Learning and Sharing the Beauty of Being Human


Key Staff

Classroom Teacher

Key Skills

Creative Thinking: Creativity and Innovation
Global Connections: Connecting to History and Culture
Making Art: Composing and Planning


In this two-day lesson, students will look beyond the basics of haiku poetry (three lines, 5-7-5 syllable format) and focus on the content of the haiku. Over the course of two classes, students will reflect on their daily lives to find small moments of peace and/or happiness. Using these moments and/or observations, students will create a haiku and an accompanying photograph, which will be combined into a digital visual class anthology.

Learning Objectives

Students will: • Become familiar with the definition of haiku • Learn to apply not just the basic 3 line, 5-7-5 syllable format, but also make content decisions to fit the haiku definition • Practice reflective/observational writing • Learn to connect visual interpretations to their own written work • Learn to read their own work in an attempt to convey intended meaning

Teaching Approach

  • Arts Enhanced
  • Arts Integration

Teaching Methods

  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Group or Individual Instruction
  • Discussion
  • Brainstorming
  • Reflection

Assessment Type

Performance Assessment


What You'll Need

Required Technology
  • 1 Computer per Learner
Lesson Setup

Teacher Background

Teacher should be familar with the following:

Physical Space



Individualized Instruction


For the second class period, teachers may need to reserve a computer lab with computers equipped with software capable of adding text to photographs.

Accessibility Notes

Students with physical disabilities may need modified movements.


Resources in Reach

Here are the resources you'll need for each activity, in order of instruction.

Build Knowledge


Five Minute "Quick Write"

  • First, have students watch the Sonia Sanchez clip about the haiku. 
  • Then, have students scribe their reactions to Mrs. Sanchez's thoughts on haiku.
  • Following the quick write, the teacher will lead a brief discussion that generates a list of characteristics of a haiku based both on prior student knowledge and the video in the Resource Carousel above. 

Teachers should make sure that student takes away the following characteristics:

Composed of three lines
Has a 5-7-5 syllable format
Doesn't discuss vioence, anger, killing
Modern haiku doesn't have to be about nature
Images must be directly observed/everey day occurrences

Build Knowledge

1)  Brainstorming (20 minutes)

  • Hand out Haiku Worksheet to students. Tell them that they will be writing haikus that illuminate a moment of happiness during their day.
  • Begin with step one, having them respond to the questions listed. After approximately ten minutes, have them take a break and discuss their answers with a partner. During the discussion, students should feel free to jot down anything else that comes to mind.
    • Examples:
      • Daily breakfast of oatmeal and raisins 
      • Getting a few extra minutes of sleep on the bus 
      • Pizza from the lunch line 
      • When the bell rings ending 1st period 
      • Playing a game with a younger sibling 
      • Falling asleep reading a book 
      • Finally beating a video game

2)  Visualize your image

  • This is Step Two on the deliverable handout. Students should make a list of concrete images associated with their moment. 
    • Examples:
      • A bowl of oatmeal and raisins 
      • A pillow 
      • A slice of pizza 
      • A clock 
      • A photo of the younger sibling or the game 
      • A book 
      • Video game controller


1) Haiku Your Moment 

  • Keeping in mind the characteristics of a modern haiku discussed earlier in the class period, students should craft a haiku based on their individual image of happiness. 
  • Time permitting, there should be some peer editing. Students should share their haiku with a partner or table group (depending on the set up of the classroom). Partners should make sure that the haiku follows the proper format (three lines, 5-7-5, clear images).
  • If students do not finish this step, they should complete it for homework and bring in a finished haiku for the next class period.

2) Manipulate Your Image 

  • For this step, students should either have access to a computer lab so that they can search Creative Commons for an accompanying image for their haiku, or have access to digital cameras so that they can take their own photograph.
  • Once an image is found/taken, students should use any photo manipulation program at their disposal (PowerPoint, Photoshop, Photostory, Paint) in order to add the text of their haiku to their image (see sample on deliverable).
  • Students should save their image in a location where the teacher can access it for the anthology.

Once all of the images are collected, the teacher will need to put them all together in a digital anthology using a program such as PhotoStory. The program is free and very easy to use! Additionally, the teacher might want to download a piece of music from Creative Commons to accompany all of the haikus. This could be a class decision if there is time to have a discussion of what type of music should accompany writing of this sort. The digital anthology should be complete before the Reflection Day; if this isn’t a consecutive day, that’s fine!


1) View Digital Anthology

  • Once the digital anthology is completed, the teacher should show the finished product to the students.

2) Discussion 

  • The teacher should discuss the overall tone of the anthology. What did students learn about one another by observing their pieces? What did we learn about happiness? About humanity? Be sure to remind the students of their initial journal following the Sonia Sanchez clip – does the class anthology fit with her feelings on haiku?

Computer, projector, speakers, and the digital anthology.


Throughout the nation, standards of learning are being revised, published and adopted. During this time of transition, ARTSEDGE will continually add connections to the Common Core, Next Generation Science standards and other standards to our existing lessons, in addition to the previous versions of the National Standards across the subject areas.

The Arts Standards used in ARTSEDGE Lessons are the 1994 voluntary national arts standards. The Arts learning standards were revised in 2014; please visit the National Core Arts Standards (http://nationalartsstandards.org) for more. The Kennedy Center is working on developing new lessons to connect to these standards, while maintaining the existing lesson library aligned to the Common Core, other state standards, and the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education.

ArtsEdge Lessons connect to the National Standards for Arts Education, the Common Core Standards, and a range of other subject area standards.
National Standards For Arts Education
Visual Art

Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

National Standards in Other Subjects
Language Arts

Language Arts Standard 1: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

Language Arts Standard 2: Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

Language Arts Standard 6: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts

Language Arts Standard 9: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

Language Arts Standard 10: Understands the characteristics and components of the media

Common Core/State Standards

Alignments for this lesosn will be available soon.



Erinn Harris

Editors & Producers


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Use this collection of resources and articles to devise an approach for supporting individual needs in the classroom: from English Language Learners or students with disabilities, to conflict resolution and giving feedback.



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