Haiku: Great Mentor Texts & a Freebie

I hope everyone had a restful and fun holiday season!  If you’re like me, it was a little rough getting back into the working routine.  Thankfully, I have 26 second graders who were happy to share their energy!

I am excited to start our poetry unit, as this is one of my favorites!  Although we use primarily free verse lessons from Lucy Calkins, I like to expose the students to several other types of poems.  To do that, I use a variety of mentor texts and personal examples. Today, I’d like to share two great mentor texts and a freebie for Haiku poems that you can use in our own poetry unit.

Writing Haiku: Two great mentor texts & a freebie

The first mentor text I’d like to share is Dogku.  This is a picture book written completely in Haiku.  It tells the story of a stray dog finding a home.

Dogku is the perfect mentor text for teaching Haiku.

Here’s an example of one of my favorite poems as this stray puppy is “adjusting” to his new home.

Dogku is the perfect mentor text for teaching Haiku.

I love how Andrew Clements compares Haiku to a small vase for words in his Author’s Note.  He explains how using just a few words helped him pick the perfect words.  I have to agree with him, as his words perfectly describe how this family found a stray dog and made him their own.

Dogku is the perfect mentor text for teaching Haiku.

Haiku is traditionally a three-line poem written in 17 syllables (5/7/5).  However, modern poets are now taking liberty with some of these rules.  The second mentor text I would like to share is Hi, Koo!  This book explains their definition of Haiku in the Author’s Note.

Hi, Koo! is a great mentor text for teaching modern Haiku.
Hi, Koo! is a great mentor text for teaching modern Haiku.

I am loving this option, and thinking about having my students give it a try.  In the past, some of my students got stuck on the syllables and gave up on some good ideas.  I’m thinking that a little more freedom may alleviate that.

Hi Koo! takes students through the four seasons while providing excellent imagery and emotions.  Each poem still has three lines, but the syllable rules are broken.  Here is one of my favorite winter poems.  I just love the figurative language.

Hi, Koo! is a great mentor text for teaching modern Haiku.

If you’re interested in trying one of these Haiku styles in your classroom, I have a great freebie for you.  I made two versions, one is for writing traditional Haiku, and the other is for the more modern version. If you’d like to use these forms in Google Classroom, simply delete the lines and keep the text box for your students to type. To download the forms, click here or on the pictures below.  (You will be prompted to make a copy.)

Freebie: Traditional Haiku

 Freebie: Modern Haiku

I hope your students enjoy poetry as much as mine do!  Please share your favorite mentor text for poetry.  I would love some new titles to add to my collection.

Mentor Texts and Freebies for Traditional and Modern Haiku
Thank you!

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Teaching blogger for elementary teachers

Mary Wingert, licensed educator (K-12 Special Ed. & 1-8 General Ed)

I started teaching in 1993.   I have taught special education, fifth grade, and fourth grade.  I moved to second grade in 2015, and I am still there today.  

I believe in teaching strategies that are effective, differentiated, and engaging. I am looking forward to building a community of teachers who feels the same!  Read more here.