Thursday, May 18, 2006

Haiku Baby

Every year around this time my classes study Japan. We go all the way from pre-history to the modern era, but the bulk of our study is focused on the Heian period through the Tokugawa Shogunate (roughly 700s to 1800s). We study the maps, learn the history, debate the politics, and even play a Risk-like game about the warring states period. The kids LOVE the game, and we manage to tie all the other pieces of instruction to it through rewards and punishments of rice. The kids are broken into castle groups, and their goal is to take over the all other castles and become shogun of all Japan. We have a huge map of the provinces on the wall with color-coded pushpins to represent armies. Rice is the primary currency, and the kids are constantly looking for ways to get more so they can expand their armies. This week, one opportunity to earn extra rice came with our study of haiku poetry. We have a section in our textbook explaining the form and giving some famous examples by Basho. We went through this section carefully, and then they had the chance to earn extra rice by writing and performing their own Haiku. They should be 5 7 5 and they should be at least sort of about nature. Here are a few examples (some are better than others:

Blood, blood, blood, blood, blood
The leaves of autumn look red
men fall the same way

Blue skies are the best
We can see the sea from here
We love the sand dunes

Horses thunder down
soldiers fall like raindrops
Horses wander free

Butterflies flutter
I see the sun shine on me
Breezes flutter too

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