Activity Friday: Produce and Poetry

August 09, 2013 | Written By:

Produce and Poetry from Fit to Learn!

This week, teachers wrapped up summer training sessions for Fit to Learn, a professional development program that helps them integrate nutrition and fitness into everyday subjects, while meeting state standards.

Chicago Public Schools requires nutrition education at all grade levels, including high school in at least two academic subjects. Here’s one exciting idea for incorporating nutrition education into classroom learning: Use poetry to get the creative juices flowing and promote healthy eating at all grade levels.

“Produce & Poetry” unit

1) Choose 2-4 poems (appropriate for the reading level of students) about a fruit, vegetable or other food item.

2) Create activities around the study of your poem and food item. For example, have students write their own poems about the fruit or vegetable, or get inspired by poems from favorite authors.

3) Have a mini tasting and ask students to write and describe using different poetic devices, such as imagery, alliteration, or everyone’s favorite, onomatopoeia (the “CRUNCH!” of an apple skin or “SQUISH!” of a tomato).

4) Go back to the original poem. Does the real taste of the food compare to the author’s description? Try a compare-contrast assignment!

The possibilities are endless!  Some examples of good poems are excerpted here:

1) Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms”

“From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the boy

at the bend in the road where we turned toward   

signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer…”

2) Pablo Neruda, “Ode to a Tomato”

“The street

filled with tomatoes



light is





its juice


through the streets.

In December,


the tomato


the kitchen,

it enters at lunchtime,


its ease

on countertops,

among glasses,

butter dishes,

blue saltcellars.

It sheds

its own light,

benign majesty.”

3) William Carlos Williams, “This is Just to Say”

“I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold”

For more great ideas and resources throughout the school year, Fit to Learn can check out our Pinterest page.

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