April 12, 2016

Monday, June 15, 2015

In Residence: Shoe Odes

Buon giorno a tutti!

I'm dipping my toes into regular life after a whirlwind visit to Rome and Salerno, Italy. While there, I picked up a little of the language, ate a LOT of amazing food, and made friends with poets from all around the world.

Trading books with my friend, the poet
Richard Paa Kofi Botchwey from Ghana.

Special thanks to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes for hosting me at Today's Little Ditty while I was away. Please visit TLD for a summer poetry activity that families can do together, poetry postcards!

Sharing poetry in a community was the best part of the poetry conference for me. And that's what we'll be doing today at Northfield Elementary. This afternoon, the third grade poets will invite visitors and family members to school for a poetry reading and celebration.

The last workshop we did during Northfield's poetry residency was writing odes. (You can read the full lesson at this post.)

The model poem for this lesson is Gary Soto's "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes." Because I like to give younger writers something concrete to write about, we all take off a shoe in order to write this poem. We create a simile for what it looks like (fast animals are great for sneakers), reinforcing the simile skills we used on Day 2. We think about places where we have been or dream of going in our shoes.

Odes are all about tone. Show enough enthusiasm for even a simple object like a shoe, and a poet can convince the reader of the object's value, that it's worthy of attention. That is what Chilean poet Pablo Neruda did with his Odes to Common Things, a book which still influences poets today.

Find it at IndieBound
Here are shoe odes from third grade poets Ilana M., Nicole C., Dylan L., Linnea J., and Ben K. Thanks to the poets and their families for giving me permission to share these odes. I will post more shoe odes later this week.

Ilana M.

Ode to the Shoes

My shoes look as bright as
a shooting star in the midnight sky.
And they smell as minty as my
breath used to be.
When I wear them, they feel
as velvety as a dove’s feathers.
When I walk, the
sound reminds me of my friend knocking
on my door on a summer day.
I go to school in my
shoes, where we learn our knowledge.
They bring fun and joy
to my day, which I can’t
live without.

"The sound reminds me of a friend knocking on my door on a summer day" -- I love the way this line suggests that Ilana's shoes are taking her to a place filled with fun and friendship.

Nicole C.

My Shoe

Oh shoe, you are like nature on a bright
sunny day. You smell like a garbage truck on a
hot summer day and feel like a puffy cloud. You
were with me when I did a front
handspring for the first time. That was a good
moment. If you didn’t travel from Vietnam,
I would have to wear other shoes that are
7 out of 10. In the halls, you sound like a
stealth ninja and deadly silent.

Ninja shoes (called Tabi) for kids!
Dylan L.

Ode to My Shoes

Oh, shoes, I couldn’t live without
you. The bottom looks like a relief
map. It smells like a newly caught
fish wrapped in seaweed. It feels like a
scaly lizard on the outside and
a rubber mat on the inside. When I
run, I’m like a stealth dragon going
100 miles per hour. If I didn’t have
my shoes, I would never be able to
jump 2 ½ foot hurdles and I’d get hurt
a million times a day without my

Dylan, that is a vivid smell simile. I can picture it in my mind.

Linnea J.

Ode to My Shoes

Shoes, you are as purple as freshly grown lilacs.
You look as good as new, though you are over a year old.
Your colors is still bright,
And your bottoms are still smoothly patterned.
And you smell like those lilacs too.
You are as quiet as breaking down.
You stop my feet from making noises,
Like squeaking, squelching, bumping, and stomping.
You are smooth and warm inside,
Just like new, unwrinkled cloth that is cushy.
You still have all of your wondrous feelings.
In some places you are as smooth as silk,
And in others,
You are as rough and bumpy as a very old blanket.
In you, I have run and won many races,
And you helped me a lot the whole way.
I’ve gone to fun places,
Like amusement parks and water parks and playgrounds,
And we had fun together the whole time.
I could not live without you because you take me everywhere.
My feet would be sore without you,
And I couldn’t run.
You keep my feet comfortable inside you.
I don’t know what my life would be like without you.
You make me happy.

Great use of onomatopoeia words in Linnea's poem: "squeaking, squelching, bumping, and stomping."

Ben K.

Ode to Ben’s Shoes

My should look like a red devil
And they let me run as fast as a cheetah. My shoe
Feels like a fun trampoline so they
Make me jump high. My shoe sounds
Like the “click” of a teacher
Writing on the chalkboard. Whenever I go
To recess, my shoes are covered in gravel
As if I just climbed a mountain with
No snow. I can’t live without my shoes
Because my shoes are my feet’s
Best friends.

Ben's class especially loved the line, "My shoes are covered in gravel as if I just climbed a mountain with no snow." Can't you picture it?

In this series:

First Student Responses: "Words in My Pet Goldfish," "Words in My Bed," "Words in My Life"
In Residence: Poetry Friday Words: Poems by Laura S., Jason Y., Jeffrey G., and Isa L.
In Residence: The Simile Zoo: Poems by Sabine S., Asher, Cecelia D., and Evelyn D.
In Residence: Day 2 in the Simile Zoo: Poems by Allie L., Makaela M., Parker P., Matthew L., Vincent T., Lila R., Naomi C., and Julia J.
In Residence: Due Stanze: Poems by Avery,  Setutsi, Jen, Anlan, Arushi, and Johanna.
In Residence: Opposite Poems: Poems by Andrew V., Matthew L., Nathan W., Aly A., and Joanna B.
In Residence at Today's Little Ditty: Poetry Postcard Summer Activity for Kids and Families


Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Wonderful! Oh the places these poems go. :)

PS. Please ask Ilana the secret to minty shoes!

Margaret Simon said...

Third graders? These are wonderful, full of such expressive language.