Haiku Society of America Educational Resources - Secondary Students

Haiku Society of America Educational Resources

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Educational Resources for Secondary Students

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Workshops & Lessons

Workshop: Haiku and Imagery (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Haiku is an imagistic poetic form, often relying on an observation through one of the five senses. (One may also wish to add the sense of heat and cold as distinct from the common five: touch, smell, taste, sound and sight). It is the artful juxtaposition of concrete images that make a good haiku; one that is able to delight and surprise.


Workshop: Kigo and Seasonality in Haiku (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Step 1: In general a distinction can be made between haiku and senryu. This point, which should not be belabored is usually established in Workshop 1. Since haiku is most often defined by its association with a particular season (there are five: spring, summer, autumn winter and the New Year) this is a good time to introduce the word kigo and the importance of seasonality.


Workshop: Narrative Thinking (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Focus on a particular topic that will be the subject of a brief narrative. Topics should necessarily deal with concrete images, for example, the moon, crows, candles... etc. Once the topic is assigned, participants write their own stories related to the topic. Writing narrative has the potential to release the rich treasury of personal memory.


Winning Poems from the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition (one page pdf) a haiku competition for Grades 7—12, co-sponsored by the Haiku Society of America.

winter night
cracks in the floorboards

Mary Rice, age 16, 2009


Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition Collection (four pages pdf)

The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition for Grades 7-12 was founded in 1990 by the Sacred Heart Church in Camden, N.J. It is sponsored and administered by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association in memory of Nicholas A. Virgilio, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, who died in 1989. The Haiku Society of America co-sponsors the contest, provides judges, and publishes the contest results in its journal, Frogpond, and on its Website (http://www.hsa-haiku.org).

summer cottage
the bullfrog 
slips my grasp

Emily Cornish, Age 15, School of the Arts, Rochester, NY


Haiku: Lesson Plan for Teachers, Grades 6—12 (pdf)
by anonymous

Read aloud sample poems. Attached is a page of award-winning haiku written by young poets (see Winning Poems from the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition). If possible, project the poems and have the students take turns reading poems out loud. Read slowly! Ask the students what they notice about the poems. What characteristics or common features do they see? List these common features on the board as the students say them. Fill in any additional features so there will be a list for later use.

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Student Haiku Competition Collection

Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition Anthology
© 2022 HAIKU Society of America

edited by Randy M. Brooks
designed by Ignatius Fay


To commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition, the executive committee of the Haiku Society of America published this anthology of award-winning haiku and senryu. The student observations, insights, experiences, emotions and insights evident in these haiku and senryu are a wonderful testament to the fresh voices and vivid imagery of young people. We believe the judges’ commentaries add a valuable layer of meaning as we see how leaders, editors, writers and members of the Haiku Society of America carefully consider the significance of each award-winning poem.

This collection celebrates the work of students whose teachers have gone beyond the stereotypical haiku lesson plan emphasizing only one dimension of haiku—the five/seven/five syllable form. In these haiku and senryu the reader will find a wind range of form, carefully constructed arrangement of lines, surprising juxtaposition of images, and fresh sensory perceptions. They will find what we all love in haiku—the human spirit responding to the amazing diversity of experiences and emotions offered to us in our everyday lives.

Come, enjoy these award-winning haiku and senryu full of the wonder, surprise and angst that are the gifts of being young. These young people enjoy being alive and effectively share that joy through their haiku and senryu.

~ Randy M. Brooks, Editor

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Haiku Unit Plans

Haiku Unit Plan for Secondary Education (linked web site)
by Molly Burns

This secondary education Haiku Unit Plan was developed as a project in Global Haiku Traditions at Millikin Univeristy, taught by Dr. Randy Brooks in Spring 2005.

Overall Description: This two-week unit will cover the basic forms of haiku (both American and Japanese traditions). We will spend a few days looking at various haiku authors, both traditional and temporary and at first simply work on reading and appreciating their haiku. Later in the unit, we will work on writing our own haiku based on images, or in response to what we have read. We will discuss the different types of haiku (senryu, different kinds of links). Students will also have the option of writing a rengay with a partner. Finally, we will conclude the unit with a kukai, in which we will read and appreciate one another's haiku and pick favorites. The winners of this kukai will receive haiku-themed prizes (such as copies of Mayfly or Modern Haiku or copies of books by some of the authors we have studied).

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An Introduction to Haiku for Eighth Grade Students (pdf)
by Sarah Alexander

The purpose of this unit plan is to give junior high school students something I never had: a feel for the genuine essence of haiku. My own public school teachers, unfortunately, often approached the obligatory haiku unit as something of a nuisance. Consciously or not, they usually gave my classmates and me the impression that haiku was a quaint, frivolous little form that simply had to be composed in the "5-7-5" syllable pattern. Moreover, they often failed to give me a sense of the historical context in which haiku had evolved. As a result, it was not until I had entered college that I even knew who Basho was. My goal in preparing this unit . . . is to fill in the gaps left by my own education. My hope is that my students will come to recognize haiku as a rich literary tradition in its own right and to appreciate haiku's capacity to express humankind's relationship to nature as no other form can.

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Haiku Cut Competition

Haiku & Haiga Competitions, Centennial High School, Champaign, IL

Following a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund grant to learn about Japan, Ms. Cynthia Helms, Director of the Library, invited Dr. Brooks to Centennial High School to conduct workshops on the art of reading and writing haiku with Mr. Stan Yanchus' creative writing students and interested students from across the school. Following the writing and editing workshops, there was a matching contest with the student haiku. We called the contest "HAIKU CUT" with teams competing for haiku book prizes.

