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Note to teachers: If you have not seen our Grades 1 – 2 Haiku Awareness and Reading Plans, you may wish to review and consider teaching them first, prior to this writing plan. We also welcome you to send us your haiku, so we can add your class poems to our Education Page, with your permission.

Goal: The goal is for students at this level to begin to write haiku, in a group class activity. The writing plan for Grades 3 – 4 will focus on students writing individual haiku.

This Grades 1 – 2 Writing Haiku Plan is subdivided into three short lessons:

1. Paying attention and noting observations; in order to teach that poetry is a part of our everyday lives, and to create a vocabulary list.
2. Writing a practice haiku, as a class, using words from the vocabulary list created by the students.
3. Editing and sharing the haiku in both spoken and written form.

The lessons should be taught over 2 or 3 days, so the children have the opportunity to revisit their haiku after some time has passed, and to offer possible revisions and new ideas in a class discussion. Review is built into the lessons, to help the children track the writing process at their levels.

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LESSON ONE: Paying attention and noting observations.

Objective: Students will participate in a class discussion to create a list of words for writing a class haiku.

Materials: Chalkboard or easel with large sheets of paper.

Time: About 20 minutes, depending on the size of your group and amount of discussion.

Method:

1. Write HAIKU on the board or easel paper in large letters. Tell the students a haiku is a short poem. This definition is sufficient for Grades 1 – 2. Counting syllables is optional.

2. Tell the students that we are going to write a short haiku poem together over the next few days.

3. As a review or warm-up activity, have these haiku from our Grades 1 – 2 Reading Plan already written in large letters on the easel or chalkboard. Read them aloud to the students, slowly, two times. Discuss briefly, noting everyday events. Leave the haiku as models on display, to remind students these are brief poems that relate to our everyday lives. An added benefit is that the brevity of the poems may encourage new readers to feel comfortable with print.

    snow falls
    and falls on the snowman
    the long night

    gentle rain
    the new seedbed
    smoothed over

    both Jim Kacian, from Presents of Mind

4. Tell the students that the class will now begin to write haiku also, beginning with what is happening at this time in their own school. As a class, look out the window and observe what is there, what is taking place, at this moment. If your teaching area does not have a window, please note the other ideas in the Adaptations section (e.g., using a picture book).

5. Ask the children to say what they observe. Ask questions to help the children be specific. Provide a few new words. Also, invite the children to share from their own experiences. For example, a tree outside the window may inspire a child to watch and write about a tree at home, through the seasons. More words will likely be offered than will be used in one haiku, and the list can be saved for another lesson.

6. Write the key words on the chalkboard or easel paper. If you are using a chalkboard, be sure to save the list of words. These words will be “the building blocks” for the class poems. An added benefit is that the children will be learning to read and write words from their speaking vocabularies.

Some of the words on the board or easel might be: look, window, tree, leaves, green, play, friends, birds, robin, song, rain, Spring.

7. Read the words together as a class. Students may read aloud or follow along silently. Tell the students their words will be used to write a haiku together in the next special haiku lesson.

Adaptations:

1. Read picture books to students, and through discussion, develop a list of words to be used in writing a haiku to go with the story.

2. At recess, ask the children to form a group and note what they are observing at the moment. Jot their words down and transfer to the chalkboard or easel after recess.

3. Ask the children to describe the nature they see at home. While these experiences vary widely for children in many places, they can also note universals such as the sky and clouds—and what we all share.

Evaluation: This is a non-graded lesson. Provide positive and corrective feedback in a conversational way. The goal is for children to connect haiku with their everyday lives, so beginning to write flows naturally in their own words.

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LESSON TWO: Creating practice haiku, using the words from the previous lesson.

Objective: Students will participate in a group discussion to compose a haiku, written by the teacher for the class.

Materials: A chalkboard or easel with large paper.

Time: About 20 minutes.

Method:

1. Begin with a review of Lesson One. Reread the vocabulary list created by the students and/or ask for volunteers to read the words. Also, if you are following these plans, haiku have now been a part of the children’s classroom environment for a time (Awareness and Reading Plans).

2. Tell the students again that words can be put together to make poems.

3. From the words on the board, lead the class in using the words to form a poem, to express their moment of looking out the window together. Write their responses in the discussion in poetic form on the board, modeling how their observations and words can be translated to haiku.

This is a beginning exercise, and the haiku does not have to be “perfect.” The goal is for the children to enjoy playing with language and to have a fun time with haiku.

This is one idea of a practice-haiku that might flow from a discussion. Lesson Three will guide the class in making their poem a little better.

    we looked at the tree
    outside the window
    and saw a robin

4. Read this poem aloud with the children. Tell them that in the next lesson, we will follow the example of other poets, and work on our writing a little more.

Adaptations:

1. Some children may be ready to write their own haiku. This form of poetry is now written in 1, 2, 3, or 4 lines. We will teach these variations directly at the older grade levels. At this age, the goal is simply to accept variations from the 3-line form, if the children create them spontaneously.

2. Create more vocabulary lists for poems from picture books and/or observations at recess or home. Write additional practice-haiku with the group.

3. Some children may need additional practice reading the vocabulary words created in this lesson, along with the practice poem.

Evaluation: This is a non-graded class activity. Provide positive and corrective feedback in a conversational way. Success is defined as the class creating a poem, with guidance from the teacher, using words from their observations.

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LESSON THREE: Editing the haiku and sharing the final (to date) version of the class poem.

Objective: Students will participate in a class discussion and revise the practice haiku from the previous lesson.

Materials: Chalkboard or easel with large sheets of paper. Paper and pencils for students. Art supplies if you ask the students to draw a picture to go with the haiku.

Time: About 20–30 minutes.

Method:

1. Begin with a review of Lessons One and Two. The idea is for students to experience returning to a draft-poem, with teacher guidance and discussion, after some time has passed. This lesson could take place the day after Lesson Two; or perhaps in the afternoon, if the second lesson is taught in the morning. An added benefit of this plan is reinforcement of short-term memory skills, with prompts.

2. Direct the students’ attention to the board or easel where their practice haiku is written. Read the haiku slowly, two times, so the students hear every word. Ask a few students to volunteer to read the haiku aloud. Ask the class if the poem says what they saw? What they were feeling? Can we make it better? An added plus is modeling for the students that correction and revision do not mean they failed; rather is an expected part of learning. They are poets and this is the work of all poets!

The revision for “we looked at the tree/outside the window/and saw a robin” may become this through guided questions and discussion.

    robin on the branch
    outside our window
    Spring at school

3. Read the revised haiku aloud as a class. Give the students a sheet of good paper with lines and ask them to copy the haiku. If there is time, they can also draw a picture, or at another time as an art activity.

4. Ask the children to read the haiku again, after they copied it. This could be silently or aloud, depending on the child’s reading level and degree of comfort reading in a large group. The main goal is for the children to comprehend their poem and feel success as young writers.

5. The haiku can be shared in many ways: displayed on a bulletin board, taken home, and/or copies of poems saved to become a booklet at the end of the year.

Adaptations:

1. Students not ready to copy the haiku can draw a picture. Have handouts with the poem printed available for these students, so everyone has a poem to display and take home.

2. Some students may be ready to write their own haiku.

3. The words can also be written on index cards, and children can place them in order, perhaps “playing” with the lines of the poem.

Evaluation: This is a non-graded lesson, and student efforts at their levels of achievement in language arts should be praised. They wrote a haiku!

Additional Haiku:

This section of our plan is for your class poems! Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback.

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