Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Welcome back to Northfield Elementary School!

The third grade poems started our residency with list poems. (You’ll find a link to those poems at the bottom of this page.)

Now that we’ve spent some time thinking about word choice and playing with rhythm, we are moving on to one of my favorite poetry workshops: food poems.

Donut stand at the Shuk, the Mehane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem.

In this lesson, the poets focus on incorporating imagery of the five senses into a food-related memory. You can find the full lesson here. I use Sandra Cisneros’ poem “Good Hotdogs” as a mentor text.

Howard County is home to Northfield ES and it’s where I make my home, too. This is a diverse community, with first, second, and third generation American children. I love seeing that experience reflected in their poems.

In Nahyun’s poem, the first taste of a new food is a funny memory.

Ice Cream
By Nahyun K.

So many flavors
I don’t know what to choose.
I finally decided.
Cherry ice cream
From the ice cream truck.
My first ice cream from America.
One minute later,
Ice cream melting.
Dropping to my hand
Ice cream scoop getting smaller.
Smaller and smaller.
Me and my mom getting confused.
My hand is sticky like a
Double sided tape.
Ice cream turned to flavored water
And me trashing the flavored water
into the trash can
Bye bye my first ice cream.


Often, I share with the poets that a poem’s final few lines are the last impression that the reader will take away. The finale of T. J.’s poem about a food tradition takes that to heart.

The Snack Stand
By T. J. C.

After every baseball game,
I enjoy the delicious taste of a hot dog and fries.
I taste the spice from Old Bay on my fries.
I hear the cashier say, “One hot dog, one fry!”
When I touch the hot dog, it’s as smooth as can be.
I get super happy!
When I see the hot dog, it looks so yummy!
I can’t forget the smell, so sweet and hot!
My dad then orders, and we enjoy our food.
We eat ‘til the sun is setting.
Then we leave, with a memory.


On the day we did food poems, Eleanor’s father joined us and wrote his own food memory poem. It was really fun to hear father and daughter read their work together. If you’d like to learn more about this food, here is a recipe for Palačinky.

Palačinky Day
By Eleanor C.

Hooray, hooray,
It’s Palačinky day.
Soft tender bread
Thick creamy chocolate spread
Smiling ear to ear
Sizzling sound all I hear
Mom is proud
I express my love of this food loud
Mom and Dad
Rowan and Alasdair
And me
As happy as can be
Smell the batter
See the food
When it’s a day like this
Everyone’s in the mood.
Whip cream’s fallin’ off
No one cares.
Feel the whipped cream
Smeared on my cheeks
It’s my wish
That every dinner would be like this
But no
This night is rare.
Now I gotta get whipped cream out of my hair.


We go through a lot of cereal at my house (Honey Nut Cheerios is our favorite).  What wonderful observations in Tommy’s poem. Who doesn’t feel good when the theme song of our favorite TV show comes on?

That Tasty Cereal
by Tommy S.

Running through the door.
Kicking my shoes off.
My feet stink,
But I don’t care.
I get a running start,
Heading for the couch.
My mom knew what to do.
She got the bowl and the milk.
As she’s making my favorite,
I take a big jump onto the couch.
I grab the remote.
I put on my favorite show.
I rub the smooth buttons on the remote.
I listen to the theme song.
It makes my day every time.
I check to see if it’s there.
Guess what? It’s there.
I crash onto the chair.
I scoot in and take a bite.
Mmm mmm mmm
That tasty cereal.


The energy of Isaac’s poem caught my attention. Repetition is a tool we talked about for our list poems and he makes great use of incorporating it into his food poem.

By Isaac L.

Dunkin Donuts here we go!
Grama, Dad, Mom, sister, and of course me,
Waiting to get a taste!
Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and more!
One bite. Crunch.
Two bites. Yum.
Three bites. And full!
Our bellies full, and we got some taste.
Now we should get a rest.


Alara and one of her classmates were kind enough to speak with their class about Ramadan. I am learning from my friend and co-author Saadia Faruqi that children with this tradition are excited to fast during Ramadan, along with their parents, families, and community. Younger children like Alara enjoy participating by fasting on the weekends, when they’re not in school.

By Alara K.

When it’s time to fast,
I get so excited.
On the weekends I fast,
Even though I want to fast every day
Getting up for sahir
And eating my breakfast.
Finally,the sun rises
At 4:00 am.
We can no longer eat
until Iftar.
When Iftar comes,
We realize we had no problems during the day
We eat some dates,
Then eat our dinner
Finally,the day is done.
We do this for 30 more days.
We had a great time,
And now Ramadan is over.


Thanks to the Northfield community for allowing me to share the third graders’ poems!

For more of this year’s student poems, please check out:
Poems from Third Grade, Part 1 — List Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)

2 responses to “Poems from Third Grade, Part 3”

  1. […] classes) Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes) Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes) Poems from Third Grade, Part 4 — […]

  2. […] classes) Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes) Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes) Poems from Third Grade, Part 4 — […]

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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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