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Note To Teachers: Thank you for visiting The Haiku Foundation and for considering our Haiku Lessons. This first lesson for Grades 3 – 4 is an introduction to haiku. The second lesson is a reading lesson, and the third lesson is a writing lesson. We hope over time that haiku by your students become a part of our plans, with proper permission.

Goal: Introduce haiku to children in grades 3 – 4, in a fun way that connects with their lives.

Objective: Share one haiku with the children. This is a listening activity. As you’ll see, we provide additional poems at the end of this plan, if you would like to apply the premise of the lesson to more haiku.

Materials: Chalkboard or easel with large sheets of paper. For this Haiku Awareness plan, we feature haiku from the anthology, Montage: The Book, created and edited by Allan Burns (Winchester, VA: The Haiku Foundation, 2010, 2012).

Time: About 15 minutes.

Method:

1. Write the following haiku in large print on the board or easel.

    no wind tonight
    across this reach of prairie
    all those stars

    Billie Wilson (b. 1941)
    Gallery FortySeven: THF

2. Select a time to read and discuss the haiku with your students. We will develop the history and changing definitions of haiku as we progress through the grade levels in these plans. At this age, haiku may be defined as “a brief poem;” and the students may enjoy knowing that “haiku are the shortest poems in the world” (Jim Kacian, how to haiku).

We recognize that the reading levels of children in the grades you teach likely vary. This activity is designed to be a fun lesson for the whole group. The goal is for children to experience and enjoy the beauty of poetry, and to also give them some background for reading and writing their own haiku in future lessons.

3. Read the haiku aloud to the students slowly, two times. Here are some possible listening comprehension questions:

    Who wrote this haiku?

    What is this poem about?

    Have you seen a prairie?

    Can you imagine seeing the stars across the prairie?

    Do you look at the stars where you live?

4. Then keep the haiku on display in the room for a few weeks and read it again at different times. Allow the children to experience the poem at their own paces and reading levels.

5. As you repeat this process with new haiku, you will know how often to introduce new poems to your students. You may wish to create a handout for each poem, so children can share haiku with others.

Adaptations:

    1. Some children may be ready to read the haiku aloud for the group.

    2. Some children may wish to read the haiku to the teacher or a friend.

    3. Another idea is to plan an art activity around the poem (e.g., drawing or painting a picture).

    4. Some children may be ready to copy the haiku and write a poem of their own.

Evaluation: If the children enjoy the haiku, the lessons are a success. We hope this plan fits well with your language arts programs. We also imagine that teachers will implement our plans in different ways, according to their needs, and we look forward to your feedback.

Additional Haiku:

If you would like to repeat this lesson with more haiku, here are additional poems from Montage: The Book.

    supper cooking —
    a wind with storm in it
    comes through the wheat

    Billie Wilson (b. 1941)
    Gallery FortySeven: THF

    turning off the car radio music of the wind

    Stephen Addiss (b. 1935)
    Gallery Five: In Concert

    daffodil morning —
    looking for something
    very blue to wear

    David Cobb (b. 1926)
    Gallery FiftyOne: Halcyon Days

    migrating monarchs
    cluster along the shoreline
    thousands of wet stones

    Bruce Ross (b. 1945)
    Gallery Ten: The Anthologists

    sound of the river
    smoothing these boulders
    the wind takes it

    Dave Russo (b. 1952)
    Gallery FortySeven: THF

    pale moon the thinning of days into winter

    Billie Wilson (b. 1941)
    Gallery FortySeven: THF

    New Year’s Dawn
    light first gathers
    in the icicles

    Jim Kacian (b. 1953)
    Gallery FiftyThree: Dead of Winter

    between
    chimes of the clock
    shooting star

    Charles Trumbull (b. 1943)
    Gallery FortyTwo: Looking with the Universe

    there must be light
    where they came from —
    chestnut blossoms

    Gabriel Rosenstock (b. 1949)
    Gallery Twelve: Green Green Green

    a late oak leafs out her first word
     
    one wish . . .
    a snail’s path
    through the grass

    Mark Harris (b. 1965)
    burl (Red Moon Press, 2012). Reprinted with permission. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for visiting our Education Page. We hope it is useful and provides inspiration. We welcome your feedback!

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