Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Haiku Leaves

Michael Cyr


The students use prior knowledge and first-hand observations of the natural world around them to create their own Haiku poems. The final draft is put on handmade leaves (from construction paper) to create an autumn-theme classroom display.


The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student uses an organizational pattern appropriate to purpose and audience (including but not limited to topic sentences, supporting sentences, and sequence; develops new ideas in separate paragraphs; concludes with effectiveness).


-Book: Lewis, J. Patrick. [Black Swan White Crow]. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1995. (Or any poetry anthology containing samples of Haiku poems)
-Notebook paper or journal notebooks
-Red, green, brown, orange and yellow construction paper
-Book: Bunting, Eve. [Peepers]. San Diego: Harcourt, 2001. (Optional, See Extensions)


1. Select a poetry anthology containing samples of Haiku poems.
2. Select about 10 poems to share with the class as examples.
3. Create several leaf patterns for the students to use in tracing their leaves.
4. Optional: Select picture book(s) with an autumn theme, such as [Peepers], to read to the class to set the tone. (See Extensions)


1. From any poetry anthology containing samples of Haiku, a good choice would be [Black Swan White Crow] by J. Patrick Lewis, read aloud some samples of Haiku poems.

2. Point out the pattern in each poem: first line, 5 syllables; second line, 7 syllables; third line, 5 syllables. Also draw the students' attention to the fact that a common nature/seasonal theme is expressed.

3. Have students take notebooks, or something to write on, and take a short trip outside. Allow them to take a good look around them and observe their natural surroundings. Explain that they are looking for some ideas to write their own Haiku poems. Have them jot down several possibilities.

4. The students then choose a topic. It does not have to be from something they've just seen outdoors. It can be perhaps a memory of a place outdoors they have been to, etc.

5. The students write 3 sentences describing their topic.

6. The students then shorten the sentences to meet the 5-7-5 Haiku pattern. They may need some scaffolding guidance in word choice. *Rough drafts are turned in to the instructor for editing purposes. Any notes they took are also collected in order to assess word choice.

7. After any necessary corrections are made, the students create their final copy on a piece of colored construction paper.

8. Using a leaf pattern, they cut the paper to shape a leaf.

9. An autumn classroom display can now be set up showcasing the fine work of these masterful Haiku poets!

10. As a post-lesson activity, allow students to reflect in their journals about the assignment. Have them write what it was that inspired their work--what they saw, something they remember, something they imagined. This will help them understand that these unique works of art that they created all came from their own personal experiences and observations.


1. The teacher needs to monitor the students as they record their observations to ensure participation. When rough drafts of the students' Haiku poems are completed, the teacher checks content to ensure that the poems follow the 5 syllables-7 syllables-5 syllables organizational pattern of the Haiku poems. The teacher also checks that the theme is consistently focused on the central idea of autumn. Necessary corrections in spelling and word agreement may also have to be made.
2. Review notes turned in to see what ideas they jotted down. Do their Haiku poems accurately reflect what they saw and wrote down? If anything is unclear, they may need to change their word choice to better reflect their ideas.
3. Collect post-lesson reflections to check that they understood that their personal experiences/observations inspired their work.


1. As an extension, an autumn-themed book (or poem, if possible) can be read to the class to set the tone.
2. This same lesson plan may be adapted to other seasons. Follow the same directions, except use snowflakes/snowmen for winter, flowers and birds for spring, and sunny faces for summer.
3. Modifications may need to be made for any children with disabilities, such as helping them cut out their leaves and transcribing their poems on their final copy.

Web Links

How to Write a “Haiku” Poem by Bruce Lansky
Giggle Poetry

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.