You do! We do! We all Scream for Haiku!

Haikus offer a way to explore new ideas for teaching poetry, science, and math.

By Deborah Reynolds


haiku lessons

Need new ways to teach poetry? Try incorporating haikus into your lesson plans. Haikus are poems with a Japanese origin. They consist of a total of seventeen syllables and three lines. Haikus do not rhyme, nor do they usually change from a 5-7-5 syllable per line format. These poems usually express a mood or feeling and relate to nature and the seasons. These poems can be used as a way to reinforce learning in a variety of subject areas.

Haiku poems can be used to reinforce math concepts. Students must recall addition facts in order to be sure that the poem contains seventeen syllables. For basic subtraction, children can talk about how many syllables are left if line three were erased. Students can practice multiplication by calculating how many syllables they would have in all if seven students have haiku poems.

Since haikus are usually about nature and the seasons, this would be a great way to tie in science. After teaching a lesson about plants, students could go outside, explore plant life, and write a class haiku on large paper. When studying seasons, students could be divided into groups, and assigned a season. Each group could brainstorm and then create a haiku poem to show what they have learned.

Let’s not forget history and art. Imagine giving students pictures of Richmond, Virginia before and after the Civil War. Students could study the image and list descriptive words that come to mind. Then, students could research the war and create a poem for each picture. This is a great way to assess how much knowledge has been acquired during a unit. With so many pictures available on the Internet, the possibilities for history-related haikus are endless.

You don’t have to limit haiku poems to language arts. There are many creative and interesting ways to utilize it in other subject areas. Haikus encourage students to use their senses and imagery to create a poem. Haikus also touch upon various learning intelligences, such as verbal/linguistic. Explore all the possibilities you can with haikus. Here are some interesting haiku lessons.

Haiku Poetry Lessons:   

Do You Haiku? We do!

Students practice math facts and learn new science information while creating Haiku poems. Included in this lesson are nine worksheets including a rubric for the final product. For those students ready to take the lesson above and beyond, four extension ideas are listed. Links to websites that have Haiku poems that can be used as models or examples are also provided.

SENSE-ing Weather: A Haiku Experience

Teaching a weather unit? Why not do it with a Haiku? This lesson has students incorporating what they learn about weather into a poem. Students create a weather Haiku photo album after creating poems using the five senses to study weather. Documents used in the lesson plan are included. For gifted and high ability students, an extension idea is included in which students can develop an interactive weather map. 

Spring Poetry Unit

Art is used to teach haiku writing. Students are introduced to the format of a Haiku poem. They create a poem about nature and write it on a kite. The lesson suggests using the kites on a bulletin board, but another option could be allowing students to go outside and fly their Haiku kites.

Images and Sound: City and Country

In this lesson abstract art is the inspiration for Haiku poems. Students begin by looking at examples of abstract art. Next, they are encouraged to find one word descriptions or adjectives to describe the poem. Then, they create a haiku about the feeling evoked by the art.


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Deborah Reynolds