Note to Teachers: Welcome to our Education Page at The Haiku Foundation. We hope this free resource is useful to you, and we also welcome your ideas and feedback. This first lesson plan for Grades 1 – 2 focuses on general awareness of English-language haiku. The second lesson focuses on reading haiku, and the third lesson focuses on writing haiku. We hope over time that the haiku by children written from these plans become a part of our Education Page, with proper permission. Thank you.
GOAL: Introduce haiku to children at an early age, in a fun way that connects with their lives.
LESSON OBJECTIVE: Share one haiku with the children. This is a listening activity.
MATERIALS: Large poster board or easel with large sheets of paper. Markers or crayons for writing words in a large size. You may find pictures to go with the haiku, but it is also good for the children to create pictures in their minds.
The haiku in this lesson is by Peggy Willis Lyles (1939 –2010); from her page on The Haiku Registry, here at The Haiku Foundation. The Haiku Registry, which is edited and managed by Billie Wilson, is an international gallery of over 400 poets.
It includes these words from the Dolch Pre-Primer Word List:
It includes these words from the Primer Word List:
It includes this word from the Third Grade list:
- light (plural form in the poem).
It also includes the word rain from the Dolch Nouns Word List.
TIME: 10 minutes, or longer if you wish to add other activities such as drawing a picture to go with the poem.
1. Write the haiku in large print on a poster board or large sheet of easel paper.
summer night we turn out all the lights to hear the rain
2. Select a time to read and discuss the haiku with the children. Haiku may be defined simply as a “short poem” for this age group. Counting syllables is optional.
We recognize that the reading levels of children in this age group vary. This listening activity is designed to be a fun lesson for the whole group. The goal is for children to experience and enjoy the beauty of poetry.
3. Possible listening comprehension questions:
What is this haiku poem about?
What is the season in this haiku?
What time of day is it in the poem?
Why did the people turn out the lights?
Do you like to listen to the rain too?
What do you especially like about summer?
What do you especially like about summer nights?
4. Then keep the haiku on display in the room for a few weeks and read it again at different times. Allow the children to experience the poem at their own paces. Some will read and/or memorize it naturally. Others may spontaneously connect the poem with their own experiences of nature. When it rains during a school day, you may wish to pause and listen with the class! Modeling our enjoyment of poetry is always a good idea.
5. As you repeat this process with new haiku, you will know how often to introduce new poems to your students. You may wish to create a handout for each poem, so children can share haiku with others. Many children in this age group may enjoy copying the poem. Another idea is to create a collection of haiku shared in class to take home at the end of the semester, and then at the end of the year.
Select haiku with nature images your students already know, so they connect easily with the poems and feel success with poetry at a young age!
1. A parent volunteer may be available to read and discuss the haiku with individual students, in order to reinforce the group work, as needed. The objective is still listening comprehension.
2. Students who are ready to read the haiku may wish to read the poem silently and share their thoughts. Others may wish to read the haiku aloud to a teacher, parent, or fellow student.
3. You may wish to create a handout for the haiku, so children can share with others. They can draw a picture inspired by the haiku, and their pages can be displayed on the bulletin board.
Evaluation: At this age, if the children simply enjoy the haiku, the lessons are a success.
We conclude this Grades 1 – 2 Awareness lesson with poems from Montage: The Book (Winchester VA, The Haiku Foundation, 2010, 2012). There are many additional free resources here at The Haiku Foundation, including online Montage galleries.
You might wish to apply the premise of this lesson to more poems. You are welcome to include these haiku in your plans.
spread out on the bed
Cor van den Heuvel (b. 1931)
Gallery Fifteen: Play Ball
a solitary sandpiper
walks the waterline
Paul MacNeil (b. 1948)
Gallery Seventeen: The Good Earth
white egret lifting through fog whiter
Janice Bostok (1942 – 2011)
Gallery Eighteen: Antipodes
the play of light and shadow
on the windchimes
Peggy Willis Lyles (1939 – 2010)
Gallery TwentySix: Summertime
all the colors of fall
in a single leaf
Carolyn Hall (b. 1941)
Gallery ThirtyNine: Autumn Colors
waiting for the heron
to turn my way —
paul m. (b. 1963)
Gallery Forty: New England Sketches
Raymond Roseliep (1917 – 1983)
Gallery ThirtyThree: The Haiku Capital of the Midwest
We hope this lesson is a fun addition to your program and welcome your feedback!