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Haiku Zoo

Count the swinging, roaring and munching animals in this wild haiku zoo – and then count the syllables too!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. A Haiku is unrhymed verse of seventeen syllables in three lines, conveying a complete image or feeling, and usually about nature or natural things. Haiku poems date from 9th century Japan to the present day. A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Gather students together and read Dogku by Andrew Clements. Let the children discuss the events that happened in the book. Now explain that each page of this book is a haiku.
    2. Have a student go to the dry-erase board and write the three lines of a page from Dogku using Crayola® Dry Erase markers. Invite students to volunteer to go up to the board and help count the number of syllables in each word.
    3. Organize students into small groups to compose a haiku about an animal of their choice. Share writing with the class.
    4. Now that students have had some haiku writing experience, lead the class in making a HAIKU ZOO. Each child will write a haiku poem about a zoo animal and then illustrate it. Have students use electronic devices and books from the library for reference when researching. Use Crayola Watercolor Pencils to write and draw on white paper.
    5. Once poems have been edited and contain the proper amount of syllables, children begin the good copy of the illustration. Provide students with watercolor paper and allow them draw their animals in natural environments. Encourage students to draw large, neatly and color the entire paper.
    6. Lay recycled newspaper down, get paper towels, containers of water and brushes ready. Go over parts of the drawing with a wet brush to activate the watercolor effect. Let the painting dry on a counter or drying rack.
    7. Allow students use Crayola Metallic Markers to write their original haiku poems somewhere on the illustrations when dry.
    8. Display the haiku zoo together on a bulletin board or bind them to create a class book.
  • Standards

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properites of their lines and angles.

    SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

    VA: Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.

    VA: Demonstrate quality craftsmanship through care for and use of materials, tools, and equipment.

  • Adaptations

    Show the students jungle paintings by Henri Rousseau. He was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Primitive manner. He was a self-taught artists whose works are now world famous. Lead a class critique of his work focusing on his use of fantasy mixed with reality, jungle themes, bold use of color and texture.

    Have students make a collaborative jungle painting on large bulletin board paper to compliment a rainforest unit of study using Crayola tempera paints.

    Invite students use Crayola Window Markers to write haiku poems on the windows. Poems should be based on a unit of study that the class is learning on such as: the ocean, communities, or the states. A small illustration can accompany the writing if the student is inspired.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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