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WritingFix...Journals...Mr. Stick's Haiku Summary

A Mr. Stick Journal Assignment from WritingFix
Corbett Harrison shares his Journal & Notebook Materials

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This on-line write-up was posted by WritingFix Webmaster Corbett Harrison, who invites you to visit his personal website, where he features dozens and dozens of his favorite lessons and resources from his classroom.

Mr. Stick's
Haiku Summary Pages

Task Overview:

Barry Lane, one of my favorite authors, suggested that we have kids "Haiku everything!" I love the haiku because kids HAVE to summarize--they can't plagiarize--and fitting a big idea into a very small, structured poem is hard. It's a great higher-level thinking activity for your students. Assign this journal task when you want kids to summarize a story or concept's BIG ideas and to really have to think hard while they do it!

Further notes about teaching haikus, which I always did very early on so that I could use the structure often:

  • I use two variations of the haiku: the seventeen syllable haiku, which is the harder format; and the seventeen word haiku, which is a bit easier but still a challenge.
  • In a true haiku, if you want to have an extra challenge (as you differentiate instruction for your stronger writers), there is a reference to nature. Challenge your students to add a simile about nature, or a hint at human nature.

Set the Stage:

What I say when assigning this: "Okay Students, your journal page needs to be divided into two halves. One half will contain a Mr. Stick haiku, and the other half will contain a series of haikus that show me you understood the big ideas or the big plot points in the story today. I would think four haikus would be a pretty good summary, but six might help you make a even greater one.

"Full credit today for using only seventeen words in each haiku, but I might give you a few bonus points if you challenge yourself to the seventeen syllable version!

"I, of course, am expecting all names and proper nouns correctly."

My Example:

After reading the act 4 from Oedipus Rex (one of my favorite texts ever!), I challenged my students to summarize the big points of the play so far. Will H.--one of my sophomores--did an exceptional job of using the seventeen-syllable version of haikus! If you click on it, you can view it larger so you can print it on an 8.5" x 11" page.

I'm Looking for more Samples:

If you use this Mr. Stick journal task with your students (grades 4-12) and end up with an example that you believe I can feature here, please contact me at I am especially looking for samples on topics other than mythology! If you photograph/scan a journal page that I end up featuring here, I will send you one of the NNWP's Print Publications as my way of saying "Thanks!"

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