Haiku Poems Across the Seasons
Oil pastels (colored pencils, crayons or magic markers will do)
Handouts (Haikus Across the Seasons, haiku illustration #1-4)
*Picture books with haiku poems (*optional)
Time/Periods: Three 45 minute periods over 3 days
**The first period can be easily broken into two shorter periods over the course of one day and, depending on the students, this may be optimal.
Note: The poems in this lesson plan can be substituted with seasonal poems from other resources including:
In a Spring Garden, edited by Richard Lewish
Red Dragonfly on my Shoulder, Haiku translated by Sylvia Cassedy and Kunihiro Suetake
Haiku Picturebook for Children, by Keisuke Nishimoto
Photograph of Autumn Leaf in Nagasaki by Marufish, available under a Creative Commons license.
Learning Goals. Students will be able to identify the key elements of haiku poetry (i.e. each poem has a sequence of 5-7-5 syllables, each poem refers to one season)
Students will be able to describe key weather conditions that occur in each season (i.e. winter – snow, barren trees; spring – warmer weather, flowers blooming)
Students will be able to read a haiku and identify which season it refers to by making inferences and citing key elements from the text to support their answers.
Students will be able to conjure up an image in their heads of a haiku poem and illustrate this image on paper.
Sakura, cherry blossoms c. Kazuko Minamoto/Japan Society.
Standards. New York City Scope and Sequence Science Standards
Common Core Standards
- Observe and describe weather conditions that occur during each season.
- Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. (From Key Ideas and Details, Core Curriculum College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading K-5)
- With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade one. (Core Curriculum, Reading Standards for Literature K-5)
- Make connections between self, text, and the world around them. (Core Curriculum, Reading Standards for Literature K – 5)
Focus Activity Ideas.
The class will spend one week, prior to lesson 1, reading a haiku by Basho every morning. During this week, the class will learn about the key elements of haiku poetry. This knowledge will then be enhanced during the Haiku Poems Across the Seasons unit.
Alternative focus idea:
To introduce or reintroduce syllables, have students clap out the syllables along with nursery rhymes or poems with which they are already familiar.
Main Lesson Activity Ideas.
Lesson 1, Day 1: Shared Reading & Text Analysis
1. Tell the class: “We are going to read four haiku poems together and we are going to act like detectives, looking for clues in each poem to decide which season the poem refers to. Before we begin, who can remind the class what a haiku poem is?” (The four poems--found below--will be written on chart paper and already to be posted on the board where all students can see them.) I will listen for information about where haiku poetry originated, the 5-7-5 sequence—which is not always adhered to in translations—and reference to seasons.
2. Then I will read the poem:
This snowy morning
That black crow I hate so much…
But he’s beautiful
The students will read the poem with me a few times and I will teach motions to go with the poem. We will act the poem out together.
Photograph of a crow by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, available under a Creative Commons license.
3. Then I will ask; “Which season do you think the poem refers to?” I will have a card with each season’s name and an illustration of each season handy for children to reference. I will remind them of each season’s name. The students will share their ideas. I will ask them to support each idea with a textual reference. In the end, I will expect that the students will deduce that “snowy” refers to the weather conditions and that the poem is referring to winter. Together we will underline the word “snowy” and tape the “winter” card to this poem.
4. We will repeat this sequence with the following three poems:
In these dark waters
drawn up from my frozen well…
Glittering of spring
School is over now.
Time to rest and take a break
Oh! I ate them all
and oh! What a stomach-ache…
Green stolen apples
Photograph of apples by London Looks, available under a Creative Commons license.
**Please note that this sequence could be split into two 20-minute periods over the course of one day or two consecutive days. Although the process of acting out each poem will enable the students to move around a bit, it may be optimal to split this process into two separate 20 minute periods to minimize the period the students are sitting on the rug from 40-45 minutes to about 20 minutes.
5. When the students are done reading each poem and pairing each poem with a season, I will tell them: “You did a wonderful job of finding clues—evidence—in each poem to show which season it refers to. I think that tomorrow you will be ready do this same work with different poems in small groups. What do you think? If you think you are ready to read four poems at your table and pair them each to a season, give me a thumbs up at your chest. If you are not sure, give me a sideways thumbs.” Depending on the overall response, I will say: “Tomorrow I will be walking around to help you if you have trouble, but I feel confident that you can be haiku poetry detectives in small groups tomorrow without much help from me!” or “I am so excited to see the work you do tomorrow!”
Lesson 2, Day 2: Small Group Analysis
Connection (1 minute): I will introduce the work we will be doing and connect it to the work we did the day before. “Yesterday we read four haikus carefully and found evidence in each poem to connect it to one season. Today you are going to that detective work with four different poems in your table groups.” (3 –4 students sit at each table.)
