Gratitude to All Life


Grade Level: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Keywords: Jodo Shinshu


  • To show appreciation of nature and life forms through art work and poetry (Haiku)

This is a multi-day (usually 2-day) lesson.



  • Make sufficient copies of Haiku Hike
  • Choose a nearby hike
  • Get enough Materials (above) for the class


  1. 1st Day
    1. Read the story, Haiku Hike.
    2. Take the students on a hike in your church (or local) garden. Tell them they will be walking slowly and carefully looking at the plants, flowers and insects in the garden.
    3. We appreciate all life, but never get a chance to look at things up close and draw or paint things. Share what they saw and discuss what they might draw and write about.
      1. Sketching—When you return to the classroom, have the students sketch very lightly what they saw. After they sketch their drawings, they can paint using watercolor paints.
      2. Painting—Go over instructions for use of watercolor paints (ie. How to make paint by dipping the brush in water, then rubbing the color to make the paint. Remember to rinse the brush when they want to change the color. No mixing of colors. They can do a blue wash for the sky—very little paint mixed water. Allow to dry before writing.
    4. Discuss gratitude to all life.
  2. 2nd Day
    1. Poetry—Brainstorm and write on notebook paper to express their thoughts in written form.
      1. If your students are young, it may be a better to have them write a simple sentence about their painting. (ie. I am grateful for _. Using descriptive words .)
      2. Haiku –Refer to the handout, How to Write a Haiku. This describes the guidelines for writing haiku. You may also use Grass Sandals for Haiku examples or the videos listed above
    2. Write their poem lightly and neatly somewhere on their painting.
    3. Use a fine tip marker to trace their poem and write their name.
    4. Review the meaning of Gratitude.


  • Ask the students how they feel about their work during the review. What did they learn?




Marion Nishimura,, Orange County Buddhist Church, 2014