Poetry Friday: First Friday


It’s Saturday but I wanted to share a student’s work for “First Friday.” A fourth grade teacher teaches haiku every autumn. Now in the larger haiku community, it’s not encourage to teach the standard 5-7-5.

I am conflicted about whether to introduce haiku in this manner. It’s further complicated by the fact that most children’s poetry collections with haiku are published in this form.

There’s something however that kids get when sharing a specific form. Perhaps to learn haiku as 5-7-5 and then break the rules later is appropriate at elementary. Perhaps, too, as written below, that if a student uses a syllable or two more or less, that’s okay. To me, capturing a moment, an observation in nature is the most important thing. The day Christiana’s haiku was shared with me, reflected how the morning had unfolded.

Here’s Christiana’s haiku:


bright orange pumkin patch
tender wind pale morning sun
mist in the thin wind

What are your thoughts about teaching haiku?

Poetry Friday is with Diane at Random Noodlingthis week.

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.


4 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: First Friday

  1. Well, Jone, you know what I’m going to say about it. 😉 5-7-5 is more about teaching syllables. But, I’m willing to concede that requiring kids to use the form may force them to find different vocabulary. As you said, “To me, capturing a moment, an observation in nature is the most important thing.” Christiana’s haiku has some beautiful images.

    • Diane, I totally understand and agree. Been thinking about this a lot. I wish the education system would allow for me to spend time with revision on haiku. But teachers are so strapped into data collection and such, it’s impossible. And then there are the children book publishers that still publish haiku in the 5-7-5 tradition. Sigh.

  2. Call me a non-confrontational wimp, but I enjoy haiku in any form and see the value of both ways of teaching it. This question came up when I was conversing with Bob Raczka, my featured author this month. He feels it helps most beginners to have a specific syllable count to shoot for, but I do agree with you that capturing a moment should take precedence. Such mature and beautiful imagery in Christiana’s poem!

  3. I agree that capturing a moment in nature is the important part of writing haiku. But I see that we often write haiku about subjects other than nature. Is that because fewer of our students have any connection with the natural world anymore? I think that 5-7-5 is okay for lower elementary (and also that an extra syllable or two does no harm). Older students can comprehend that Japanese words tend to have more syllables than English ones, so to capture the intent of a spare poem, English speakers try for less than 17 syllables.

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