student haiku from the Japan unit in seventh grade Social Studies, teacher Victoria Blockhus

In the California state curriculum, seventh grade Social Studies is world history and culture. Victoria, who is our seventh grade teacher for this subject, is especially enthusiastic about the unit on Japan. She has taken a teaching workshop at Stanford University on the Tale of Genjii and this summer she is in Japan as part of a group organized by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.

She likes to include a creative assignment in each unit they study, and for the Japan unit this is haiku. Of course, most students have already had some sort of 'haiku' writing experince, but perhaps not in the context of learning about Japanese culture. Victoria has them write in classic 5/7/5 form, building their haiku around a traditional season reference. Here are two that I thought had an appealing simplicity and lightness in both their language and imagery:

      Shining white snowflakes
      brush on me as they drift down
      I open my arms

      Sophie C.

      Pinkness everywhere
      the wind blows them here and there
      petals in my hair

      Maia F


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