Wednesday, 5 November 2014

November:  Autumn Haiku with Kids

"Leaning" into Haiku

Autumn is a time of year that stimulates the senses.  Movement is in the air, change is occurring all around us, and the seasonal colours are brilliant.  This time of year has inspired artists such as The Group of Seven, to paint the most exceptional works of art.  It's the perfect time of year to express yourself creatively through art, poetry, writing, photography, collage, and printmaking.

Haiku (HIGH- coo) poetry is a centuries old Japanese art form, created in the shape of a small verse.  Traditional haiku are often about nature or the changing seasons.  They are meant to convey an emotion with the use of just a few words.  

A haiku poem has a total of 17 syllables divided into 3 clumps or lines.

five syllables
seven syllables
five syllables

Here is a fun lesson on syllables:

When working with small children, it's fun to "lean" into writing poetry instead of attempting to get it right the first try.  "Leaning" is a way to take small, achievable steps towards a larger goal.  These small steps help you work up to something more complex like writing haiku, even though the haiku poem is small and seems easy to write.  When you actually get down to it, it may take a lot of thought and planning to get into a poetic frame of mind.  

"LEANING" into Haiku

1.  Begin by choosing a season:  Autumn

2.  What will you focus on:  Autumn leaves

3.  Read, review, and discuss out INSPIRATIONAL AUTUMN WORD LIST (below.)

4.  Dress for the season an go on a nature hike.

5.  Tell a story by making a journey stick.

6.  Get creative:  Find a sit spot and visit that spot over a period of time to see how things change, to make observations, to take note of what you see, to remember, to collect, draw, sketch, take pictures, paint, glue and so forth.

7.  Play a game:   PERSONALITY... PERSONALI- TREE.  In autumn, trees can express their personalities by changing into flashy clothes!!  Look at the different trees to see if you can spot some awesome personali-trees.  Take out a camera and try and snap some shots of the most awesome personalities in trees.  How have the autumn leaf colours added spark to the trees?

8.  When the child has created their work of art they can begin writing or telling:

Tell what they see using just a few words (it does not have to be 5 syllables)
What feelings can they express when they see their work of art (happy, sad, excited...)?
What do they remember?
Other students might want to create their own short verse as well.

This does not have to be a haiku poem yet.  Working towards creating poetry allows students to create and to think creatively without the stress of having to produce a perfect finished product.  As you continue to follow these steps and "lean" into haiku, you will observe that the children will express themselves in a more creative and deeper sense.  The children's learning will unfold in an environment that is creative, nurturing, repetitive (in an open way), ongoing, and is responsive to their creative thought process.  

Have fun creating and learning outdoors!

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