Haiku Activities & Games

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Haiku poetry is a structured form of Japanese poetry that may be unfamiliar to students. Use the activities and games in this lesson to help students experience haiku poetry and play with language as they create their own haiku.

Haiku Poetry

Haiku is a popular poetic form of Japanese poetry, but the majority of your students may have limited experience with this type of poetry. The concrete structure for the number of total syllables and the number of syllables per line or phrase can make haiku a more difficult form of poetry for students to use. Let's examine some activities to help students explore and create haiku.

Identifying Haiku


  • Copies of poems (some that are haiku, some that are not)

Teacher Directions

  1. Review the characteristics of haiku and provide examples of haiku poetry.
  2. Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a set of poems. Some of the poems provided to each group should be haiku, while the rest of the poems should be other forms of poetry.
  3. Have the groups read each poem and decide whether or not it is haiku.
  4. Once all the groups have read and talked about each poem, have the class discuss which poems their groups categorized as haiku.

Discussion Questions

  • How could you differentiate haiku from other forms of poetry?
  • Were there any poems that you were uncertain about categorizing?

Visualizing Haiku


  • Haiku poems (print and/or digital)
  • Poster board
  • Art supplies (pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc.)

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