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Haiku Starter

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Haiku Starter

Grades 2 – 6
Printout Type Writing Starter



This graphic organizer provides students the opportunity to brainstorm words about a given topic, count and record the syllables, and draft a haiku.

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Poetry in the classroom is an excellent way for students to express themselves, synthesize information they have learned, and enjoy word play. The haiku is a perfect form of poetry for classroom use because its short, does not need to rhyme, and lends itself to any topic. While haikus are traditionally written in the present tense about nature, they can be written about any subject in a variety of contexts.

The Haiku Starter graphic organizer allows students to brainstorm a list of words about a given topic. This can be done independently or as a group. Students then record the number of syllables next to each of the brainstormed words. This helps students to play with words and phrases and find different combinations that they like with 5 and 7 syllables. Once the poem has been drafted, students can write final copies on a separate sheet of paper and illustrate the poem.


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  • As a first day of school activity, have students brainstorm words about themselves and then write a haiku. Read the haikus aloud and have the class try to guess which student the haiku describes. You will get to know your students, and your students will get to know each other.

  • Use a haiku as a culminating activity for a content area unit (science, social studies, even math)! Brainstorm a list of words with students that show what they learned in the unit. Group related words together and have students write a haiku about the topic. For example, if you have just finished a unit on the Revolutionary War, have students write a haiku about the important events, people, or ideas.

  • Haiku works great as a final project when students have completed a novel for independent reading or for a literature circle. Students can brainstorm words about the important themes, characters, or plot.

  • In keeping with the tradition of haiku and nature, have students create a frame out of a sheet of paper. Take students outside and ask them to place their frames on the ground in a spot they like. Ask them to draft a haiku about only what they see inside the frame.


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Expanding Vision: Teaching Haiku

Grades   8 – 12  |  Professional Library  |  Journal

Expanding Vision: Teaching Haiku

Despite common misconceptions about haiku, there is a lively and vibrant haiku community throughout the United States and many other countries. Read this article for further discussion on the use of haiku in your own classroom.