How to Use Stone Soup in the Classroom
The Stone Soup website has ready-made curriculum materials to use with your students to supplement your writing program, or as self-directed projects for your more motivated students.
Weekly Prompts. Short prompts perfect for warmups, drawn from the Stone Soup Weekly Prompt Newsletter.
Activities. Longer, more detailed projects that teach fundamental writing concepts. Each activity is linked to a story that has been published in Stone Soup Magazine; students read the story before working on the activity.
Stone Soup holds a monthly flash contest, an annual book contest, and from time to time, other contests. Contests offer motivation for writers to get their ideas down on paper. Check out our current contests. Please keep in mind that we receive a lot of entries, and the contests are highly competitive.
Book Contest. The Annual Book Contest is posted around the beginning of Spring with the book manuscript due mid-August. The winner of the contest gets a book published. This is a big deal and a highly competitive prize. Through the Society for Young Inklings, we provide guidance for students in a weekend workshop to help them get started. Scholarships are available. Stone Soup also provides a free monthly check-in for students working on a book-length work of prose or poetry for this contest led by Stone Soup Founder, William Rubel. William has no contact with the judges of the contest. Students read from their works in progress and talk about how they are planning out their extended works.
Reading and writing go together. Authors are readers. Stone Soup welcomes book reviews by young writers; writing reviews gives students the opportunity to engage with texts they are reading in the classroom in ways that are more creative and more personal than the more conventional English essay or response paper. Please note that our reviews are not book reports; we recommend reading samples with your class if you assign them to write a review for us!
Stone Soup offers writing workshops. The format for the workshop is a 30 minute PowerPoint followed by 30 minutes of writing—then readings and critique. The work is extraordinary! Every week we post work from that week that has been submitted to us by workshop students. All writing submitted is published. So, what you see in this section is what students ages 8 through 14 can do in a first draft in thirty minutes. As you will see, there is no way to tell who is 8 and who is 14 or somewhere in between. All of your students can become proficient writers.
Started during the first Covid lockdown in April 2020, this program has been very successful and is growing! Students can register for these classes. To be notified of classes, go to our home page and scroll down to the bottom of the page and sign up for our Newsletter.
To access recordings of the writing workshops, check out our YouTube channel.
Stone Soup Young Author Interviews
On the Stone Soup YouTube channel, we have a treasure trove of interviews with young writers and artists who have been published in the magazine and on the website. Intern Anya Geist spoke with all kinds of creative Contributors about their process, their inspirations, what it meant for them to be published, and so much more. You can also find these interviews individually on the Stone Soup blog. Used in the classroom, these interviews can help students see that writing isn’t just an “exercise” or “activity.” It is an art and a practice, and writing and publishing makes you an author no matter your age!
Stories and Poetry Read Aloud
To give students a break from screen time, have them listen to stories and poetry read aloud by authors on the Stone Soup Soundcloud. The stories on our Soundcloud entertain, inspire, and challenge students to find their own ways of expressing themselves.
Mentor Texts and Examples for Students
With a subscription, you have access to the stories, poems, personal narratives, and art published in the magazine, plus the more informal writing we publish on the blog. For the blog, you can explore our specific Covid-19 section, our broader Young Blogger category, and our multimedia section. Motivate your students by showing them exemplary poems, stories, and book reviews written by their peers.
Please contact us if you’d like to blog for us and publish suggestions of your own for how to use Stone Soup with students, to engage them as readers and encourage them as writers. We’d love to hear from you and share your expertise with our community.