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4th Grade Study of Japan with Haiku Culminating Project

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Deirdre Harris
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4th Grade Study of Japan with Haiku Culminating Project

Curriculum Project – Objects and Ritual in Japanese History

USC Seminar – Deirdre Harris 8/10/21

This Lesson would be for Grade 4, Advanced Studies Class

Objective:  Students will be introduced to and practice Haiku Poetry after learning about Japan. Specifically Haiku being a Japanese poetry method of writing that engages Bloom’s Taxonomy for higher thinking skills and deepens the writer’s and reader’s prose experience.

Standards:  (for fourth grade, other grades have similar standards)  WA 2.1 Write narratives:

a. Relate ideas, observations, or recollections of an event or experience.

b. Provide a context to enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience. c. Use concrete sensory details.

d. Provide insight into why the selected event or experience is memorable.

SA 2.4 Write and Recite brief poems and create haiku and art history


Materials:  writing paper and watercolor paper, along with pencils and watercolor paints are needed; ideally also a computer with Internet access and samples of haiku journals.  


Day One Lesson:

Present Information via google slides, interrnet sources, Youtube videos, etc… about the Country of Japan.  Discuss many of the traditions from the Different Periods, and include the arts, crafts, kimonos, Samauri Warrior traditions, and have a class discussion about the country.  Students will listen, take notes, and learn about Japan.

Watch this video about the  Geography of Japan to give students an idea of where it is on a Global Scale.

and this video on Youtube called Ancient Japan, which focuses more on history and development of the country.

Homework:  Think about, and write a paragraph about which tradition or new information about Japan you are most interested in.  Be ready to share your paragraph in class tomorrow. 

Day Two Lesson: 'Haiku' is a Japanese poem of about seventeen syllables. Basho born in the Edo period was one the most famous poets of 'Haiku' His work is still celebrated throughout the world as the essence of Haiku.

Today’s lesson will focus on learning about Haiku writing.  Teacher will discuss parameters, and show examples mentioned above.  Students will watch a short youtube video about how to write a Haiku and show several examples of Haiku’s about nature, animals, and other things.

In class, students will be asked what they think of when they think of Japan.  Ask what they think of when they think of Japanese art, including haiku.  Today will be an exploration of a Japanese literary art.  Pass out samples of haiku journals for students to peruse.  (When teaching children’s classes, pre-read your sources well as some haiku journals include graphic adult writings.  Kids are amazingly fast to find these.)   You may also share and project or print samples from the many Haiku on the Internet.

Ideally, this should be done over many days so that budding poets begin to develop a poet’s eye for this work. 

Work on some Haiku together as a class.  First master the art of haiku.  As can be seen in the journals, modern haiku poets do not adhere strictly to the 5-7-5 syllabication norm taught to many of us years ago.  Modern published haiku are nevertheless very minimal, rarely adding more than seventeen syllables. 

Be sure to stress that haiku are in the present tense and strongly avoid similes, rhyme, and fantasy.

Homework: Write two or three Haiku’s based on today’s lessons, and focus on the areas of Nature, Animals, and other areas.  Try to be original, and be ready to share in class.

Day Three Lesson:

Students will share their favorite Haiku they have written from the previous day’s homework.  We will then re-write them in a formal, neat way, and create a class book.  We will then extend this lesson by doing an art project with watercolors, to create an art display for a bulletin board.  They will copy their favorite Haiku, and pair it with their watercolor art.  They can display the haiku onto the watercolor or mount it side by side. 


Conclusion:  This lesson will help students learn about the geography of Japan, it’s cultures, traditions, while incorporating art history into the mix.  This lesson will also help create writers and thinkers operating on a deeper level.


Possible Assessment:  Students can submit individual works or collections self-published in a booklet form for evaluation.