Posted in Writing Ideas

Playing With Haiku

Let’s have some fun writing Haiku poems.

Here are six lesson ideas for you to try out with your children.

Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. In its English interpretation Haiku poems consist of 3 lines.  The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables.  The lines rarely rhyme.

Here is a Haiku to help you remember the syllable count:

I am first with five,
then seven in the middle,
five again to end.

You can have great fun with the children using Haiku to sit alongside spelling and grammar activities. Here’s how.

Definition Haiku

Here we are going to write the definition of a word from our spelling word list as a Haiku. The children will need a dictionary to find the definitions and some suitable synonyms.

So, if we took the word ‘disappear’ this is what our Haiku might look like:

Be quite out of sight,
be impossible to find,
fade away, vanish.

The definition Haiku for the word ‘mischievous’ might look like this:

Likes causing trouble,
plays harmless tricks on people,
naughty, rascally.

Haiku poems do not usually have a title but, in this case you could put the word from the spelling list as the title. Or it could be left off and a partner has to try and work out what the word is.

Click here for a free Powerpoint lesson to use with your class to get them writing ‘Definition Haiku’.

Meaning Haiku

This idea is very similar to the previous one. Again we are going to use words from our spelling list. This time the Haiku needs to show that the writer understands the word.

For example, if we take the word ‘experiment’ we might end up with a Haiku like this:

To see if it is
true, we must now carry out
an experiment.

Our meaning Haiku for the word ‘recommend’ looks like this:

If you get toothache
I recommend you visit
a dentist at once.

Synonym and Antonym Haiku

Use a thesaurus to search out the synonyms and antonyms and then count syllables to get your Haiku. The following is made up of synonyms for ‘big’.

Enormous, vast, large
gargantuan, colossal,
whopping, stupendous.

Again the original word, in this case ‘big’ could be used as a title to the poem.

We could use the same word, ‘big’ to write our antonym Haiku.

Microscopic, small,
petite, miniature, teeny,.
minuscule, puny.

Click here for a free Powerpoint lesson to use with your class to get them writing ‘Synonyms Haiku’.

List Haiku

This one is very simple. It is just a list. Any list at all – football teams, dinosaurs, weather, wild animals, weather, car makes, food – so long as you can fit them into the Haiku form. Here is one of the planets – and in their order from the Sun!

Mercury, Venus,
Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus, Neptune.

Semi-Colon Haiku 1

The first use of the semi-colon is when it is used to divide up a longer, more detailed list. If the list was short, eg ‘Go to the shop and buy lemonade, bread, ice-cream.’ we would simply use commas.

If it was a more detailed list – ‘Go to the shop and buy two large bottles of lemonade; a small sliced loaf; a tub of chocolate ice cream.‘ then we would use semi-colons.

So, the rules for writing our semi-colon Haiku are – a list on any topic with three items, two semi-colons and a full stop. We will also include a title.


Cold, wet walks to school;
no outdoor play at break time;
leaky wellingtons.

Semi-Colon 2

The second use of the semi-colon is to separate two or more sentences – but the sentences must be closely connected in their meaning. As in these pairs of sentences:

Jason’s off school; he’s got a bad cold
I’ve seen a ghost; it was so scary.
Ann needs a book; Sam does too.

Notice, you don’t need a capital letter after a semi-colon.

Here is a semi-colon Haiku using two sentence which need a semi-colon between them.

Kat has stopped playing
netball; she says she fancies
gymnastics instead.

We hope you and your children enjoy these ideas.

If you would like more Haiku lesson ideas click here.

Have fun!

Mike and David – Goodeyedeers


A writer of short stories.

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