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Note to Teachers: Thank you for taking the time to visit our Haiku Lesson Plans for Grades 1 – 2. The first plan for this age level focuses on Awareness of haiku poetry. You may wish to teach this plan first. The next lesson is a writing lesson. We hope that haiku by your students become part of our plans here on THF site in the future, and that being published here is a further encouragement to your classes.

Goal: To show beginning comprehension of haiku at the child’s reading level.

Lesson Objective: To show understanding of a haiku poem through listening and reading along with the teacher, silently and aloud (if the child volunteers); and participating in a class discussion.

Time: 15 minutes, or more if you wish to ask the children to illustrate the haiku.

Materials: Easel, poster board, or chalkboard.

The haiku in this first part of the lesson is from Presents of Mind, haiku by Jim Kacian (Winchester VA, Red Moon Press, 1996, 2006). Reprinted with permission. Jim Kacian is the Founder and Director of The Haiku Foundation.

It includes these words from the Dolch Pre-primer list:

  • the
  • and

It includes this word from the Primer list:

  • on

It includes this word from the Third Grade list:

  • long

It includes these words from the Dolch Noun list:

  • snow
  • (snow and snowman in the poem)

  • man
  • (snowman in the poem)

The poem also repeats some words, to help early readers feel confident (the, snow, falls).


1. Write the following haiku in large letters on an easel, poster board, or chalkboard. Include the author’s name, so students can begin to imagine signing their own work in the future.

    snow falls
    and falls on the snowman
    the long night
    —Jim Kacian

2. Tell the students that this haiku was written by Jim Kacian. For this age group, haiku may be defined as a “short poem.” Counting syllables is optional.

3. Read the haiku to the children aloud, at a slow pace. Then read the poem a second time. Haiku teach the value of each word, each punctuation mark (if any), and each line, in a poem. At this age, the idea is to simply model these poetic values. You may wish to point to the words as you read them, or underline in some way one line of the poem at a time.

4. Then ask the children to read the haiku with you a third time, in unison. If a child is not comfortable reading aloud in a group, we suggest that reading along silently is fine, since the goal is early reading comprehension of haiku.

5. Discuss the poem with the children, including any new vocabulary words. Possible questions are:

Who wrote this haiku?

What season is it in the poem?

What is the poet seeing?

Have you ever made a snowman?

Can you picture in your mind the snow falling on the snowman?

Does the night feel long to you in winter? Why?

6. Keep the haiku on display in the room, and informally, ask the children to read it again silently or aloud, and share their thoughts. Allow them to experience the poem at their own paces and reading levels. One of the characteristics of haiku is that the reader completes the poem with the poet. Said another way, haiku are written to encourage reader participation.

7. Repeat the lesson with additional haiku, according to the pace that is right for your class.


1. Confident readers may wish to volunteer to read the haiku for the class.

2. Other children may wish to read the poem aloud to the teacher or one other student at another time, if not comfortable in a group setting. However, comprehension, not reading aloud fluently, is the goal of this lesson.

3. Children can also show comprehension through drawing a picture of the haiku. The child’s imagination may go beyond the poem to include his/her experiences that relate to the poem.

4. Students who are ready to begin writing can copy and illustrate the haiku.

5. Some children may also be ready to read haiku from the “Additional Haiku” section which concludes this plan.

Evaluation: Provide positive and corrective feedback in an informal way. The major goal is for children to enjoy haiku and feel successful as young readers.

Additional Haiku:

The following three poems are also from Presents of Mind. This book is out of print, and the author/publisher welcomes you to use the poems in your lessons.

gentle rain
the new seedbed
smoothed over


      Pre-primer: the
      Primer: new
      First grade: over
      Noun list: rain, seed, bed

a sunflower
bows its head
the long summer


      Pre-primer: a, the
      Second grade: its
      Third grade: long
      Nouns: sun, flower, head

mid-day lull
the whole of the garden
one bee loud


      Pre-primer: the, one
      First grade: of
      Nouns: day, garden

Our next plan for Grades 1 –2 progresses to writing haiku. We hope teachers will send us haiku by their students to add to our plans, with proper permission. We also welcome your feedback. Thank you!

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