EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks • Spring 2005
Haiku Unit Plan Day 2

Haiku Unit Plan Day 2

Description: Today, students will discuss last night's reading assignment and work in groups to generate what they believe to be the essential elements of haiku (both Japanese and American, if they see any significant differences). Students will also begin writing their own haiku in class.

Day Two

Work in groups - what are the essential elements of haiku?
Begin writing own haiku w/ prompt images and "Create Your Own Haiku" activity
Homework: handout of haiku, pick favorites and write short paragraph response (10pts, completion)

Description: Today, students will discuss last night's reading assignment and work in groups to generate what they believe to be the essential elements of haiku (both Japanese and American, if they see any significant differences). Students will also begin writing their own haiku in class.

IL.1.C.4e: Analyze how authors and illustrators use text and art to express and emphasize their ideas (e.g., imagery, multiple points of view).
IL.1.C.5d: Summarize and make generalizations from content and relate them to the purpose of the material.
IL.1.C.5e: Evaluate how authors and illustrators use text and art across materials to express their ideas (e.g., complex dialogue, persuasive techniques).
IL.2.A.4a: Analyze and evaluate the effective use of literary techniques (e.g., figurative language, allusion, dialogue, description, symbolism, word choice, dialect) in classic and contemporary literature representing a variety of forms and media.
IL.2.A.4d: Describe the influence of the author's language structure and word choice to convey the author's viewpoint.
IL.4.A.4b: Apply listening skills in practical settings (e.g., classroom note taking, interpersonal conflict situations, giving and receiving directions, evaluating persuasive messages).

Students will discuss their reading selections as a class
Students will work in groups to discern the essential elements of haiku
Students will begin writing their own haiku based either on the provided images or as a response to something they read the night before
Students will decide on the theme of the kukai

Teacher: extra copies of reading assignment, selection of images to jumpstart haiku writing, "Create your own Haiku" worksheet
Students: materials for note taking (pens, pencils, paper, etc.), reading selections from last night

Instructional Procedure
We will begin by discussing last night's haiku handout - more work by Bash? and Swede. Questions to jumpstart discussion:

With which haiku did you feel the most connection?
Which haiku sparked the strongest images?
Which haiku made the best use of word choice?

If students are reluctant to start talking, I will choose one of my favorite haiku to start the discussion. For instance, I really love this haiku by George Swede:

used bookstore
a sunset beam lights a row
of forgotten authors

There's a very strong image with this haiku - I can almost see the dust stirred up in the air when the sunlight hits this row of books that have probably been on the shelves for years. I get the impression that this is the only time of day when the books see the light, so even though they are old and musty, they aren't all that faded. As an English teacher and of course a great lover of books of all kinds, I want to give these poor, mistreated books a good home where they will never grow dusty.

After students have discussed the haiku themselves, I would like them to work together to generate a list of what they believe to be the essential characteristics of haiku. For instance, some of these elements could include

Short, though not necessarily 17 syllables
Strong images
Drawing on personal experience (though George Swede does not necessarily draw entirely from personal experience)
Function like a snapshot, capturing a single image

I would also like students to discuss the differences between Basho and Swede, as they are two very different authors. Some of these differences could include:

Basho's haiku deal more with nature, while Swede's deal with life in general
Swede's haiku tend to be more sarcastic in tone than Basho's
Perhaps some students will find Swede's haiku more interesting, or easier to relate to
Basho's haiku might be more difficult to relate to, as we do not have the Japanese cultural background

After students have (hopefully!) exhausted all possible avenues of discussion concerning Swede and Basho, we will move on to attempting to write some haiku of our own. Students will do so using both the "Create Your Own Haiku" worksheet and some prompt images.

First take a look at the "Create Your Own Haiku" worksheet. Yes, it seems a little cheesy (and there's nothing saying all of your haiku have to be about toenails!), but it's a good way to get started writing haiku of your own, especially if you're unfamiliar with the form. Students will take a minute to choose the words they would like to form their haiku and then share them with the class. For instance, one of the new haiku could read:

evening by the river
cherry-colored toenails
vanishing into the sand


sunset by the water
crimson-lacquered toenails
sliding into silt

After students have had the chance to share their newly created toenail haiku, they may begin writing haiku on their own. I have a selection of images that I have pulled from various sources (mostly Google images searches) that students will be able to use. These images are included in the appendix, and though ideally I would like to have each image on its own sheet of paper, the images have been combined onto just three sheets of paper to save space. Some people find it helpful to have an image to start with when writing haiku, while others would prefer to search their own memory to find the perfect haiku image. Students are not required to use these images, but I feel that simply throwing them into this new form of writing so abruptly might frighten them, so this is an additional step on the road to writing their own haiku.

Finally, we will close the day with the assignment for the night - more haiku reading. Tonight's reading is a selection of work by Peggy Lyles (another contemporary American poet) and Masajo Suzuki (a Japanese contemporary poet). Again, students should pick three or four favorites to discuss. Additionally, tonight they will pick one haiku (by either author) and write a paragraph response.

Students should also continue thinking about a theme for their kukai, especially since we have now started writing our own haiku - what subjects do you feel you could write haiku about? Be ready to discuss this tomorrow.

Tonight's assessment is a bit more formal - students are required to read the packet (included in the appendix) and pick a favorite and write a paragraph response. Hopefully, the assignment of this paragraph response will encourage students to speak up more in class on the following day.
The informal assessment comes in the form of asking students to think some more about a subject for the kukai. This should be a little easier now that they've had the opportunity to write some haiku of their own and have a better idea of the form. We will discuss these suggestions in class tomorrow.

No major accommodations or adaptations should be needed for this lesson. Most of the discussions of essential elements can be put into lists on the board if students feel inclined to take notes. I have already noted my plan for jumpstarting student discussion on the Swede and Basho haiku (choosing a haiku of my own to discuss).

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Appendix Items (Lesson Handouts)

Appendix 1: Create Your Own Haiku

Appendix 2: Jumpstart Images for Haiku

Appendix 3: George Swede & Matsuo Basho

Appendix 4: Peggy Lyles & Masajo Suzuki

Appendix 5: Seven Point About Writing Haiku

Appendix 6: Sample Haiku from Haiku Anthology

Appendix 7: How to Write a Rengay

Appendix 8: Frog Pond Haiku

Appendix 9: Senryu

Appendix 10: Haiku Pairs

Appendix 11: Season Words

Appendix 12: The Power of Images

Appendix 13: Link Selections

©2005 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors
last updated: May 18, 2005