Thursday, April 17, 2014

Poetry Month: Let's Write Some Haiku by Todd Burleson

Dear Colleagues,

April is poetry month.  Last week Jon Muth camme to visit my students.  In addition to sharing his magnificent new book "Hi, Koo" he spoke with us about his process and captivated the students with his large brush painting.  He created a priceless painting for us and absolutley delighted everyone with how warm and kind he was.  If you would like to see a short video that highlights his recent visit, you can view it below. 

Jon Muth Visit from Todd Burleson on Vimeo.

 Writing poetry is like rhubarb; people often love it or hate it.  I would like to help those of you who don't love it to see some pretty simple, but rewarding ways to bring poetry to your students.  We touch on these in our Resource Center times, but you might want to revisit them with your students.  You could use them as a 'center' for kids to go to when they are done, or as a 'choice' time activity too.

Because Haiku has been on our radar since Jon Muth's Hi, Koo visit, take a look at a resource that we've shared with all of the students this past week.  It's from Read, Write, Think.  It is available as an app for iPad and as a 'site' on desktops and laptops.  The app is pretty simple.  It reviews Haiku and then helps the kids brainstorm words.  After creating their own Haiku, the kids can tweak the background, font, etc.  The end result is a beautiful creation.  Imagine collecting all of these from your students as PDF's and turning it into an iBook that could be viewed by students.  That would be awesome! 

The app opens with a brief review of what a Haiku poem is.

It walks the students through brainstorming words to use in their poem.

A neat feature is after brainstorming the words, they appear on the screen as you start to write your poem.

The poem appears on a beautiful cherry blossom background, however, the kids can change both the font and backgrounds as they wish.

The final product can be emailed, saved for work later, or downloaded to the desktop to be used as desired.

Give this app a try.  I think you'll be pleased.  It's a fun way to explore Japanese Haiku poetry.  


  1. Excellent post, Todd. Thanks for sharing the video and this cool Haiku app. I've been teaching haiku to my son this week. Perfect!

  2. Tina, thanks! Jon is a wonderfully kind man and a mesmerizing artist. My students sat in stunned silence as he worked. This app is a terrific way to explore haiku and the finished product makes everyone feel very proud of their output.

  3. Cool, Todd! I've been playing this morning, and have come up with some sweet spring haiku. :) My only disappointment was that the title of the poem isn't included in the final product.

  4. You are a true film-maker Todd.
    From the opening credits to the inventive way you sped up Muth's actions while his image brushed into life, to the end, it's so seamlessly put together. And all while wrangling the library, orgaizing Group Blog & living the family life. Plus the community life. Plus the non-fiction p.b. author life. Bravo!

    This inspired me to write -

    Mr. Muth's Truth

    A brush strokes black ink
    Young minds see a world in lines
    Artist inspires

    1. Todd's library events even inspire folks thousands of miles away...
      Thanks Pat!

  5. Patty,
    I agree. I don't know why it doesn't show up; they even ask you for it. I wonder if that's a glitch? I'm glad you are having fun with it. Our students really liked it too.

  6. Jan,
    Sweet Haiku!
    I appreciate your kind words. My only regret for the film is that the audio was so bad. Even in post-processing it still sounds bad. However, the message is communicated. I love that Jon talks about the brush guiding him to make his art.
    Thanks for the many kind words.

    1. Well, back at 'ya.
      I have now shared this post & you should know that the video is really popular with a Haiku poetry teacher in South Carolina. You may hear from that corner.
      Keep the 5-7-5 rhythm going, Todd!

      And I think I shared this B-4, but your students are lucky to have you.

  7. Thanks for the app link. It looks like fun!

  8. Thanks Christie,
    Hope you have fun with it.

  9. Todd: Thank you for sharing the visit that you and the kids enjoyed from Jon Muth. Such an outstanding post. I appreciate you reminding me of the site Read, Write, Think is a great tool with many classroom resources and professional development. I look forward to trying a few Haiku poems myself. ~Suzy

  10. This is a cool app!
    I am going to try it.
    Creating Haiku.


    1. Brava! This Kid, for your spiffy Haiku!
      See what you've inspired, Todd?