Thanks to Buffy Silverman for hosting Poetry Friday this week. Stop by Buffy’s Blog for all of this week’s poetry links.

Happy Poetry Friday! I’m saying goodbye to Northfield Elementary School this week. For the past month, I’ve been conducting a poetry residency with the school’s third grade.

At the bottom of this post, I’m sharing a gallery of some of the poetry displays. The kids outdid themselves this year!

Our final workshop was on persona poems. You’ll find lesson details in my recent posts, linked at the bottom of this page. Let’s get straight to the poetry!

In Erin’s poem, I see an imaginative leap when an unexpected character enters the poem, adding tension to the story.

Poet: Erin A.

Hello, my name is Bob. I am
47 years old. I live in Florida
and love lamb. Today, I got a promotion
and raise. My family will be so
happy. I have two boys, a wife,
and a pet puppy. My family was
very happy, even my puppy.
It went better
than I expected.
We went outside
for dinner.
But suddenly,
my big brother came.
I knew
he was going
to make fun
of me. But
he didn’t. He said
very good things
about me. Right
at that moment
I felt really special.


Here is the updated poem, on display at our celebration.

Eva’s poem also has a moment where something unexpected happens.

Poet: Eva L.

Spring Day

It was a new spring day
on the field, many dandelions on the ground.
A little boy ran to the field.
He picked up a full dandelion.
He was thinking, let me make more
seeds for spring.
Maybe if I do that will I be a
spring hero.
The boy went to blow the dandelion.
Then a big wind just blew the dandelion.
The little boy worried the dandelion
is not blown by him.
Will he be a spring hero?
Or dandelion seeds not grow?
All will see in the next spring.


Alex wrote our only non-human persona poem this year. This one made me laugh! Wow — that’s some clever use of onomatopoeia.

Poet: Alex K.

I am a cat.
I have brown and black fur.
Hands pick me up!
Save me—ow!
My eyes glisten with unhappiness!
Put me down!
Get away.
You’re licking me!
Weird lady, get away!
She puts me down.
I scramble to hide.
Where do I hide?
An empty bowl?
I get in it and wait
‘til she finds me.


Miah’s poem is has an air of mystery. I feel sad for the character she created, who loves to play with friends, but seems to be struggling at home.

Poet: Miah A.

A child playing with friends,
laughing and active.
Playing until the moon meets.
Feeling happiness in all the other children.
Always active,
never resting.
Loudness disturbs Mom’s quiet time.
Waves goodbye, in her blue eyes,
they shine today, with the friendship.
But Jessie couldn’t do her homework.
Mom did not rest. They got mad,
but I just smiled.


I had a chance to hear Claire perform this poem for visitors today. She did a great job imagining what it might feel like to be a college student.

Poet: Claire D.

I like my friends Sarah,
Stella, and Lisa in college.
They are so kind. But especially I love…
MY UNIVERSITY! It’s beautiful.
It has good education and kind teachers.
When I read the books in the library
I feel I am part of the story.
But when I feel the potions
in Chemistry, it feels tickly on my fingers.
But I just love the people. They wave. They laugh,
which makes me feel like I belong.


Now for a quick photo gallery!

Haiku by Kevin Z.

Food poem by Abby W.

Thanks again to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share students’ persona poems.


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

School 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 Workshop: Persona Poems, May 30, 2017
School Poetry Workshop: Creating a Character, June 1, 2017

20 responses to “School Poetry Workshop: Poetry Celebration!”

  1. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    Erin and Eva really nailed it. Third Grade!!! Wow. But also wow to what happens when kids are released from the obligation to rhyme or write in a form. Powerful teaching must have happened here! (winkwink)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Mary Lee, I love this exercise. Having a photograph or portrait to look at is important. It shakes the poet out of “what do I want to write about?” and into the space of imagining who the person in the picture is.

  2. These are delightful! That first poem absolutely made me smile. We’re never too old to worry about our siblings making fun of us! 😉

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Wasn’t that amazing? You can almost see the moment when Erin leaps into imagining a history for Bob.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I like that each one shows a unique flavor, Laura. Clearly, you’ve empowered them that there doesn’t have to be a pattern. And the haiku, love those illustrated potstikers!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Ms. Scavo’s class in particular got very creative with how they displayed their poems. The potsticker poem is so inventive. I love it!

  4. Oh, Erin! What an image of Bob! I’m so intrigued by the poets here. And, of course….Claire has completely stolen my heart with “When I read the books in the library
    I feel I am part of the story.”
    Thanks for making poetry vital to kids. You are doing so much GOOD… are the spring hero.

  5. Oh these third graders! Love their imagination and their ability to step in someone else’s shoes (or paws.) Potions in chemistry that tickle the fingers? That’s a school worth aiming for!

  6. What delicious fun. I want a potsticker now. 🙂

  7. Laura, it is so exciting to see young poets experimenting with form, twists, and turns. I have to say that Alex K. has an adorable ending. It made me smile because it is probably exactly what a 3rd grader would think. The others are wonderful too but I thought a shine a light on Alex as the non-human persona writer. I am sure that the children’s teacher is delighted with what you brought to the children.

  8. Molly Hogan says:

    What fun to see all this student poetry! It’s tough to pick a favorite but I did have to laugh at the cat-licking lady in Alex’s poem. It reminded me that I’d just read about cat-brushes that are shaped like tongues for people to bite on and then use to groom their cats. (In the category of: What will they think of next!?!) Wonder if that’s what he was thinking about…

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I read about that! Hard to believe it’s real. As one of my FB friends pointed out, when we kiss our cats, they must think we’re attempting to lick them. Weird!

  9. Fabulous! Love this work. And potstickers? YUM!!!!! What lucky students to have this experience to work with you.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      This is a wonderful school. It’s hard to believe we’ve been working together for 11 years!

  10. I have enjoyed reading the poems by these third graders. They are already amazing poets with their observations, imagination and word play. Thank you for sharing your experiences with them.

  11. A rich collection of poems from these up-and-coming young poets, thanks for sharing them with us Laura. They each took on this persona poem task in a grand way!

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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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