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Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Stop by Buffy’s Blog for poetry links from around the kidlitosphere.

Happy Poetry Friday and welcome back to Northfield Elementary School. Today, the third grade poets are working on odes.

I’ve been doing an elementary school workshop on odes for many years. Usually, my model poem is “Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes,” by Gary Soto. When it’s time to write, I have the kids take off a shoe, put it on their desks, and really examine it.

You’ll find my article about that lesson on my *Padlet page. Look for “Article: Kids Write Odes to Their Shoes.”

This year, I wanted to try something different and get kids writing odes to a favorite place. The model poem for this workshop is “Harlem Is the Capital of My World,” from Tony Medina’s wonderful picture book/verse biography of Langston Hughes, LOVE TO LANGSTON. It is spoken in the voice of Langston Hughes.

Harlem Is the Capital of My World
by Tony Medina

Harlem is the capital of my world
black and beautiful and bruised
like me

Harlem has soul — it’s where black people
care about black people and everybody’s
child belongs to the community

Where we be stylin’ and profilin’
with concrete streets stretched out
under our feet and boulevards broad
and spread like a red carpet for royalty

The King of Swing
The Duke of Ellington
The Empress of the Blues

Harlem is a bouquet of black roses
all packed together and protected
by blackness and pride

Harlem is where I reside
where I work and stride
my dark community
from the East River to
St. Nicholas Avenue with
nightclubs and cabarets
spilling over with jazz
and bluesy urban spirituals
(it’s not miracle we survive!)

Why I fell in love with Harlem
before I ever got here!

Yeah, Harlem is where I be —
where I could be

Me

Harlem is the capital of my world

From Love to Langston, by Tony Medina, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Lee & Low Books, 2002). Shared with permission of the author.

The third graders and I talked about three important elements in an ode:
*Imagery of the five senses.
*Similes (these can be developed from the sensory images).
*Hyperbole (similes can be used to create hyperbole).

The students are familiar with imagery and similes, but hyperbole was a new concept. They picked it up quickly. In each class, someone noticed the phrase “like a red carpet for royalty” in Tony’s poem. It’s a simile — there’s not literally a red carpet running down the street in New York City. But it’s also a hyperbole, an exaggeration to make the point that Langston Hughes believed the people of Harlem were as important as kings and queens.

I loved the way that the Northfield poets incorporated some of Tony’s poetic structure into their own odes.

Poet: Desmond

The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer

The pool is the capital of my summer,
blue and wet like water.

The pool smells like weird chlorine in the water.
The kids playing like crazy fish.

The pool has toys and water slides,
tasty sandwiches after and bumpy water.

The pool is splashing.
The kids are playing.
The whistle is blowing.

The pool is where I want to be
all summer long.
***

Poet: Delaney

Broadkill Beach Is the Capital of My Summer

Broadkill Beach is the capital
of my summer.

In Broadkill all I
can smell is the amazing
salty ocean water.
The smell is as nice
as the smell of chocolate.

In Broadkill all I feel
is the nice warm towel I
am laying on and when
I go swimming I feel
the nice cool water engulfing me.

In Broadkill all I can
see is the amazing ocean
view. The view is as beautiful
as a shiny diamond.

In Broadkill all I can taste
is the sweet juicy taste of
plums.

In Broadkill all I can hear
is the soft ocean breeze
of the beach.

Broadkill Beach is the capital
of my summer.
***

Poet: Elisa

Water Country Is the Capital of My Vacation

Water Country is the capital of my vacation,
fun and amazing like the  mystical world.

Water Country is like a rainstorm in a tunnel.

The splish and splash of water
dripping down the edge of the waterslide
and hitting the ground.
The sun is as hot as the oven.

Water Country was a forest of waterslides
and a field of yummy ice cream stands.

Water Country has trees that smell like honey.
Water Country is a relaxing, sunny fun
and yummy WONDERLAND.
***

Poet: Suswara

The Forest Is the Capital of My Life

The forest is life.
Many animals, bushes, bark, and trees
belong to the forest.

It is their home, where their vines
make a beautiful sight.
The dirt beneath the animals’ feet
like smooth dog fur.

The vine of greenness.
The specks of rain.
The flower of happiness.

The forest is like a bunch of natural life
tucked in together.

The forest is where I love to be.
It is beside me and behind me.

The forest became my favorite place
when I first took a look at it.

The forest isn’t where I get to go every day.
I only go sometimes.

But still,
the forest is where I love to be.
***

Poet: Tessa

Dance Is the Soul to My Life!

Dance is the soul to my life,
elaborate, bright, and inviting
like me.