Ms. Helms also invited Dr. Brooks to conduct workshops on the art haiga—which combines painting or photographs with haiku in Ms. Stacy Gross' advanced photography class. Following the haiga reading and editing workshops, there was a matching contest with the student haiga.

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Recommended Articles & Online Resources

Anonymous. “Haiku: Lesson Plan for Teachers, Grades 6-12.” Haiku Society of America, (2012): n. pag. Web. 8 August 2021.

Brooks, Randy. Centennial High School Haiku Cut. Online edition. Decatur, IL: Millikin University, 2007.

Brooks, Randy. 2010 Centennial High School Haiku Cut. Online edition. Decatur, IL: Millikin University, 2010.

Burns, Molly. Haiku Unit Plan for Secondary Education. Online edition. Decatur, IL: Millikin University, 2005.

Brooks, Randy. “Hartsburg-Emden High School April Fool’s Matching Contest and Kukai.” Global Haiku Traditions, Millikin University, (2011). Web. 1 April 2016.

Cherner, Anne. “Haiku—the Discipline of Language.” Teachers and Writers Magazine 12.2 (1981): 14-16.

Ellman, Neil. “Haiku and Photography: Literary Interpretation and Visual Literacy.” Journal of English Teaching Techniques 9.1/2 (1976): 6-10.

Fidyk, Alexandra, and Jason Wallin. "The Daimon, The Scarebird and Haiku: Repeated Narrations." Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy 2.2 (2005): 215-243.

Friedland, Ellie. “Look and Look Again: A Heuristic Inquiry into Education as Awareness.” The Union Institute, 1994. Dissertation. 184 pages.

Gabauer, George. “In the Shortness of a Breath . . . Haiku and Nature Interpretation.” Journal of Outdoor Education 19 (1984-85): 25-27.

Greve, Gabi. “Haiku Lessons.” World Kigo Database (WKD). Daruma Museum, Japan, (2000). Web. 9 August 2021.

Hudson, Zach. "Haiku in The Classroom: More Than Counting Syllables." English Journal 102.6 (2013): 54-57.

Kenny, Adele. “The Haiku Connection.” Teachers and Writers Magazine 12.2 (1981): 12-13.

Standford University Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education. The Haiku Moment: Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand. A Curriculum Unit for Secondary Levels. Revised. Stanford University, CA: 1995.

Vakar, Anna. “Some Thoughts on Teaching Haiku in the Schools.” Frogpond 2.3/4 (1979): 11-14.

Wamboldt, Helen Jane. “Haiku as a Tool in Teaching Oral Interpretation.” Speech Teacher 13.3 (1964): 171-175.

Yanagihara, Y. “Choosing expressions by group discussion and improving the understanding of the words: To prove the attraction of words through making haiku (Japanese course the third grade of junior high school).” Educational Research Bulletin of Fukui University 32 (2007): 69-75.

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Recommended Books

Braida, Darold D., Editor. The Anthology of Hawaii Education Association Haiku Award Winners 1977-1979. Honolulu, HI: Hawaii Education Association, 1979.

British Haiku Society. Haiku Kit: A Teaching Pack, Second Edition. Braintree, Essex, UK: British Haiku Society, 1998.

Brooks, Randy, Editor. Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition Anthology. New York: Haiku Society of America, 2021.

Carter, Terry Ann, Editor. Lighting the Global Lantern: A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Haiku and Related Literary Forms. Township of South Frontenac, Ontario, Canada: Wintergreen Studios Press, 2011.

Donegan, Patricia. Haiku: Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 2003.

Gilbert, Richard and David Ostman. Earth in Sunrise: A Course for English-Language Study. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2017.

Higginson, William J. The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. New York: Kodansha International, 1985.

Latham, Jessica Malone, Editor. Another Trip Around the Sun: 365 Days of Haiku for Children Young and Old. Taylorville, IL: Brooks Books, 2019.

Mason, Scott, Editor. The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and the See the World with New Eyes. Chappaqua, NY: Girasole Press, 2017.

Van Kirk, Geoffrey, Kazuo Tsuda, and Mami Masuya Fleming, Editors. 2014 Student Haiku Contest: A Poetic Competition for Students and Their Teachers in Elementary, Middle and High School writing in English or Japanese. New York: The United Nationas International School, 2014.

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The Haiku Society of America is pleased to provide resources to those teaching and learning the literary art of haiku. Many of these resources are assessible to a wide range of learners including children. Others have been developed for engagement by specific age groups. Note that the Haiku Sociey of America mentorship program also has several PDF guides to online resources.

Please know that the following web pages provide resources for a specific audience but should NOT exclude anyone from considering resources from any category!


For Haiku Writers

Introductory Workshops
Specific Tecnhiques
Scott Mason - Haiku Course
How-To Haiku Books
Recommended Books to Read


For College Students

Teaching Haiku in Higher Educaiton
Art of Reading & Writing Haiku
Millikin Haiku Anthology
Articles & Online Resources
Recommended Books


For Secondary Students

Workshops & Lessons
Student Haiku Award Collection
Haiku Unit Plan
Haiku Cut Competition
Articles & Online Resources
Recommended Books


For Primary Students

Haiku Unit Plan
Workshops & Lessons
Articles & Online Resources
Recommended Books


Education Resources Web Sites

Haiku Organizaitons & Societies
Haiku Leaders & Teachers
Haiku Podcasts
Haiku Archives & Directories


For Scholars & Literary Criticism

HSA Definitions
Scholar’s Library of Haiku
Frogpond Essays
Frogpond Book Reviews

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