Archives: Northfield Elementary

School Poetry Workshop: Food and the 5 Senses

Poetry Friday is at Kiesha’s Whispers from the Ridge. Click through to find more delectable poetry posts from the kidlitosphere.

It’s Poetry Friday! Welcome back to Northfield Elementary, where the third grade poets are using their five senses to write about food.

When I’m working with young writers on food poems, I want to guide them away from catch-all words: delicious, yummy, tasty, good, disgusting. Pizza and ice cream are both delicious, but they don’t taste anything alike (unless you visit this LA restaurant.)

Here’s a quick cooperative writing game/exercise you can use to help students focus on specific, descriptive language.

Mystery Food
Goal: Get the class to guess your mystery food in three words.

  1. Make a set of small cards with the name of a food on each one. I use half an index card. The foods I use are: ice cream, bubble gum, tacos, hamburger, pizza, apple, chocolate, orange, celery, spinach.
  2. Give groups of four-six students one card each. Don’t read the card aloud (we don’t want our classmates to hear), but pass it around the group.
  3. The group has 5 minutes to come up with the three adjectives that are so descriptive, the class will be able to figure out the food in one guess.
  4. Each group take turns reading their three words. The rest of the class tries to guess the food.

My students have a great time with this one. The classroom teacher and I do walk around, reminding them that they can use color, shape, texture, flavor, and other descriptors.

Our mentor text for the food poems workshop is “Good Hotdogs” by Sandra Cisneros.

Thanks to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share the students’ poems. Today, we were focusing on using imagery of the five senses.

Poet: Ayesha A.


Going outside
In the warm sunshine.
You run behind me.
Something’s in your hand.
You yell, “Wait!”
I turn around, something plops in
My hand.
I rip open the foil
And see all the types
Of colors. I take a bite
And out leaks the juicy
Cherry flavor. When I’m done there’s
A stick left behind.
I then say thanks and then
I leave. Yum.

Poet: Will Y.


Waiting ‘til Friday
Hearing a ding
Going to the door, meeting
The sushi man
Pizza, sushi, and video games
End of the week, tired
California roll, sweet crab, soft avocado
I think it is tasty

Poet: Celia V.

Pepperoni Pizza

As I taste the spicy pepperoni
Smell the cheese at the tip
Of my tongue, see the cheesy
Pizza, hear the likes of
My mouth, ready to eat it
Up, I touch the hotness of
My pizza.

Poet: Tanishka H.


Out in the dark
We sit in the pitch black.
Mom and Dad
Shout surprise! Out come
Hershey bars, marshmallows
Honeylicious graham crackers.
Mom and Dad light up the fire.
I see marshmallows
On a stick soft, crispy,
And looks yummy! First goes
The cracker, then goes toasty
Marshmallows and sweet
Hershey piece and another
Honeylicious graham
Cracker on top. We take
A s’more. We smell sweet crisps
Of marshmallow burns.
We take a bite. “Yum,” we say. Chewy
Squishy marshmallows in our mouths.
S’mores we all love.

Poet: Ava R.

Warm Drinks in the Winter

I hear the coffee machine dispenses warm liquid.
I feel the warm cup against my cold fingers.
I smell the hot chocolatey air.
I see the marshmallows melt into the hot chocolate.
I hear the sound of the whipped cream
Squirt out of the can into the hot chocolate.
It tastes as if I got it from heaven.
The warm liquid swishes in my mouth.
Swish, swash, gulp!

Still hungry? I’ll post more Northfield food poems next week.

Check out the previous posts in this School Poetry Workshop series:

School Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017

List Poems from Northfield ES

Hello, Readers! After my new middle grade novel launched in mid-April, I took a month off from blogging.

In that month, I’ve visited schools and bookstores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, New York City, and Baltimore. Now I’m back in my own neighborhood, teaching at Northfield Elementary. I’ve been poet in residence with the Northfield third grade for ten years.

The first time I meet the poets, we work on a structured form, such as a list poem. This year, our first model poem was Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Words in My Pillow.” It’s from the list poem anthology, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.


Read more about this book, edited by Georgia Heard, at the MacMillan website.

In the model poem, the speaker describes tucking words into her pillow before she goes to sleep. The third graders and I brainstormed our own list of juicy words, and figured out how we might change the topic of the poem, but keep some of its structure.

For instance, “Words in My Dog” might include specific nouns (TREATS, WATER, TONGUE), descriptive adjectives and verbs (BARK, FLUFFY, FAST, LICK), but it might also have “states of being” — things we can’t really see (LOVE, COMFORT, KINDNESS).

I am excited to share the third graders’ poems. Please be aware that these are first drafts. We will work on line breaks together on Revision Day.

Thanks to the educators and families at Northfield for allowing me to post the children’s original work.

Words in my Piano

By Michelle Z.

I hide words in my piano.
Words that sound good.


No one can see them but I
find them waiting for me
whenever I hit a key. No one can see it
but I know it’s in there.


The words are talking together
whenever I’m thinking them.

is in my poem.

The words never leave but
sometimes I do.


Here is Christina’s poem. Christina opted to do her first draft as a cross-out. Here is what it looks like on the page, and typed up.

IMG_20160516_181148Words in My Heart
By Christina F.

I hide words inside my heart.
Words that feel good —


No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there —


Blood is in there.
A story is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

is in my heart.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
go away.


There’s a lot of action in Marcel’s poem.

Words in My Shoes!
By Marcel C-G

My shoes are
bored when I’m in class.

The pair wants to run like

Whoosh! Colorful! Rubber wants to run!
Phew! Come on! Juicy wind is so windy!
Whee! Ahhhh, I’m too bored!

But if you run
they feel too
They also feel
At recess, they’re so excited
they’re going to die for it!

When I am in the cafeteria
they’re starving, but I can’t give
them food.

Rubber goes to sleep.

I’m sorry shoes!!!


Andy came up with some very inventive imagery for the opening of this list poem.

Words in My Dog
By  Andy T.

There are words inside my dog.
Words that slide down her tongue
and come out of her mouth.


You can’t see them but they
are there. Like the feelings deep
down in my dog.


Feelings are in my dog.
Sad is there. Tired is there.
Some words are adjectives.
Some are good, some bad.


My dog’s friends the words
go to bed before her,
but will be waiting for her
in the morning.


I loved the way that Riley worked a recipe into this list poem.

Words in My Cake Mix
By Riley H.

I store words in my cake mix,
words that taste delicious.


No one can touch them,
but I find them waiting for my return,
like the measurements in my brain.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Smarts are in there.
Patience is in there.

The words are forming a bond
before we sample or munch them.

are in my cake mix.

My ingredients the words
go away before I do,
baked in their pan.
After, I add sprinkles,

Then, we taste:


Last, Eve captures many of the reasons children enjoy playing sports together.

Words in My Soccer Ball
By Eve B.

I hide words inside my soccer ball.
Words that help me win the game:


No one can see them
but I find them rooting for me on the bleachers.
Like the KICK in my foot.
No one can see it
but I know what it’s like:

TEAMWORK is in there.

The words are passing to each other
when I am saying or thinking them.

are all in my soccer ball.

My friends the words,
I can’t kick them away.
But I would never try it,
not any day.


I’ll post more Northfield list poems tomorrow. If you have a question about this lesson or feedback for the Northfield poets, please leave it in the comments.