Dance has a soul.
It’s where people feel the music
and create. Everyone
has a beat.

Where we are movin’ and groovin’
we skip and jump to the beat
with lava on our feet.

The Teacher of Jazz.
The Ruler of Chackety.
The Queen of the Studio.

Dance is a painting of colorful pictures
all put together and united
to make a gallery.

Dance is where I express,
where I show my expressions
with a world of colors
so bright it sticks with you
all day and all night.

From here to there to everywhere–
ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern—
everywhere over the world.

When dance came to me
I finally felt alive.

Dance came to me,
it’s where I get to be
me.

Dance is the soul of my life.
***

Thanks to the Northfield educators and families for allowing me to share the third graders’ wonderful poems.

Posts in the “Poems from the Northfield Third Grade” 2018 series:
Poetry Friday List Poem Lesson
A Garden of Words: 3rd Grade List Poems
The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer: Odes to Place
Third Grade Odes from Northfield E.S.
Fractured Fairy Tale Poems
Poetry Friday: Once Upon a Time
A Gallery of Poems

16 responses to “The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer: Odes to Place”

  1. […] Posts in the “Poems from the Northfield Third Grade” 2018 series: Poetry Friday List Poem Lesson A Garden of Words: 3rd Grade List Poems The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer: Odes to Place […]

  2. Wow–your third-grade poets brought me to their special places with their odes. And imagine third graders would take to hyperbole like dancers with lava on their feet! (Is it possible that Tessa is really a third grader?!)

  3. Oh, what luscious details! I especially love “The vine of greenness. / The specks of rain. / The flower of happiness.” and the thought of all that nature “tucked in together.” Place is such a good poem starter!

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Through your teaching, they clearly know they can ‘write’ their passions, Laura. Each one has beautifully personal images. Love that “The Teacher of Jazz.
    The Ruler of Chackety.
    The Queen of the Studio.”

  5. Mary Lee says:

    Once again, I am amazed and inspired! I want to give Desmond a fist-bump and a high five: the pool was FOREVER the capital of my summer, and I can SO relate to his poem. I love them all, and then in Tessa’s, her willingness to bend the mentor a bit from “is the capital of” to “is the soul of.”

  6. What a beautiful mentor poem you chose. I love what your class did their poems as well. Love the comparisons of kids in the pool to crazy fish and comparing the sparkling ocean to a diamond. They are all so talented! Thank you for sharing.

  7. I am sold. These poets have convinced me I need to visit all of these places to experience their wonders. And I love the mentor poem you chose to share. It makes me want to write with it, too.

  8. Tabatha says:

    So convincing these poets are!! Vibrant poems. I like that Tessa says, “inviting like me.”
    I am with Suswara — the forest sounds good to me.

  9. Molly Hogan says:

    The seeds you planted with these third graders blossomed into beautiful fruit with these place poems. I was impressed over and over again with how they used the structure of the mentor poem and made it their own. I also visited your padlet and had a wonderful time exploring there. Such a rich resource!

  10. I liked “the flower of happiness” too! And this verse is beautiful,
    “Dance is a painting of colorful pictures
    all put together and united
    to make a gallery.”
    Such beautiful imagery they are creating, and what a rich mentor poem to begin with, thanks Laura!

  11. Man oh man, these students are TUNED IN. You must love working with them, Laura!

  12. I agree that these are all such wonderful poems – rich in imagery, texture, and feeling! They must have a wonderful teacher! Thank you, too, for sharing “Love to Langston” – this is a new-to-me picturebook, so will definitely try to find it in our library.

  13. Donna Smith says:

    Amazing work for third graders or any graders…
    PS Tell Tessa:
    “Dance came to me,
    it’s where I get to be
    me.”
    So true! I totally know what that means. Dance came to me, too!

  14. […] Third Grade” 2018 series: Poetry Friday List Poem Lesson A Garden of Words: 3rd Grade List Poems The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer: Odes to Place Third Grade Odes from Northfield E.S. Fractured Fairy Tale […]

  15. […] I’ve been doing an elementary school workshop on odes for many years. This time around, I swapped out my usual model poem and got these poets writing odes to a favorite place. The mentor for this workshop is “Harlem Is the Capital of My World,” from Tony Medina’s wonderful picture book/verse biography of Langston Hughes, LOVE TO LANGSTON. You can find the poem and links related to this lesson at my last post. […]

  16. […] Third Grade” 2018 series: Poetry Friday List Poem Lesson A Garden of Words: 3rd Grade List Poems The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer: Odes to Place Third Grade Odes from Northfield E.S. Fractured Fairy Tale Poems Poetry Friday: Once Upon a […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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