Haiku Moment: Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand, Elementary [NOTE: out of print]

"Through inquiry, examples, and audio-visual materials, students will discover the essence of haiku and eventually apply what they learn in this unit in a final activity, writing their own haiku. This unit consists of an opening activity, plus three main activities and optional closing activities." (text taken from SPICE)
Softcover - $31.95 includes CD-ROM with 12 images/audio CD
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)
Citation Key
Curriculum Unit
Average: 4.6 (5 votes)


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Haiku Moment curriculum unit

Field of Interest/Specialty: Work Projects
Posted On: 01/13/2020

Review by Pamela Shuman Cooper (May 2011)
The Haiku Moment: Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand - Secondary contains many ideas that could be adapted for the seventh and eighth grade students with whom I work. The curriculum unit is aimed at cultivating an understanding of the connection between Japanese culture, the natural environment, and haiku. It is pointed out early in the booklet that although haiku is often incorporated in language arts programs, the link is not always made between the importance of the aesthetic themes and cultural values reflected through haiku.
This curriculum unit provides six lessons relating to haiku. The first lesson focuses on structure and themes. This is a lesson I would consider adapting for use with a seventh or eighth grade class. I found the discussion of kigo particularly interesting. The second lesson presents a focus on Japanese aesthetic principles as they relate to haiku. Through the use of slides and background information provided in the booklet, this lesson focuses on the concepts of simplicity and suggestion. The concepts of spontaneity and rhythm are also discussed. Lesson three focuses upon the importance of the theme of nature in haiku. On an accompanying CD, one can listen to 5 examples of haiku read in Japanese and then read in English. The CD also includes a segment of minyo, Japanese folk music. After discussion of the above mentioned lessons, I think it would be particularly interesting to play minyo while having students write haiku. The fifth lesson focuses on translating haiku from Japanese to English, and the sixth lesson introduces optional activities. One activity I found of particular interest, perhaps for older students, suggested having students report on how certain British and American poets were influenced by the haiku form.
I found this curriculum unit, comprised of a booklet and two accompanying CD’s, very informative and “user friendly” with regards to broadening an understanding of haiku.

Cultural Poetic Curriculum Unit

Field of Interest/Specialty: World History
Posted On: 05/31/2013

Wendy Moore
Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy
Middle School 6-8
Communications/Social Studies
The Haiku Moment: Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand is divided into two parts: Elementary and Secondary. For this review I focus on the Secondary secondary section. The unit includes information on poetic terms such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, pun, assonance and Kigo. Other included information include a pronunciation guide in Japanese and provides questions. The examples of Haiku's and images that the Haikus were based on include Ancient Japanese Haikus, modern Haikus, professional and amateur to give students a wide variety to look at.
The specific lessons provided for the Haikus can be used to teach other forms of poetry. The curriculum provides lessons on finding the theme, thesis and subject; rhythm and terminology. These lessons would be useful in comparing forms of poetry.
Japanese culture is also taught by looking at the Haikus such as the importance of spontaneity and craftsmanship.
The images provide excellent examples of motivation and can be shown to students to have them write, then look at the ancient versions. How are the themes similar and different.
I would use this curriculum in middle school English to support a unit on poetry. The lessons all together are much longer than I have to spend on poetry, however bits and pieces can be used to encourage creative writing and comparing themes. I would also use it in my Social Studies course to show Japanese culture and Ancient history.

Review of The Haiku Moment: Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand for Kindergarten

Field of Interest/Specialty: Kindergarten
Posted On: 05/16/2011

Caitlin Evans
Kindergarten Teacher
Winchester Thurston School
This curriculum unit is an introduction to Japanese Haiku for students at the elementary level. It is one of the few units I have found through this seminar that is appropriate and valuable for Kindergarten children, because they are typically more observant of the changing seasons, more connected to nature, and are still more struck with wonder when they encounter natural phenomena than older students. They are also learning to build descriptive vocabulary, identify syllables in words, and my be generally less inhibited and freer to express themselves through poetry than those in higher grades.
The Japanese aesthetic principles of simplicity, suggestion and spontaneity are used in this ancient form of poetry that usually (but not always) follows and 5-7-5 syllable format. The form does not rhyme, but rather has a rhythm, and is most often inspired by human emotional reflection of seasonal changes. The unit encourages understanding, appreciation, and visualization of this poetic form, and teaches children how to write their own after listening to a few pieces. There are four simple, sequential, well outlined activities that include looking at slides and listening to tapes. There are also optional activities and reading lists for both teachers and students at the end of the book. There is also a book with valuable activities for secondary school students.
My only suggestion for improvement of this unit would be general updating. The cassette tapes and slides could be replaces with a compact disc that could be used on a laptop and projected on a smart board.

Review of The Haiku Moment: Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand

Field of Interest/Specialty: Kindergarten
Posted On: 05/16/2011

Haiku Curriculum Rating

Field of Interest/Specialty: Gifted
Posted On: 06/01/2010

Ciminy St.Clair
Gifted K-4 Teacher
Norwin School District
A Review Of A Curriculum Unit- The Haiku Moment: Seeing The World In A Grain Of Sand
Appropriate for K-6
I reviewed The Haiku Moment: Seeing The World In A Grain Of Sand. The 5 lesson unit walks a child through the ins and outs of a haiku. The five lessons include- Reading Haikus, Characteristics of Haikus, Visualizing Haikus, Writing Haikus, and Optional Activities. The first lesson, Reading Haikus, encourages students to relate their own experiences to experiences described in a haiku. Haikus originated in Japan and were popular in the 17 and 18th centuries. Haikus continue to remain popular among students and adults alike. They often describe nature or human experiences. Within the second lesson, Characteristics of Haiku, it examines four examples written by second graders. The lesson plans for students to look at syllable patterns and compares the four poems. The students will realize the poems do not need to rhyme and form complete sentences. Visualizing Haikus is the third lesson which examines six slides. The students learn how to visualize the illustrations and show examples. Next, Writing Haikus allow student to write their own poems and students observe the challenges and pleasures of writing. The students may also experiment with wording and word choice. Finally, Optional Activities lists six extensions to the unit including creating a bulletin board, fieldtrips to a Japanese garden or park to provide inspiration, or compiling a class book.
I believe this curriculum unit would be a valuable instructional tool. Students, grades K-6, could benefit from the unit. When introducing haiku poems, students from various age groups and intelligence levels can create haikus. I would use this unit in conjunction with other lessons on various types of poems, including onomatopoeias, similes, and metaphors.