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You Too Can Haiku

(Download the PowerPoint version.  Requires Microsoft PowerPoint)

This thematic unit incorporates Social Studies, Math, Computer Science, Art, and English Language Arts. The students learn about the Japan’s culture, history, and location in relation to the United States. The students learn the characteristics of Haiku poetry and investigate syllabication. This requires mathematical problem solving and addition. The students learn about imagery and create their own Haiku poem by using the Kid Pix computer application in order to combine graphic design with their Haiku creation. These lessons utilize a multi-sensory modality with various adaptations for students with special needs.

Subject Area
Social Studies, Art, Math and English Language Arts

Grade Levels


Students will be able to explain the history of Japanese Haiku poetry and gain information for future lessons on Japan and its culture. Students will learn about, by Internet research and taking notes, the location of Japan, interesting facts, and its culture. Students will understand imagery through writing and locate descriptive language and words that pertain to nature. Students will understand the use of imagery in Haiku and use their own vocabulary to depict imagery. Students will learn the importance of listening skills as a tool to gain information. Students will learn to hear distinct sounds and discriminate between them. Students will use mathematical problem-solving to create an original haiku by determining the correct number of syllables per line. Student will understand the literary element of imagery and discover that all poetry does not rhyme. Students will be able to illustrate their poem and apply an image to their poem.

Internet Used
The Internet is used in order to investigate Japan’s features, history, and culture while building background knowledge for future lessons. Students understand and view various forms of Haiku. When composing their own Haiku, the Web page with drop-down menus assists the students and reinforces their skills. The drop-down feature is helpful for students with special needs because it sparks their thinking in an interactive process and helps them write in this genre.

Materials Used
Required materials include a computer with Internet access, the Kid Pix program, paper, and markers.

Standards Addressed
Social Studies: Students learn about Japanese culture and civilization; compare it to American culture; understand the location of the Japanese community and the geographic representations of Japan by using the Internet. English Language Arts Standards: Students analyze how writers and illustrators use art and text to express their ideas (imagery), analyze and evaluate the effective use of literary techniques, describe the influence of the author's language structure and word choice to convey viewpoint, and apply their listening skills.

Students are assessed throughout the unit in the following areas.

  1. Participation during discussions.
  2. The students’ piece must follow the correct Haiku format.
  3. The students’ understanding of imagery.
  4. The students’ utilization of listening skills.

Students Involved
The students are third-grade, special-needs, general-education, and English-language learners. They must be familiar with the computer and the Kid Pix program.

Teacher Tips
The completion of the homework assignments is essential because those poems are used to begin the lesson the following day.

Overall Value
This unit introduces the students to Haiku poetry in an interactive fashion. The students learn about Japanese culture and history as they investigate the designated websites. They become better listeners and composers of poetry while understanding that all forms of poetry do not rhyme. The Kid Pix application assists in bringing their written forms of imagery to a visual format. This unit empowers students with difficulty visualizing, drawing, and writing. By using the application with the Internet, the students are eager to learn.

Eva Morris

Eva Morris has been teaching at P.S. 164 in Brooklyn for 7 years. Prior to that time, she taught and managed a pre-school for 16 years. She has a BA from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program/
Sociology for Urban Children and a MS in both Special Education and General Education. She had 3 other careers outside the field of education and has finally found her passion in teaching which is making a difference in young lives.


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