This lesson is intended as the first in a series of a two
to three week poetry unit. I
chose to have the students write haiku poems as they are familiar
with the form, the poem is structured by the number of syllables
in each line, and they are short, three lines with a total of
seventeen syllables. I
felt that this was a great way to get the students thinking about
and writing poetry for the first time this year.
The student writes in a variety of forms for different
audiences and purposes.
The student analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of
will be able to understand the form necessary to write haiku poems
using a rhythmical pattern and free verse rhythm.
Students will have a greater understanding that writing
poetry can be non-threatening and fun activity.
A sample of four to six haiku poems, either written
on the board or copied onto a single sheet of paper with
and pen/pencil, for beginners a set of pictures distributed to the
class to help form images.
Begin the lesson by introducing the history and form
of haiku poetry. Explain
that the haiku poem uses syllabics as its form.
Syllabics are defined as a rhythmical pattern, a free verse
rhythm. Share with
the students the fact that the Japanese have written haiku poetry
for many hundreds of years.
They are often written with a particular season of the year
in mind – spring, summer, autumn, or winter and tend to focus on
nature. Often when
you get to the end of a haiku there may be a surprise.
Explain that haikus are only three lines long.
Each line has a specified number of syllables and they
total seventeen syllables, and none of the lines rhyme in Japanese
Line 1-------------5 syllables
Line 2-------------7 syllables
Line 3-------------5 syllables
Have the students read aloud the samples written on the
board. Have them clap
their hands for each syllable.
This will give the students the opportunity to hear and
feel the syllables with their ears and hands.
At this point, you might distribute pictures to the class
with a seasonal emphasis, I did not do this, and I simply asked my
students to write two or more poems using the haiku form.
Give the students 15 to 20 minutes to complete the
assignment. Then have
the students read aloud their poems for the entire class to hear.
Students read aloud their haiku poems.
Collect poems to be used as part of class anthology of
poetry, to be given to their parents as a gift, following the
As this was the first lesson in a two to three week
poetry unit, I collected all poems after the students read them
aloud. I continued
teaching various forms of poetry in the following weeks.
The students were asked to peer edit each other’s poems
after the initial writing sessions, for clarity and understanding.
I asked all students to read aloud at least one poem each
from their journals, every time we wrote poetry.
I am now in the process of having the students create a
cover for their poetry anthology, using torn paper they are to
design a mosaic, representing their feelings about their poetry
for the cover of the book. My
students will present their anthology to their parents over the
I feel this was a great way to begin my poetry unit.
The haiku poem was a simple way to use form, rhythm, and
pattern to create a free verse piece. The students did not feel threatened they seemed to enjoy the
activity and their creations were wonderful.
Although, they did not all follow the historical nature,
seasonal theme as is identified with haiku poetry, they did follow
the form and use their imaginations to create great poems.
J. & Noethe, S. (1994).
New York: Teachers
and Writers Collaborative.