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

23 responses to “School Poetry Workshop: Food and the 5 Senses”

  1. Laura, this is wonderful! I need to start a file of “Laura Shovan Poetry Lessons”. I could so use and do this in my library with kids. Thanks for what you do for the Poetry world. You make me think and dream and plan….ok, plot.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Linda. Food is something we all share. Every time I do this workshop, the students enjoy describing family favorites.

  2. Just wonderful! I’m with Linda too! Have you considered cataloging these up top? I’d love to be able to send people over to the Laura lessons! These poems are making my mouth water too…fine work, young poets.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Amy. That’s a great suggestion. I may have to get tech help to do it, but I’m going to put up a “School Poetry Workshops” tab.

  3. Irene Latham says:

    These are all wonderful! Ava’s honeylicious s’mores with their sweet crisps of marshmallow burns has me back at the family campfire… Thank you! And yes to Laura’s Lessons tab! That would be so useful! xo

  4. Tabatha says:

    All the poets really had me right there with them — great concrete details and conveying of emotion.
    I think a tab is a great idea, too 🙂

  5. I love this writing prompt, what a fun activity to help kids really think deeply about descriptive words!

  6. Linda Baie says:

    Choosing the three words must have been a lot of fun for the students, Laura. “Swish, swash, gulp!” rather covers it all, doesn’t it? Love reading each one!

  7. Love this language lesson! Will add that to my repertoire, for sure. My post this week is about collaborative haiku written by my Kindergarteners and their First Grade Buddies. I love that my pizza haiku writers used “gooey,” “crunchy,” “saucy,” and “cheesy.”

  8. These are terrific and making me hungry! Love “Honeylicious graham” and “hot chocolatey air”. Very fun and evocative.

  9. I think you know how much I love what you do in the classroom. Judging by comments alone, clearly I’m not the only one! Another notch in the poetry belt for Mrs. Poems!

  10. jama says:

    Enjoyed reading these poems; just up my alley. Great use of sensory details. Craving pizza and s’mores now!

  11. What a great strategy, Laura! They did so well!

  12. What a delicious smorgasbord of poems!

  13. “Honeylicious graham crackers,” hit the spot. Wonderful word Tanishka came up with! I think the best part is that there poetry is telling us you’ve captured their interest and attention, thanks Laura!

  14. Tara says:

    This is just such delicious fun, Laura – I can’t wait to try this with my kiddos!

  15. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    I’m drooling!

  16. […] why, for my part of the NerdCampNJ workshop, I walked teachers through the Mystery Food exercise (find it here) and shared the mentor text, “Good Hotdogs,” by Sandra […]

  17. […] Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017 School Poetry Workshop: Food and the Five Senses, May 19, […]

  18. […] Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017 School Poetry Workshop: Food and the Five Senses, May 19, 2017 School Poetry Workshop: A Second Helping of Food Poems, May 25, 2017 School Poetry […]

  19. […] Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017 School Poetry Workshop: Food and the Five Senses, May 19, 2017 School Poetry Workshop: A Second Helping of Food Poems, May 25, 2017 School Poetry […]

  20. […] 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 […]

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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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