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Lesson Plan

Animate that Haiku!

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Animate that Haiku!

Grades 5 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Although some students insist they cannot write poetry, the haiku’s short form and its lack of rhyme will make the students less apprehensive of the task.   Because of their brevity, haikus are perfect for teaching students how to use Animoto, an online web tool to create short slideshows. After reading haikus and examining the haiku format, students write their own haikus that they then animate using Animoto.

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  • Haiku Starter: This graphic organizer provides students the opportunity to brainstorm words about a given topic, count and record the syllables, and draft a haiku.
  • Animoto: Students will use this online web tool to create slideshows to illustrate their haikus.

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Cheney points out that English teachers have oftentimes taken away their students’ enthusiasm for poetry by overanalyzing the literary qualities of poems.  In particular, he suggests that teachers who concentrate on form have not instructed their students on the true essence of haiku poetry.  He believes instructors should focus on the haiku’s quality of capturing a “moment, image, or feeling drawn from the close observation of nature.”

Likewise, according to Parr and Campbell, teachers need to find low-anxiety methods to teach poetry that allows students to delve into poetry without the emphasis on form and rhyme. Furthermore, they state that students need to be given opportunities to share their own poetry. By creating short slideshows through Animoto, students have a unique platform to communicate their poems.

Further Reading

Cheney, Matthew. "Expanding Vision: Teaching Haiku." English Journal 91.3 (January 2000): 79-83.

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Parr, M., & Campbell, T. (2006). Poets in practice. The Reading Teacher, 60(1), 36–46.

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