You Too Can Haiku

Lesson one:  Length 2 lessons 

Subject:  Social Studies, Computer Science, and E.L.A.

Goal:  Students will be able to explain information on the history of Japanese Haiku 


            Students will gain new information for future lessons on Japan and its culture.

Students will learn, by Internet research and taking notes, the location of Japan, interesting facts, and its culture.



Students will use the Internet to explore the country of Japan in order to determine

its location, resources, population and culture.

Students will use their map skills.

            Students will learn about the Japanese community

Students will be able to identify facts, ask questions, and give a response to

information that they have learned about Japan.  An F.Q.R. worksheet helps students focus their thinking as they read.


Materials:  a globe, overhead projector, photographs of Japan and its people, computer with Internet access, worksheets, markers and chart paper.


Connection:  Teacher displays several photographs of a geisha girl, Japanese scenery, and a map of the world.  The students respond to what they see and the teacher puts the responses on chart paper.


Teaching/ Demonstration:  The teacher models note-taking and documentation of information from the photographs displayed by using the Visual Thinking Strategy. The information is placed on the chart paper using different-colored markers in order to separate ideas. The teacher models by using the overhead projector and displaying information that is located on one of the website’s homepage copied onto a transparency.  Together, the students and the teacher determine important information from various passages. This information is added to the chart.


Active Involvement:  Students work in groups viewing designated Internet web pages that display information on Japan. They use an F.Q.R.  sheet and in groups they complete the sheet documenting the facts that they found, the questions that they might have about the topic, and their responses to the facts and questions that they have listed. They use their notes and worksheets in order to complete a graphic organizer that will be displayed as an anchor chart for future lessons.


Link:  The students organize their information on the topic and write a summary of their findings for homework from their notes. Thet are also given a Haiku poem to read for homework with questions to answer: What is the Haiku about? List the descriptive words. How many syllables are there in each line?  What picture does the poem make your mind?



Lesson 2: Subject :  E.L.A. ( Genre:  Poetry), Math

Goal:  Students will be able to understand the use of imagery in Haiku and use their own

vocabulary to depict imagery.

Students will learn the importance of using their listening skills as a tool to gain      information.

Students will learn to hear distinct sounds and gain the ability to discriminate between them.


Objective:  Students will understand imagery through writing.

Students will be able to locate descriptive language and words that pertain to nature.


Materials:  Chart paper, worksheet, the book Cool Melons Turn to Frogs, and samples of Haiku poetry.


Connection:  The teacher displays the cover and several pictures in the book.  This establishes the motivation for listening. The teacher discusses the things already learned about Japan, while displaying the chart of information from the prior lesson. The students share their homework, thoughts, and questions. The students and teacher list the words of feelings, time, colors, nature, and descriptive verbs. 


Teaching/ Demonstration: The teacher reads selections from the book while modeling descriptive words and imagery. A word bank is created on chart paper and the teacher reviews the amount of syllables in several words and writes the number next to the word in another color. The students use the words they located from their homework, which  are written under the proper category: feelings, colors, verbs shapes, etc. The students use kinesthetic movement by placing their hands on their chins to determine the syllables in each of the words that are on the chart. There will be a gradual release of responsibility and the students work in pairs to determine the amount of syllables in the remainder of the words. The teacher also thinks out loud about the different images that are displayed in his/her mind after hearing the words. The images are listed as well. The teacher begins to read selections from the book Cool Melons Turn To Frogs. While reading, the teacher lists the words of imagery and description on the chart. The students and teacher discuss why the words are considered imagery.


Active Involvement:  Students are given several examples of Haiku poetry and work in pairs to locate the words of description and imagery. Together in assigned roles, the students make lists of words or phrases and syllables.



Link: The students are reminded to remember the process of syllabication and are instructed to determine the amount of syllables in the words that they found as a class for homework.




Lesson Three:  Subject:   E.L.A., Poetry Math

Goal:  Students will be able to compose an original Haiku poem.

Students will use mathematical problem solving to create the haiku by determining the correct number of syllables per line.

Student will understand the literary element of imagery.

Students will discover that all poetry does not rhyme.


Objective: Students review the words located on the chart from the prior lesson.

