The following is a brief lesson plan for kindergarten through fourth grade classes for teaching haiku poetry, shared here to provide an example of basic pedagogical methods and how I teach haiku in a school setting. I also have similar lesson plans for other grade levels. Each class uses my own customized handouts and PowerPoint presentation. See a translation of this lesson plan in Italian.
Objective: To introduce students to haiku poetry as a way to capture daily moments, improve literacy, and broaden cultural awareness to include Japan.
Audience: Children in kindergarten and grades 1 through 4.
Class Period: About 30 to 40 minutes.
Handouts: A sheet of haiku on the five senses (three poems from each sense, by American and Japanese adults, plus children worldwide), plus a worksheet on the five senses.
Step 1: Share sample poems with students (have them read the poems aloud, with teacher help if some of them have trouble with certain words at the younger ages).
Step 2: Ask students to say which poems are their favorites, and to say why.
Step 3: Write down (on whiteboard) things that seem the same about the poems (three lines, something about nature or the seasons, and so on).
Step 4: Share five senses worksheet, to have students think about things they touch, taste, smell, hear, and see (discuss the five senses and give examples).
Step 5: Have students take some time to write their own haiku and perhaps illustrate it (especially if they’re younger). Share this work with each other at the end of the class (optional).
Step 6: Encourage children (with teacher help) to write a cherry blossom poem and submit it to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Haiku Invitational contest at www.vcbf.ca, or to the Japan Air Lines biennial worldwide haiku contest for children (both free to enter).