Since April is the national poetry month, many classrooms are studying poetry, encouraging children to try their hand at creating different styles of poems.

Today I was in a second grade class who read Haiku Hike, written and illustrated by a fourth grade class of students at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Mansfield, MA. On the premise of curing their boredom, a group of kids go for a hike. As they dump out their backpack at the beginning of the trek, they realize they have forgotten their camera to record “the beautiful things they see.” As a backup, they get out the paper and pencil and decide to record their trip in words, instead of visual images, through the Japanese form of poetry, Haiku. Easily explained in kid’s terms, we learn that their poems need a seasonal word or phrase called “kigo,” three lines, and five, seven and five syllables in the successive three lines. Off the kids go on their hike, recording expressive  Haikus describing  “furious rapids,” “a mighty white oak,” and “spring peepers,” to name a few. Today’s teacher read the book, passed out the kids’ journals, and left on a hike through the woods to generate some new Haikus.

Try this with your class, or children, showing them a creative way to express themselves in just a few words!