Coming up next week is NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH WEEK, October 15- 19. Who knew there was a whole week dedicated to the celebration of meals in the school cafeteria? And what a great opportunity to share one of my favorite poems, “School Cafeteria” by Douglas Florian (from Bing, Bang, Boing; Harcourt, 1994). I love it because the kids love it and every time I share it, it brings the house down. In addition, it’s a poem you can literally sing. Try it to the tune of “99 Bottles of Beer” and sing the last line with exaggerated slowness. It’s absolutely hilarious! Just one note of caution: I was told that some cafeteria staff did not find it as funny as I did. So beware. Remind them that most school-related poems exaggerate the negative qualities of school life, teachers, tests, lessons, etc. and it’s children’s outlet for dealing with their own stresses and anxieties. Then buy a cookie in the lunch line and smile!
by Douglas Florian
Nothing is drearier than my school cafeteria-
The food there is really the pits.
The bread is as hard as a brick in a yard;
The cake is all crumbled to bits.
The rotten old cheeses can give you diseases;
The pudding is rancid and runny.
And if you should dare to bite into a pear,
The taste is so bad it's not funny.
The chicken and rice are served cold as ice;
The soups could send groups to the nurse.
The carrots and peas make you whimper and wheeze;
The broccoli comes with a curse.
The pizza, I'm told, is covered with mold;
The salad is pallid and stale.
The dried-out roast beef fills your belly with grief;
They're taking the cook off to jail.
The citrus fruit cup will make you throw up;
The cookies are made out of clay.
The mere thought of lunch
Makes my weak stomach scrunch-
But it's still the best part of the day.
This week's Poetry Roundup is at Two Writing Teachers.
Picture credit: www.johnnyamerica.net