Writing Haiku and Tanka…and a Valentine FREEBIE

Most of my students knew what a haiku poem was when I asked them this morning, but not a single one knew what a tanka poem was. Even my collaborating teacher had not heard of it. A tanka is a poem that is similar to a haiku. The first three lines, in fact, are just like a haiku, with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. However, a tanka adds two additional lines of 7 syllables each. Therefore, the pattern of a tanka poem is 5-7-5-7-7.

In order to get my students to write interesting haikus and tankas, I guide them with a few simple rules.

1. The must follow the pattern exactly, with no deviations.

2. The poem does not have to rhyme. but it must be about nature.

3. No words may be repeated. (in order to get quality poems, this rule helps eliminate overuse of words like the, is, I, etc.)

4. There should be an element of poetry included, such as figurative language, imagery or sensory details, or sound devices.

I was pleased with the poems I got from my kiddos today. I will share a few here:

Haiku from today –

In the snowy air

We can go about and wear

some soft white snowflakes.

The deer are running.

Birds sing, chirping very softly;

Flowers smile brightly.

The beautiful tree

on a misty mountain peak…

Majestic it is.

A sparkling blue pond

Koi are flowing through water

with no doubt; blissful.

Tanka from today:

It’s a rainy day

Spring is on its way real soon

Sunflowers will bloom

Rainbows come out in the sky

Sweet wind blowing through the trees.

The wind is singing

Birds are chirping all day long

as I stand there stunned.

Nature tells us to wake up

And smell the roses for once.

The bird is purple

Those trees are brown and yellow

Gold sun is shining

Blue waves were hitting the rocks

Green ocean spray in the sky.

Beautiful creatures

Roam about the dark forest

Gracefully about

With their striking, amazing

moves…spectacular they are.

What a fun and creative time the kids had writing these short poems. We only spent about 30 minutes on these, and yet I was tickled with their effort.

After we wrote our poems, we continued reading The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John, as we did last year, and then went to the computer lab and worked on our research project on endangered African animals. It was a very productive day.

Now, I am ready for Valentine’s Day…I plan to read the myth of Demeter and Persephone, and then I will read a myth that is full of candy names and the students will have to see if they recognize them. It’s always a lot of fun.


Valentine Mythology - Cupid Candy Search

And here is a fun Valentine writing FREEBIE for you:


Valentine's Day Writing Fun!

Have a great week everyone!

Deborah Hayes’

aka HappyEdugator

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