Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday Ginkgo Walk Pandora Park

These grade five students are writing down nature observations to write haiku. We start by discussing some of the plants that are beginning to bloom, and which ones provide important food for bees. We outline the seven components involved in writing a haiku and I explain that writing a haiku is like fishing: an active form of contemplation where you cast your net to catch a "haiku moment", which you then craft into a poem.

The students were incredible enthusiastic and I was impressed that many of them found a way to have their own space instead of using our walk as a chance to get silly, as we all know sometimes happens in these situations.

I had to take a photo of this kite stuck in a tree. There was an eagle soaring high above it. That was my haiku moment.

I explained that it is better to be specific in your poem--not just a tree, but a white magnolia tree, for instance.

I encouraged the students to use their senses--touch, smell, hearing to really get a total impression of what's going on around them.

When we got back to class we made collages of the haiku, careful to double-check the spelling as much as possible. Haiku uses as little punctuation as possible, and lower case lettering is generally used as well. I told the students that they could could choose to capitalize the first person pronoun or leave it lower case if they wished.

I tried to talk to the students about the ephemerality of the haiku moment--the poignancy of it's "here today, gone tomorrow" quality.

Some students wanted to write haiku about the destruction of natural rainforest habitat. This haiku reads:

across the long street
there aren't many trees
near me
it's not very free

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