                  Students will generate a list of personal words to use in their poems.

                  Students will be able to compute the number of syllables in each word in order     

      to calculate the correct amount of syllables per line.

                 Students will compose an original Haiku by using the Haiku website with the

                 drop down menus.  


Materials:  An overhead projector, anchor chart, samples of Haiku poems, computer with Internet service, paper for notes.


Connection: The teacher sprays the room with a springtime air freshener. The students close their eyes and a discussion begins about the scent, the feelings that the scent might illicit, and together they brainstorm ideas that will be listed on a chart paper.


Teaching/Demonstration:  The teacher thinks out loud with eyes closed and imagines walking through the woods, lying on the grass, walking in the rain, etc.  S/he writes the thoughts and adds them to the list on the chart. The teacher uses the overhead projector to demonstrate the writing of a Haiku by using the words from the chart. The teacher composes the haiku from the list of words, making sure the first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the third line has 5 syllables. Throughout the writing the teacher is thinking out loud and demonstrating the ideas of the writing as well as the correct number of syllables per line (problem solving). The teacher then demonstrates the use of the Haiku website. The students are reminded that each category has special features. First line: Adjective/ Noun, Second line: Verb/Preposition/Noun, and Third line: Season or Time of year/Descriptive word. The poem is copied onto paper to use for the next lesson.


Active Involvement:  The students begin work on composing a Haiku. As the teacher confers with the students, h/she discusses the amount of syllables in the words that they chose, as well as the part of grammar that it represents. The mathematical computation is also reinforced.


Link:  The students gather and share their poems. The teacher points out the various features of each poem and discusses the importance of using the senses when composing a Haiku. The number of syllables in each line is reviewed as the students take notes using their listening skills. The students are instructed to write another Haiku for homework by using their notes.





Lesson Four:  Subject:  Computer Science, E.L.A. and Art.


Goal:  Students will be able to illustrate their Haiku poem.

            Students will be able to apply an image to their poem.


Objective:  The students will type and illustrate their Haiku poem by using the “Kid Pix”

                    computer application.

                    The students will use the following icons: stamp pad, paintbrush, typewriter,

                    and eraser.


Materials:  Overhead projector, computer with “Kid Pix “application, Haiku poems that were created in the prior lessons.


Connection:  The teacher revisits the book Cool Melons Turn To Frogs. While doing a picture walk through the book, the teacher instructs the students to pay attention to the illustrations. Students engage in accountable talk regarding the pictures, and the teacher listens in on the conversations and takes notes.  When students are done, the teacher points out some of the interesting things that he/she heard the students discussing.


Teaching/Demonstration:  The teacher places on the overhead projector a Haiku poem that was written in the previous lesson and thinks out loud about the image that the poem makes in h/his mind and what features of the application would best represent the Haiku that was being illustrated. The teacher asks the students to explore the menus of the application and request responses as to what other features would work with the Haiku.  The teacher then applies the features together with the students on their computers and circulates to assess each student’s choices.


Active Involvement:  The students take out their written Haiku from the prior lesson. It could be the one designed using the drop-down menu or another Haiku that they have written. The teacher circulates as the children create and design their poems. When the students feel that they have the proper design, they print out the poem.


Link:  When the students are done with their designs, they answer these questions:  Why did you choose the illustrations that you used?  What was the image that you wanted the reader to see in their mind? How did the poem make you feel?




Follow-up:  The Haikus that were composed will be used to create a slide show presentation. 


Assessment:  Students are assessed throughout the unit in the following areas. 1. Participation during discussions. 2. Correct Haiku format.  3. Understanding of imagery.  4. Utilization of listening skills.





Internet Resources:




Black Swan/White Crow.  By Lewis J. Partrick.    Atheneum, 1995

The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology.   Dover Publications, Dover Thirft Edition, 1996.

Cool Melons - Turn to Frogs: The Life and Poems of Issa.  Edited by Matthew Gollub,
illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone and Keiko Smith.
  Lee and Low Books, 1998.  

Cricket Never Does: A Collection of Haiku and Tanka
.    By Myra Cohn Livingston. 
Illustrated by Kees De Kiefte.  Margaret McElderry, 1997.