicking it into high gear is present for us teachers. Between orchestrating bread, dessert, or soup making, guiding careful craftsmanship of placemats, supporting kids in writing and memorizing a short toast, all amid academics, there always seems to be a shortage of time. However, each year, no matter how chaotic it can seem on paper, the magic of seeing buddy pairs sitting down to the community curated meal, and the sparkle of excitement as they exchange placemats makes the tradition a highlight year after year. Happy Stone Soup season!