Happy Poetry Friday, Readers.
It’s May, my month to serve as poet-in-residence at Northfield Elementary School. This is my longest running residency through the Maryland State Arts Council. 11 years!
When I had my orientation meeting with third grade educators this year, they had important information for me. This year’s 3rd graders are active. They need to move! How could we adapt the poetry lessons to meet this need?
We decided to kick off our series of poetry workshops with a haiku hike, inspired by the book HAIKU HIKE from Scholastic. This book won the 2005 “Kids Are Authors” award. It’s a great introduction to haiku and inspired us to go outdoors and gather images for our poems.
Haiku poems have a rich history, steeped in Japanese culture. We talked about a few quick things before we went outside.
- Japanese is read from top to bottom, not left to right like English. The 5-7-5 syllable count isn’t a rule, but an attempt to recreate the rhythm of a Japanese haiku. I encourage students to write three lines — short-long-short — or even two lines for their haiku. (We looked at a traditional haiku, in Japanese, from a page in the book WABI SABI, by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young.)
- The book HAIKU HIKE introduces the concept of kigo, a word in the haiku that symbolizes the season.
- In some classes, we discussed the difference between haiku and senryu.
Then we were ready for our hike.
Each of the five third grade classes went outside for about 10-15 minutes on a series of sunny, very windy days. Wow! They student poets were so observant, paying attention to details small and large.
Thanks to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share the students’ poems.
Poet: Jessica M.
Leaves whispering quietly
My name in the breeze
Come outside with me
Poet: A.J. H.
Acorns on the tips of trees
Millions of grass
Poet: Jameson I.
Running in grass
Brown pine cone in our path
Poet: Sarah B.
On a sunny day
Spring flowers start to bloom
Then I do too
Poet: Sarena D.
Scratch, dirt creaks and crack
Under tree, all alone, far away from home
No movement, no tossing
Poet: Kate A.
Cute little creatures
Scurrying through green tree tops
Eating lots of nuts
Some people make a wish
Others just watch
Poet: Milie S.
Shh, the leaves go
Rustled by the spring wind
Poet: Jackson A.
Trees swaying and branches battling
Spring wind war
Then, this happened. (Haiku by Ms. Shovan)
windy spring day
student papers take flight
During one of my walks, I took photos instead of notes, then came home and wrote haiku like this one.
Sun puddles on pavement
Watch your step!
Want to try this lesson with your students? This is the frame I used. Feel free to borrow.