Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Nature of Haiku Poetry

Jody Robinson


Haiku poetry is an excellent way for students to focus on the use of language to describe observations of nature. Students write in the standard Haiku form while practicing the use of simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy to describe nature.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping ideas, grouping related ideas, keeping a notebook of ideas, observing surroundings, answering questions posed by others).

The student uses appropriate words to shape reactions, perceptions, and beliefs (for example, synonyms, antonyms, figurative language).

The student understands similes, metaphors, analogies, and alliteration.


-White board, chalk board, or overhead projector
-At least one large nature photo (flowers, trees, the beach)
-Strong examples of simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy to write on the board (or overhead projector)
-Several [National Geographic] or other nature magazines
-Individual student writer’s notebooks
-Poster boards- one per group
-Strong examples of Haiku poetry (found at listed Websites)
-Handout of Haiku with literary explanations (see associated file) "one per student" for writer’s notebooks
-Half-sheets of light colored construction paper- one per student- for final product


1. Identify poems for session 1 that will generate interest.
2. Identify examples of simile and alliteration that can be written on a board or overhead.
3. Find at least on large displayable nature print for students to describe in class discussion.
4. Visit the posted Websites for information about Haiku and examples of child and adult written Haiku.
5. Create a handout (per student) of Haiku examples. Any similes or alliterations can be underlined.
6. Gather poster boards (per group) and half sheets of construction paper (at least one per student).


Day 1 ( Thinking about Descriptions)
1. Read some engaging Haiku poetry which includes examples of simile, alliteration, metaphor and alalogy, defining these literary terms as they are presented. (see listed websites for examples)

2. Provide students with a clear explanation of the above literary terms by writing or displaying strong examples of each for students to view.

3. Show students large photos or art prints of nature and facilitate a group brainstorming session in which students practice describing elements of the prints using simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy.

4. Write correct student ideas on a large poster board in headed columns. (simile, metaphor, analogy, alliteration)

5. In groups of 2, students find pictures in nature magazines and brainstorm descriptions using using the targeted literary techniques. One group member acts as discussion leader and one member acts as scribe.

6. Groups write examples under headings on a poster board for classroom display.

Day 2 - (Thinking about Form)
1. Review the student generated chart from day 1, steps 3 and 4 to reengage student interest. Offer feedback and reinforcment on what students wrote in each category-simile, metaphor, analogy, alliteration.

2. Distribute individual handouts (see attachment) with definitions and examples of literary techniques within Haiku poetry and ask for student volunteers to read them.

3. Demonstrate to students how to clap out word syllables and count them to show the 5/7/5/syllable count of Haiku. Students then practice this as a group.

4. Students look for elements of simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy within the provided Haiku. Ask individual students to identify these on a visual display.

5. Haiku handouts go into each students writer’s notebook in a reference section.

6. Take a nature walk outside. Students need to take pencil and notebooks. Students record what they see, hear, feel and smell in their writer’s notebooks. Write this as an example on the board: I see white clouds in a blue sky. I hear... Back in class, students use their observations to create, identify, and label their uses of simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy in their writers' notebooks. (Example on board: I see white clouds, soft as cotton in a blue shimmering, silky sky. Point out simile and alliteration to students.)

(Day 3- Writing Haiku)
1. Briefly review examples of Haiku and the descriptive techniques discussed above.

2. Students write Haiku poems about nature.

3. Students edit and then write their favorite creations on half sheets of light colored construction paper which they hang on a poetry wall under Haiku.

4. Move around the room giving guidance as needed.

5. Students who need extra time can complete the assignment at home. Those who finish early can read silently or assist fellow students.


Formatively assess students as they:
- brainstorm and write examples of descriptive simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy. (Observe individual participation and evaluate group products to see that the targeted literary techniques are being used correctly to describe nature photographs.)
-use notes from their nature observations to write and identify examples of descriptive simile, alliteration, metaphor, and analogy in writers’ notebooks. (Assess entries in writers’ notebooks to see if students are able to use the various literary techniques.)
-write in the Haiku form using some or all of the literary techniques they have learned and practiced and label the desciptive techniques they have used (Assess products for descriptive integrity, i.e., does the student use some or all of the learned techniques to adequately describe nature?)


Because this series of activities involves group supported work and lots of opportunity for verbal communication, it is highly appropriate for ESOL and ESE learners. During the actual writing process, the teacher has time to work one on one with strugglers. This individual guidance can be extended during subsequent independent reading times.

Web Links

This site has a wealth of child-written Haiku connected with accompanying drawings. If you have web access, this is an excellent site to share with students to excite their interest in writing poetry.
Children's Haiku Garden

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