Be the Poet
Students draft their own examples of Haiku poetry.
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Students will apply what they have learned about Haiku poetry, and follow the basic rules to develop their own poetry. Using a Haiku organizer, students will identify the dominant impression, seasonal theme, and mood of their poetry. The timing may need to be flexible. Plan on a minimum of two class periods to work on the poetry and one period to create presentation folders.
- Employ relevant pre-writing strategies and organizational techniques
- Identify literary elements, such as mood and dominant impression
- Apply knowledge to create Haiku poetry
- Create appropriate visual presentations
- Haiku Organizer (PDF)
- Haiku examples (the Haiku Book List features traditional Japanese Haiku, as well as modern examples of the form)
- 11- x 17-inch sheets of paper to make presentation folders, two per student
- Glue or staplers
- Art supplies
Set Up and Prepare
- Make a class set of the Haiku Organizer (PDF).
- Prepare an original Haiku to model.
- Prepare a presentation folder to model. Staple or glue two pieces of 11 x 17-inch paper together on three sides, creating a pocket for writing paper. The folder can be decorated with Japanese symbols, drawings, magazine clippings, Haiku and Haiku themes, clip art, etc.
Part I (Days One or Two)
Step 1: Review information learned from the previous lessons.
Step 2: Distribute copies of the Haiku Organizer (PDF).
Step 3: Explain to the class that they are to work through the steps on the organizer to determine the mood, dominant impression, and seasonal word to write eight Haiku poems about a theme of their choosing.
Step 4: Brainstorm possible themes. Students may need help with choosing a theme, so ask for ideas and compile a list on the board. Students can chose one of the suggested themes, or come up with their own idea. Some suggested themes: sports, animals, school, family, friendship, war, nature, technology, loneliness, and food.
Step 5: Model the step-by-step writing of a Haiku using the graphic organizer. It might be helpful to read more examples. As you read the poetry, have students count the syllables, and discuss the mood, impression and seasonal word. Model the teacher-created Haiku on the board, or overhead. Show how you chose the elements for your Haiku by working through the organizer. Demonstrate that it might be necessary to reword lines to fit the syllable pattern. For example: “Mosquitoes at twilight” can become “Mosquitoes at dusk” to fit a 5-syllable line.
Part III (Days 3 or once the majority of the class has finished their poetry)
Step 1: Present a model of the Presentation Folder to the class. This should include the completed Haiku poems and the Haiku Organizer (PDF).
Step 2: Students create presentation folders for their work. They should decorate the outside of the folder with drawings that represent the theme, or anything pertaining to Haiku and Samurai.
Step 3: Students may present their work to the class on a special Japanese culture day. Ideas for this are endless, some that work well are:
- Food: Something simple like rice with chopsticks is great, or go all out with a cultural buffet.
- Music: set the mood with Asian soundtracks.
- Decorations and clothing: set a festive mood, or choose a theme from Japanese history.
- Leave your shoes at the door and sit on the floor!
Supporting All Learners
Struggling writers can be given a shorter assignment with writing prompts on the graphic organizer. ESL students can write poems in their first language, and tell the class what it means in English.
Now that you’ve mastered Haiku, try your hand at Senryu.
Display the work for a parent night and then send the folder home for a keepsake.
- Use the Haiku Organizer (PDF) to develop a theme and write 8 Haiku poems
- Prepare a folder to present the completed poems and organizer
Assessment of the assignment is based on completion of the writing activity by following the directions, completion of the presentation folder, and use of the graphic organizer. For this assignment, it may be more productive to grade based on participation rather than the quality of poetry.
- What can I add overall to the Haiku lesson to improve meaning to my class?
- What classroom management problems occurred during the lessons, and how can these be solved?
- Was the method of assessment valid and fair to all students?
- How should I modify the lesson to meet the needs of all my students?