The model poem for this lesson in writing odes (which I usually use for middle school, but adapted for elementary with great results) is Gary Soto's wonderful "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes."
Kids' lit agent Michael Stearns (Firebrand) told me it's Soto's most anthologized poem. No wonder. It's got some juicy similes, which I asked my third graders to aim for in their odes.
It's not often a teacher asks you to take off one shoe, put it on your desk, and examine it. We had a blast with this activity!
Ethan and I discovered the word "Raptor" -- a model name -- on his sneaker.
Poet: Ethan K. Dear E-Raptor, you taste like rubber bands. You feel like leather seats. You smell like fresh dirt. You sound like fireworks crackling. You look like neon green lasers. You’re my favorite shoes.
Juicy similes? Check!
In the poem below, I notice Mayur responding to the quiet emotions at the end of Soto's ode.
Poet: Mayur K. Ode to Mayur’s Shoes They are as fast as a cheetah, rain beaten. They are kicking a kickball, and they smell like the sewer. But I don’t care because they sound like rain drops when I walk. They remind me of a spider because they are all brown and dark colors. When I come back from school, I put them in the closet near the door. Now it’s night. I can hear my dad snoring and my mom laughing to the America’s Funniest Videos.
More shoe odes from the Northfield E.S. third graders tomorrow. Thanks again to Northfield's third grade team and our young poets' families for permission to post these poems.