Rat Ode

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Photo by Denzel Golatt

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Ode To

Step 1

Have the students talk to one another and write down a few people, things, objects, etc. that most people – except themselves,
consider “beneath them” or “unworthy.” Then discuss.

Step 2

Watch Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Rat Ode,” paying particular attention to the larger purpose in the poem, the point about rats that she is trying to convey.

Step 3

Tell the students that they will be writing an ode of their own, an appreciation poem toward something – much like a rat – that is typically considered “ignoble” or “unworthy.”

Step 4

Share the sample student poem “Ode to the Hot Cheetos Girls,” and discuss the similarities between the two poems.

Step 5

Break the students into groups and have them complete an ode of their own in the same style as Acevedo’s, an appreciation poem dedicated to something considered “ignoble” or “unworthy.” When students are done, ask them to share their responses.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Sound Devices

Step 1

Go over the introductory lesson if your students are not familiar with the concept of sound devices.

Step 2

Watch the following recording of Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Rat Ode.” While watching, have them pay close attention to the vowels and consonants she uses to describe the rats she is so fond of.

Step 3

As a group, discuss the “sound devices” Acevedo incorporates in her poem and discuss their literary effect, how they contribute to her appreciation of the rats she describes.

Step 4

Have the students break out in groups to complete the following chart and analyze Acevedo’s use of sound devices. Directions for the assignment are included in the document.

Step 5

Discuss their analysis as a group. Then compare their responses to the following student sample body paragraph.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Sound Devices


  • Appreciation
  • Creativity / Imagination / Writing

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Selection of Detail
  • Sound Devices
  • Tone