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Lesson Plan

Experiencing Haiku Through Mindfulness, Movement & Music

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Experiencing Haiku Through Mindfulness, Movement & Music

Grades 5 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Nine 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Rashna Wadia

Los Gatos, California


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Through haiku, students learn to slow down and become mindful of their natural surroundings, enabling them to capture experiences vividly through description.  In this unit, students read and listen to examples of haiku, and learn about the history and structure behind this Japanese poetic form. They engage in both outdoor and classroom activities that encourage mindfulness and the exploration of sensory imagery. After writing, illustrating, and pairing their haiku with instrumental music, students collaborate with classmates in creating movements to their poems. The final project is a student compilation of choreographed haiku performances put to movement and music.

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  • Helpful Haiku Hints:  This resource offers teachers an understanding of the features of haiku that goes beyond syllable count.
  • Haiku Poem Interactive: Students can learn about and write haiku using this interactive that guides them through the writing process.

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Matthew Cheney discusses that haiku is more about capturing sensory images and being mindful of our surroundings than it is about writing a three lined poem with a 5, 7, 5 syllable arrangement.  Additionally, bringing movement to daily classroom activities helps struggling writers and students who learn kinesthetically, connect to verbal and written language in a more meaningful way. Movement in the classroom also enhances creativity, attention, and mindfulness (Griss).

This lesson allows students to become "in touch" with their senses and open with their hearts, stumbling upon “haiku moments.”  As a result, their writing comes from a place that is more genuine and uninhibited rather than critical and censoring.   These moments of mindfulness help students create connections, as well as generate feelings of compassion and peace.

Further Reading

Griss, Susan.  “Creative Movement: A Physical Language for Learning,” Educational Leadership (February 1994).

Cheney, Matthew. "Expanding Vision: Teaching Haiku." English Journal 91.3 (January 2000): 79-83.

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