Ingredients of a Prize-winning Poem

The pleasure was all mine to meet students in Ms. Manning’s classroom for our first residency sessions.  The fourth graders were attentive and curious, as we read and talked about some of the items from Gwendolyn Brooks‘s “Little Lessons.” There are 20 “Little Lessons,” in all, one of which is:
“(6) Keep a diary. Your diary can inspire you to write new poems, later on.”
Because students have begun keeping “seed journals,” we discussed those as diaries that can be used to capture ideas, questions, observations, and vocabulary.

Fifth graders were eager to get started because they enjoyed their residency with Fullamusu Bangura last year, and they shared some of what they’d learned. “Little Lessons” was also discussed, and then we went on an unexpected adventure after reading Gwendolyn Brooks’s suggestion about holding poetry contests. We wondered how a winning poem would be chosen? I asked What would be the ingredients of a prize-winning poem? Keep reading to find how some students responded!

Ms. Manning
5th Grade

Ingredients for a Prize-Winning Poem

Goodness A.

1/2 cup of Emotions
a dash of Energy
Thinly sliced Idioms
2 cups of Metaphors
5 teaspoons of Action
1/2 cup of Drama

Directions:  On a clean prize-winning poem lay the thinly sliced idioms and add a dash of energy. After that, fry it and then add the 1/2 cup of drama and 2 cups of metaphors. Let it sit  and season with  the 1/2 cup of emotions. After that add the 5 teaspoons of action and then when you are done add a pinch of rhythm and put it in the oven for 15 mins. at 350 degrees until crisp.


Yamarion G. suggests:

Two teaspoons of words
Three cups of rhythm
1/2 cup of emotion
Two and a half cups of energy
A sprinkle of mysterious
Thinly sliced idioms
Cooked drama
A stir of affection
Seasoned extensions
Dash of surprise

Directions: sharpen pencil, write different ways of your poem before it’s done then once it’s done add the drama and sprinkle of action and you’ve done well!


Cambria H. suggests:

1/2 pint of Emotions
Pint of Energy

Season with dashes of Rhythm
1 gallon of Metaphors
Sauce made of Similes
1 tbsp of Action
8 cups of Drama
Bake the Idioms
Mix the extension with eggs

Pots and pans, bowls (to make the simile sauce), Blender (to blend  the emotions with the veggies), Knife (To chop up the emotions), Seasoning (To season the drama with broccoli). After seasoning the Drama, place it in the oven to 350 and leave the Drama in for 30 minutes. While the Drama is cooking, get the emotions and veggies you just chopped up into a pan and cook it for about 3 minutes.  After that, put that aside and get some Ranch and Buffalo sauce and mix it up until it gets to a beige color and after that put the veggies you just cooked in the sauce. After getting the drama out of the oven set it aside so it can cool. And now that your Drama and Simile sauce is done you can now enjoy it with your friends and family!








“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.