Mini-lesson (10 minutes): My co-teacher or assistant (if possible), two students and I will model how to work together to complete the assignment. We will use the four poems from yesterday’s lesson, which we will have in front of us typed out. (The reason for using the same poems is that, because students will already be familiar with the poems, they can focus on what we are modeling—how to work as a group when completing the task.) We will discuss as a group how we will take turns reading the poems, and how each of us will underline the “evidence” in each poem (the words that show it is connected with a season), and write the season on top of one poem. Then we will model reading one poem together, discussing the evidence, and underlining it. After this modeling, I will ask the students what they noticed about how we worked together. We will make sure it is clear that students need to talk together and agree before evidence is underlined and that they need take turns underlining evidence and writing on the Season:_____________ line.
Group Work Time (15 - 20 minutes): Each group will receive a Haiku Across the Seasons
* handout. They will be expected to work together to label each poem with a season and underline the evidence in each poem for the season. We will expect them to orally explain why their evidence connects to their season as I come around and monitor each group. During this time, I will choose one or two people from four of the groups to share their group’s thinking on one of the poems.
Share (10 – 15 minutes): One or two people from each group will read one of the poems to the class. Then they will show, using chart paper (we will have each poem written on chart paper) which words their group underlined and why they think these words are evidence for the poem being connected with a particular season. They will take comments and questions from other students. This will continue until each poem has been discussed.
Conclusion: I will compliment the students on their collaborative skills and on how they found evidence in each poem to support their thinking. I will explain that the next day we will each get a chance to write down our thinking about a particular poem and use oil pastels to illustrate that poem. I will tell them that we will post their writing and illustrations outside our classroom so that the rest of the school can learn about and enjoy haiku poems across the seasons, too.
Options for groups who finish early:
* I could make a second handout that would be identical to the first Haikus Across the Seasons
handout except it would have different poems
* I could check out picture books from the library with illustrated haikus. Students could read these poems when they finish their work.
Lesson 3, Day 3: Individual Work
Mini-lesson (10 minutes)
I will model (using the winter poem by Basho used in lesson 1) the task of using textual evidence to prove that the poem depicts a moment in the winter. (I am really asking each student to put in writing what he or she did orally in the previous day’s lesson.) I will write: “I know that this haiku depicts winter because it mentions snow. I think the snow shows us that it is very cold. It is usually cold in the winter; We have to wear our coats and jackets in the winter; So I think this poem is about the season of winter.” I tried to use kid friendly language here, so the students know they can do this themselves. I will then ask each student to pick one poem from the previous day that he or she wants to write about and draw. (I will make sure that about an equal number of students do each poem.) The following four worksheets can be used: Haiku Illustration 1
, Haiku Illustration 2
, Haiku Illustration 3
, Haiku Illustration 4
. I will explain that, after each student finishes writing, he or she will draw a picture depicting the poem using oil pastels in the box on the page. ( The students are familiar with illustrating poems and using oil pastels because we illustrate our poem of the week on a regular basis and have used oil pastels for special projects in the past.)
Individual work (30 – 40 minutes)
Each student will go to his or her desk, write about why his or her poem depicts a specific season, and illustrate his or her work.
Mid-lesson share: After about 10 minutes into the lesson, I will stop the students to talk about giving clues in their illustration to show what the season is (i.e. leaves on the trees, clothes people are wearing, etc.).
Share (5 minutes): I will pick students who did a particularly excellent job to share their work with the class and take questions and comments.
Summative Activity Ideas. The individual work in Lesson 3 is the project that I will use to assess student learning. What follows is a rubric to evaluate each student’s work.
||Grade Level Understanding
||Sophisticated, Above Grade Level Understanding
|Writing mentions a season correctly but does not clearly explain why the poem depicts that season.
||Writing states the season the poem depicts clearly & correctly, uses clear textual references to explain why the poem depicts the season.
||Writing states the season the poem depicts clearly & correctly, uses textual references to explain why the poem depicts a season, and makes references to own experiences (self to text conections) to further explain why the poem is connected to a season.
|Illustration has some connection to the poem & season but does not clearly illustrate the poem, i.e. tree with blossoms falling off tree.
||Illustration is clearly connected to the poem and season and clearly illustrates the poem, i.e. tree with blossoms and blossoms falling off a tree.
||Illustration is clearly connected to the poem and season, and the poem is clearly illustrated. In addition, the student adds in pictoral details that add to the viewer's understanding of the poem (i.e. a person laying under the tree with the blossoms falling off the tree listening to the near silence).
Resources. Note: Haiku not written by Japan Society was found at Sacred Texts.com, which include the following copyright statement: “Scanned at sacred-texts.com, April 2007. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was not renewed in a timely fashion as required by law at the time. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.”