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haiku poetry

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									                                                                         DeVern H. Phillips

                                Teaching Haiku Poetry

Language Arts 5th / 6th Grade

Even though I have taught poetry in the past, my experiences in our studies of East Asia have given me
more insight and appreciation of the history/development of haikai (haiku as it is now known).
Hopefully, utilizing this information will permit more cross curriculum teaching of subjects matter so that
this (and other) form(s) of poetry do not stand alone, but are integrated into the total learning experience.

This is part of a group of lessons about writing poetry that I will be teaching in
my language arts curriculum.

Goals and objectives:At the end of this lesson students will be able to write
and distinguish haiku from other forms of poetry.

Curriculum Standards:
1.   Create a written piece to suit a specific audience.
     Kansas Standard 2 Benchmark 1
2.   Apply organizational skills in writing.
     Kansas Standard 2 Benchmark 3
3.   Apply comprehensive strategies.
     Kansas Standard 2 Benchmark 5
4.   Demonstrate knowledge of syllabication.
     Kansas Standard 2 Benchmark 4
5.   Organize information.
     Kansas Standard 2 Benchmark 7

Time required: These lessons will take place over a two to three day period
depending upon class capabilities.
Video:       National Geographic video(s) about Japan and art forms of Japan

     1.      Overhead projector
     2.      Overhead transparencies of selected Haiku poetry.
     3.      Overhead transparency of haiku format (5,7,5 lines) to be filled in.
     4.      Blank format pages for students to practice Haiku.

    Haiku (HI – coo)
    Are a poetic form and a type of poetry from the Japanese
    Kigo: (kee-GO) is a season term

      Haiku is a poetic form that originated in Japan hundreds of years ago
and continues today. Haiku combines form, content and language in a
meaningful, yet compact form. Haiku poets, who you will soon be, write
about everyday things.
      In order to be true Haiku, a poem must consist of 17 syllables and
contain a Kigo. A kigo is a word that hints in what season the poem takes
place. If the poem contains no kigo, it is more properly called a senryu (this
could even be a 17 syllable poem about Spam or the lunch lady).
      Many Haiku themes include nature, feelings or experiences. Usually
they use simple words and grammar. The most common form for Haiku is
three short lines. The first line usually contains five (5) syllables, the second
line seven (7) syllables, and the third line contains five (5) syllables. Haiku
doesn’t rhyme. A Haiku must “paint” a mental image in the readers mind.
      However, to understand Haiku we should look at the long, long history
of Japanese literature. Japanese literature is one of the world’s oldest and
greatest literatures. It reflects many characteristics of the Japanese people,
such as their appreciation of tradition and their sensitivity to nature.
Most of the people who wrote and enjoyed early literature in Japan were
members of the nobility. The greatest writers of the Heian period (794-
1185) were women. Later in Japanese history (1603-1867) the then “new”
verse form called haiku was developed. It originally began as a comic style
of verse that was simple to write. But in the late 1600’s, Matsuo Basho
changed haiku into a serious art form. His haiku, written according to strict
rules, describe subjects in nature and contain a reference to a season of the
year. These poems merely suggest ideas and feelings, and so the reader
must use imagination to interpret them.

     Let’s look at three Haiku written by students:
A Rainbow

Curving up, then down.

Meeting blue sky and green earth

Melding sun and rain.

Notice this Haiku is written in 3 lines.

The Rose

The red blossom bends

and drips its dew to the ground.

Like a tear it falls.

How many syllables are there in this Haiku?

Gently drifting down

Winter flurries are coming

Tickling my cold face

What is the Kigo in this Haiku?
Let’s practice on the overhead writing a Haiku

Fill in the seven-syllable line:

Green elms in the woods

Standing tall and proud.

Fill in the two five syllable lines.


The petals bend to the earth


Copy these down and use them for a guide.
Now it is your turn. Pick your favorite season. That season will be your
theme. Decide:

1) For what purpose will you write?

2)    What mood do you want to convey?

Think of images, descriptive words, and figurative language that best
describe that season (remember sounds, smells, sights). Jot them down in
web form or as you think of them. Then the final step is to experiment by
putting your ideas on the Haiku “skeleton” – 5, 7, 5 (syllables) and 3 lines.

3)    After completing these Haiku, students will write Haiku about other
themes using the same or similar procedures as before using words to paint
pictures and suggestions of visual images.

Evaluation:       Students will be successful if they can write a fluent 17
syllable Haiku incorporating Kigo into it.

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