Activity 70: Haiku Attempt

Last week I was listening to the recording of this inspiring webinar delivered by  Claire Steele and Sarah Smith. The topic was ‘What’s Creativity in the Classroom?‘ My plan is to watch it again (more than once), as there are several fantastic ideas for teaching and training. Thank you British Council for the generous sharing, and for offering more of such sessions between April and November 2022. Can’t wait!

One of the activities was creating a Haiku Poem, which I first drafted during the session. This morning I was cleaning my kitchen and thought about that activity, in a slightly different light. Then I thought about my ‘It’s All in (Y)Our Hands‘ project, and I shaped it differently.  Can you guess the steps of the activity I have in mind?

I know, I know, not an easy guess (reminds me of the many times I said in class that an activity called ‘Guess-what’s-in-my-head‘ does not lead anywhere…).

The activity steps could be the following:

  1. Find an object in the room you are in (something that stands out to you for any reason): in my case, this was a plant.

2. Draft a simple haiku poem.(This part very much depends on how familiar everyone is with this format, and an example or two can be created all together. If you decide to go deeper and learn more about creating a haiku, I can easily see the whole lesson planned around this activity.)

Mine say this (all true story):

Leaving Ukraine, Mom

Left this small plant in my room.

Hope we win this war.

3. Editing/proofreading time.

4. (optional) Peer reading/editing.

5. Design time: with the help of your Hand Outline, draw the Object you were writing about. This step is a curiosity point for me, and a pure experiment, as it worked with my plant (well, sort of, as you may not have been able to see a plant in the picture above 🙂 ) 

6. Share/Publish time (the way you like it). I’d be very curious to see what students can come up with. I secretly believe that our students are much more creative than we teachers are. That’s a theory to test of course. 

7. Reflection Time (possibly, combined with step 6): read about the genre of Haiku, decide if what is created meets the criteria. Add 1-2 more variations to what you (or your peers) created. Keep a ‘haiku journal’ for a week (or as homework for the next lesson). Translate your haiku into L1. Brainstorm several more reflection ideas…

Thank you for reading, and #StandWithUkraine!

P.S. Life is relatively calm where I am but the War affected people in many other regions of Ukraine. You can support my country by learning about what is going on, sharing the truth, and donating if you choose to. This site is called Defenders of Freedom and it is sharing stories of Ukrainians.

P.P.S. Here is the plant I was talking about in my example. 

About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict
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5 Responses to Activity 70: Haiku Attempt

  1. Rasha Halat says:

    In safe hands it is,
    Your mom’s green plant in your room
    And the country is!

    Always inspired by what you write 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zhenya says:

      Dear Rasha… words fail me: the haiku in reply, the warmth and strength of the words I needed so much today. Thank you very much!
      Oh, and ‘write a haiku in reply’ is actually an activity to try out. I have never thought of that!
      And… thank you for following this blog. It is an honor for me, and a motivation to keep writing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Svetlana Gavrilovic says:

    Hi Zhenya!
    How are you?
    I attended the same webinar and also loved it! It’s been a while since I found so many great ELT ideas in one place. The poem I came up with can’t be compared to yours or Rasha Halat’s as it lacks feelings I think but it is wonderful how with almost no preparation and no teaching material you can actually create something unique.
    (tiny metal clips
    securely putting papers
    and thoughts together)
    It’s a great idea to involve some drawing in the activity and ever since I read your post I’ve been thinking whether it would work to ask students to draw their favourite possession first, for example or bring a photo of it (or bring the actual object if it’s not too big), then ask them to write haiku poems about their friends’ favourite things without knowing anything about them. The owners could tell the story behind the objects and finally everyone could reflect on whose haiku has managed to capture the beauty/significance/atmosphere of the each other’s possessions best. Thank you again for this food for thought and take care!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Zhenya says:

    Hello Svetlana
    Thank you for another chance to have a teaching conversation with you! Exciting that you attended the same webinar, and were working on the haiku in the process. You said yours ‘lacks feelings’, but I may disagree: it has this gentle observation how paperclips keep our thoughts together, and I can relate to that, especially now, when everything is digital and on the screen. Have my box of paperclips on the desk and have not thought of writing about them!
    I like your idea of having a whole lesson about the objects students possess. Having this longer prep time before the actual writing (pre-writing, as some call it) can generate so many ideas. Besides, the attitude ‘I don’t like writing’ can be sometimes the result of being pushed to write on the spot, and people feel they don’t have ideas. Once we help them see how much is ‘hidden’ in the usual objects around us, real stories may come up. Or short haiku. Or even ‘haiku conversations’, as we have just had with Rasha 🙂
    Thank you wholeheartedly for your comments, and these fresh ideas! I enjoy this form(at) of learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Svetlana Gavrilovic says:

      Hi Zhenya!

      Yes, you’re right – prep time is definitely needed; students also need to know the structure and typical content of haiku poetry before getting down to writing so I guess it would take more than just one lesson to complete everything.
      Haiku conversations are such a fantastic thing to try – they remind me of a simple activity my students did with Swedish and Italian students within an international project last year: they had to take a photo of the signs of spring in their hometown and write a haiku about it. It would have been wonderful if they had responded to haiku with haiku and continued these spring conversations of theirs (!
      Looking forward to your next post!
      Stay safe,


      Liked by 2 people

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