Friday, August 22, 2008

haiku for kids

i recently had the pleasure of conducting a haiku workshop for a small group of kids at the Sherman Heights Community Center. Ages ranged from 7 - 11 years old. there were younger ones present, and while they participated actively in the 'group composition' process, they didn't actually produce any individual poems (but supplied some great artwork for collaborative haiga).

first i gave them a brief description of haiku and what it meant for me, then i gave them some examples. i tried to make it clear that this was only one approach, one technique, that it by no means was the only way that haiku could be written. i explained haiku was actually supposed to be created 'in the moment' outdoors, but since we were in a classroom, we would have to create the haiku from the memory of an experience.

after the examples, we composed a couple of haiku as a class. i had them choose a mood/emotion/feeling and a time when they experienced it. the first mood they chose was 'happy' and the place the all had in common was on the playground at school. we wrote down a list of the things they saw/heard/felt (concrete images) that made them feel happy. from the list we paired two of the items together (fragment and phrase). our first poem was:

the sound of laughter
from a game of tag
butterflies in the sun

next we did bored in the classroom, the result was:

reading a book
i don't want to read --
a locker door bangs in the hallway

after that, they composed poems individually. some students only had the opportunity to create one, unpolished attempt. others had the opportunity to take a second look at the poem and 'edit' the results. i told them the poem wasn't bad, but 'let's look at ways to make it better'. below are the resulting poems:

shredding a flower
between my fingers
empty cobweb

the sound of crying
brings clouds
to the morning sky

flies buzzing on a
hot summer day
the yawning of kids

birds singing their morning songs
makes me smile

the police is mad
the jogging woman
is listening to music

teacher talking
about math
a pencil taps on the table

it was one hot sunny day
the birds were singing
and the sky was blue

sounds of cars going by
kids screaming
on the beach

butterflies in the air
looking at flowers
makes me smile

the tap tap
of the ball on the wall
kids counting 10, 9, 8 . . .

dandelions blowing away
birds in the sky
sound like laughter

for the limited amount of time we had together, and being it was the first time i've ever tried to teach anyone how to create a haiku, i was pleased with the results. great job class :)