Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Haiku Coding Activity for Grade 5 -TLLP Activity 2

This is the second in a series of blogs connected to the Teacher Learning and Leadership (TLLP) of which I am a part. Our goal was to “Investigate ways that students can use Computational Thinking, across the Curriculum, to problem solve, create and remix - maximizing available technology.”

I need to thank Scott McKenzie @ScottMcKenzie27 for this great idea. He let me know that he got it from Kim Gill @Gill_Ville. Regardless, I am sharing it because it has so many great curriculum connections and it really "bumped-up" a Haiku activity that had gotten stale for me.  Additionally, it allows even early English Language Learners to experience wonderful success.  Finally, there are some great connections to decomposition in Computational Thinking.

A few Curriculum Connections taken from Ontario Grade 5 Writing

1.1 identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a variety of writing form.

1.2 generate ideas about a potential topic using a variety of strategies and resources.

2.6 identify elements of their writing that need improvement, using feedback from the teacher and peers, with a focus on specific features.

2.7 make revisions to improve the content, clarity, and interest of their written work, using several types of strategies.

2.4 use sentences of different lengths and structures.

3.8 produce pieces of published work to meet identified criteria based on the expectations related to content, organization, style, use of conventions, and use of presentation strategies.


1./ Introduce Haiku to students by way of this book “Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys” by Bob Raczka and Peter H. Reynolds. This makes the idea of this poetry more accessible to boys who are, sometimes, a little more reluctant to create poetry. There are also some great resources and activities at that website.

2./ Allow the students the opportunity to recognize the pattern themselves? What do all of these poems have in common? This is decomposition - the first step in Computational Thinking.

  • Three lines - not rhyming.
  • 5 syllables followed by 7 syllables followed by 5 syllables,
  • Each poem tells a short story or has a complete idea.

3./ Lots of scrap paper, pencils and GO!  

  • Let them create.
  • At least three is the expectations, but there is no limit on creativity.
  • Reinforce the idea of tinkering - massage the language to get more from less.
  • Encourage sharing and, most importantly, syllable counting and checking.

4./ Have them select a favourite and present it using two sprites on Scratch. One sprite to read the poem, while the other claps or drums or meows the syllables. Additionally, they are to add a variable counter for Haiku Lines and Syllables.  

My students were familiar with Scratch, but at different stages of proficiency. My mid-year arrivals are still beginners, while others in the class have long since eclipsed my skill level.

I used this example as a guideline. It also provided me with a comfortable way to introduce the upcoming Health Unit on Human Development and Puberty.

  • Struggling students were allowed to use my code and remix it.
  • Students with limited proficiency copied code from handouts, and were encouraged to look for patterns that could be duplicated.
  • Students comfortable with the program created it on their own - referencing my code when necessary.
  • Advanced students were encouraged to find a more interesting approach to the code and the final product.

We shared our final products on Edmodo in order to allow other students to offer positive feedback.

Here are some examples.  Nevaeh's Haiku Diya's Haiku Hadil (ESL) Haiku

Have Fun!

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