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Haiku It Up

An At-Home Literacy Lesson Plan Crafted by BGCHarlem Literacy Specialist Kristin Richardson Jordan

Photo: Unsplash


In honor of New York Music Month, we are taking a look at music, emotions, and sound. This week, we will focus on the emotions “joy” and “sadness” while writing Haikus.

The following literacy activity allows students to explore music and sound.

Start by encouraging your child to explore the haikus and music listed below and then to craft your own Haiku using music as inspiration.

ANNOUNCEMENT: We’re going live on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays! Click here if you want your child to participate in our virtual after school program.

Materials: A partner, blank paper, pen or pencil, Internet access/YouTube

Addresses Common Core Standards:


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace

(You may click here to print the lesson or the student may view the lesson online and write his/her answers on a separate piece of paper)


Haiku It Up

Step 1: A Sad Haiku and Music

This activity introduces students to the concept of mood through the vehicle of music and weather. The mood is the feeling, or the atmosphere, created by an array of feelings the work evokes in the audience.

For example, a story that begins with “It was a dark and stormy night” will probably have an overall dark, ominous or suspenseful mood.

Feeling sad and lost

Try to find some piece of me

Don’t know who I am

What do the song and the Haiku above have in common? Why do you think your feelings matter? We will allow time and space to share how these connect and talk about the importance of feelings in our virtual classroom this week!

Step 2: A Joyful Haiku and Music

Let’s listen to another song and Haiku. This time around, we will focus on the emotion of “joy.”

Celebrate ourselves

Know you and love yourself more

Happy where you are

Follow Up Discussion Questions:

Which of the songs above speaks to you, and how?

What’s one new thing you learned while listening to these songs?

Can you think of any other songs that come to mind in connection to the emotions listed above?


“A Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.” (

Syllable: “A unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word.” (

Step 3: Make Your Own Haiku

Pick one of the emotional states mentioned above, “joyful” or “sadness,” and write your own Haiku. You can use either of these songs as inspiration.


Guided Questions

  • Which Clip would you identify as the calm clip, and why?

  • What was the weather like for the calm clip?

  • What were the facial expressions of the characters?

  • Can you describe their moods?

  • Which clip would you identify as being dramatic, and why?

  • What was the weather like? What were the facial expressions of the characters?

  • Can you describe their moods?

Bonus Question

  • Which clip did you have the strongest reaction to, and why?


Follow BGCHarlem social media channels for daily updates. Students, we would love to see your work! Be sure to upload a picture of yourself with your completed lessons using the hashtag #BGCHarlem.  

View our additional 'Resources For Students & Parents for Dealing with COVID-19' HERE

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