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Note to Teachers: Welcome to our Education Page at The Haiku Foundation. We hope this free resource is useful to you, and we also welcome your ideas and feedback. This lesson plan focuses on general awareness of English-language haiku. Our lessons for the older grades also include reading and writing plans. If some of your students are reading now, you may wish to also consider the Grades 1 – 2 plans. Thank you.

Goal: Introduce haiku to children at an early age, in a fun way that connects with their lives.

Lesson Objective: Share one haiku with the children. This is a listening activity.

Time: 10 minutes, or longer if you wish to add other activities such as drawing a picture to go with the poem.

Materials: Large poster board or easel with large sheets of paper. Markers or crayons for writing words in a large size. You may find pictures to go with the haiku, but it is also good for children to create pictures in their minds.

The haiku in this lesson is from Presents of Mind, haiku by Jim Kacian (Winchester VA, Red Moon Press, 1996, 2006). Reprinted with permission.

It includes these words from the Dolch Pre-Primer Word List:

  • and
  • one
  • the

It includes these words from the Primer Word List:

  • out
  • white

It includes this word from the First Grade list:

  • over

Method:

1. Write the haiku in large print on a poster board or large sheet of easel paper. The chalkboard would also work well, if you have space to save the poem for a few weeks.

    • one white butterfly

 

    • out of the green woods

 

    over and over

2. Select a time to read and discuss the haiku with the children. Haiku may be defined simply as a short poem for this age group. Counting syllables is optional. This could be as a part of story time, a quiet activity after recess, a language arts or science lesson etc. The goal is for children to experience and enjoy the beauty of this genre of poetry.

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

  • What is this haiku poem about?
  • Have you ever seen a butterfly?
  • What color is the butterfly in this poem?
  • Have you seen butterflies in other colors?
  • What color are the woods?
  • What season is pictured in the haiku?
  • Why do you think the butterfly is flying out of the woods over and over?

Allow the children to answer in a factual way and/or to create a fun story about the butterfly!

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 become familiar with the haiku and to experience the poem at their own paces. Some may begin to read and/or memorize the haiku. Others may spontaneously connect the poem with nature on the playground or at home.

5. As you repeat this process with new haiku — more poems are provided at the end of this plan — you will know how often to introduce new poems to your students.

Adaptations:

1. A parent volunteer may be available to read and discuss the haiku with individual students, in order to reinforce the group work, as needed. The focus is still listening comprehension.

2. Students who are reading may wish to read the poem to a teacher, parent, or fellow student.

3. You may wish to create a handout for each poem, so children can share haiku with others. They can draw a picture to go with the poem, and their pages can also be displayed on a bulletin board.

4. For advanced students, our plans for Grades 1 – 2, which include Awareness, Reading, and Writing, may be a useful resource.

Evaluation:

At this age, if the children simply enjoy their introduction to haiku, the lesson is a success!

Additional Haiku: We conclude this Kindergarten lesson with poems from Montage: The Book (Winchester VA, The Haiku Foundation, 2010, 2012). There are many additional free resources here at The Haiku Foundation, including online Montage galleries.

We thought you might like to repeat the lesson with more poems, and you are welcome to include these or other haiku in your plans.

field of Queen Anne’s lace —
a black butterfly settles
on a stone

Charles B. Dickson
(1915-1991)
Gallery Two: Content

summer garden
the full stretch
of the hose

Connie Donleycott
(b. 1953)
Gallery Six: Songs of the Earth

The shape of clay
before
she makes it something

Gary Gay (b.1951)
Gallery Six: Songs Of The Earth

drifting snow . . .
the bakery door opens
to cinnamon

Susan Constable (b. 1943)
Gallery Seven: Midwinter Spring

a bike in the grass
one wheel slowly turning —
summer afternoon

Lee Gurga (b. 1949)
Gallery ThirtyOne: Birthdays (II)

branch to branch
the bluejay
brightens rain

Bill Pauly (b. 1942)
Gallery ThirtyThree: The Haiku Capital of the Midwest

silent dawn
the bird’s nest
full of snow

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

Thank you for visiting our Education Page at The Haiku Foundation!

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