Ode to Small Towns

by Tyree Daye

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Small Towns

Step 1

Ask your students, “Have any of you lived in a small town? Or visited one? Drove through? What were its charms?” Discuss.

Step 2

Read “Ode to Small Towns” by Tyree Daye. When you’re done, briefly discuss the poem. How does the speaker feel toward small towns? Why? Ask them to pull specific examples from the poem.

Step 3

Say, “Choose a small town you’re familiar with and jot down everything about it that makes it “charming.” If you cannot think of a specific small town, think of another place, item, idea, etc. that holds the same kind of connections or nostalgia to you.” Then give your students a few minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Ask your students to compose a poem similar in style to “Ode to Small Towns” in which they express their appreciation toward a small town (or something of similar sentimental value).

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Start by showing your students the following image. Have them briefly describe it. What emotions does it elicit? Why?

Step 3

Ask your students about the “charm” of small towns. Why may one feel a certain sense of connection to “old towns”? Discuss.

Step 4

Read “Ode to Small Towns” by Tyree Daye aloud to your students. As they are reading, ask them to pay particular attention to the speaker’s attitude toward small towns.

Step 5

When you’re done, briefly discuss the poem. What is the speaker’s attitude? What lines in the poem reflect this attitude? Why?

Step 6

Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to create images based off of specific lines from the poem and discuss how the image reflects the same attitude, feelings, or sentiment of the speaker. When you’ve gone over the directions, give your students time to work.

Step 7

When they are done, have a few volunteers share their images with the rest of the class. Then ask the class to discuss the images. How do the images reflect or reinforce the emotions of the speaker?

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Appreciation
  • Children / Youth
  • Class
  • Community / Culture
  • Death / Grief
  • Family
  • History
  • Home / Homelessness
  • Love

Literary Tags

  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone