Wednesday, 25 May 2016

We’re wrapping things up at Northfield Elementary. Our third and final poetry workshop focused on odes.

Tone is a difficult literary concept. The website Literary Devices defines it this way: “Tone, in written composition, is an attitude of a writer toward a subject or an audience. Tone is generally conveyed through the choice of words or the viewpoint of a writer on a particular subject.” The interesting thing about odes is this: they are so focused, even over-the-top, in praising their subject that their use of tone is obvious. For this reason, the ode is a great poetic form for teaching young writers about tone.

I recently guest-posted at Woven Tale Press online literary magazine about using odes in the classroom. You can read the article here.

Our mentor text for this workshop was Gary Soto’s poem, “Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes.” (Read the poem at Scholastic.) The Northfield third grade poets took off their own shoes, so they’d have something tactile to praise and celebrate in their odes. Having an object to work with helped the students build on the sensory imagery we used in our previous workshop.

One of the things we worked on in our odes was hyperbole. See if you can spot at least one hyperbole in each of today’s poems.

Ode to Greta’s Shoes
By Greta S.

Thank you, athletic shoes. You make
me feel like I am walking on a cloud.
When I am on a secret mission, you keep
me quiet, so no one can hear me. Sometimes
I don’t appreciate the smell you have — a rotten
egg sitting in my lunch box for two years.
Thank you for the look of a
gray and pink sunrise on a school day
morning. Thank you for being my
favorite shoes.


Ode to Shoes
By Ariyana M.

As old and worn as they are,
I can’t live without them.
They still aren’t even at their first birthday!
Oh, the shine! Too bright!
Now dull brown, they carry me silently
and plead squeakily for baths occasionally.
Why, oh why, can’t shoes grow with you?
Why does my mom grow roses?
Life isn’t fair,
but you are about as fair as it gets!


Ode to My Shoes
By Cate J.

Shoes! Oh, shoes. How I love you so.
You look like the shimmering waves
crashing onto the beach.
You smell of sweat
from the hot summer days we have played together.
You fee so supporting, always there for me.
You  helped me trudge
up the rockiest of Montana’s mountains,
carried me over theme parks,
and helped me run faster than a cheetah.
Without you, my speed would be
as slow as a snail.
Why, oh why, is there not
Shoe Day.


Oh, Shoes
By Sami J.

Oh, Shoes
I couldn’t
live without
you. You look
like a black
cat snooping
into the
moonlight. You
smell like
soil with
a plant in
you. You
feel like
on a
cloudy day.
You sound
like the
All the places
I have been
with you like
New Jersey.
Oh, Shoes
what would
I do without
you? I would
be lost trying
to find you.
I would not
have fun
without you.
Oh, Shoes, what
would I do
without you?


Untitled Ode
By Griffin R.

My shoes looks like the eye
of the tiger. My shoe smells like
they’re old school, but wise
and respected. My shoe feels like
a thick butterfly net. My shoes sounds like
it’s playing Tic Tac Toe. Without
my shoe, my feet can’t be clean.


Thanks to the Northfield community for allowing me to share the students’ writing. I’ll post more shoe odes from third grade tomorrow.

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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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