Insect Petting Zoo!

TEAM Englewood – Week 11

So, we took a break from having a model text this week, as the students had read and seen many poems at this point, and we did something very special.  I am a member of the University of Illinois Extension’s Master Gardener program, which volunteers to help educate the public on all things garden-related.  Of course, one of the things you must get comfortable with if you’re going to garden is bugs.  So they have an Insect Petting Zoo they send out for workshops, which includes a bunch of giant African millipedes, two Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and one rose-haired tarantula (named Rosie).  I had the youth meet them, hold them, be scared of them, and I shared different facts about them.  Then we wrote them these Bug Odes.

It was so awesome to see all of the kids light up and press in to see the bugs.  There was always one or two super brave students who dove right in to handle the bugs with care and enthusiasm, the majority of the class being more cautious, and one or two kids who would stay in the very back of the room and not even come close, periodically hiding their faces behind things.  Regardless, it was great being able to combine science education and poetry like this – showing the youth that we can write about the things we actually experience.

Ms. Dube – 9th grade
5th Period

Jerale C.

you got a million legs
why you got to poop on me
when I pick you up? that’s
Ion want to touch you
If I touch you
I might drop you
then I got to stomp you
all because
you wanted to boo boo

“Rosey I am Afraid”
Namen S.

Rosey, I am afraid
I wouldn’t touch you unless
I have 1 can of Raid
I didn’t want to hold you
I didn’t want you to bite me
I thought about it once
I thought about it twice
Tsss umm…no. I’m
still not going to hold you

“The Cockroach”
Kierra W.

The cockroach was hissing and
then when we turned away
they was kissing
making love
doing that bug to but s***
ya know?
getting down so low
to the ground
I wanted to barf it
was so harsh. It wasn’t
school appropriate
I looked over and everybody
started choking on it.

Ms. Dube – 9th grade
7th Period

“Dear Rosey”
Ny’Quan M.

Dear Rosey,
thank you for terrifying everyone
thank you for peeing on Tangier
thank you for scaring Jawaun
Thank you for pooping on Robbie

“Ode To Rosy”
Tangier M.

who ever knew it
would come to this? I
would get close to you
like a little puppy. Who ever
knew I would touch you
like a book with definitions and
words in it – and like it. Who ever knew
we would have laughs together
like best friends. Who ever knew
you would pee on my hand? Who
ever knew I would like you
with your fur on my skin? But I know
I want you to come back
and be my friend.

“Dear Rosy”
Jawaun M.

Dear Rosy,
I thought you were all warm and cozy
I thought I was going to squish you
and then everybody was going
to miss you. You were too hairy
so I didn’t kiss you. You were
creeping me out so I almost
threw you. I never
touched a roach before
but I did squish one
on the floor.

Ms. Dube – 9th grade
8th Period

“Dear Milli”
Kiesha M.

Dear Milli,
you are my hundred leg friend
you curl
just like my hair
just amazing
O millipede
my dearest milli
you made my day

“Hissing Cockroach”
Cathy S.

Hissing Cockroach,
why do I hate you
so much? It’s like
you are so big and
nasty. Wouldn’t no
one like you as a
house pet. You would
crawl and get into
anything. You are
my nightmare. There
are too many of you.
I wouldn’t want to
see you for the rest
of my life.

“Tarantula, Tarantula”

Tarantula, tarantula
I was terrified of you like
a kid is terrified of a monster. Before
I held you
I was so scared. I thought
you was a nightmare
but then I found out
you couldn’t harm me.

Now I like you
like the sun loves the sky
I like you like
a fat kid loves cakes.
I like you so much that
I want to hold you all day
and take you to the park.



“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.