ALEX Learning Activity


Dancing to Haikus-Part 1: Identifying Syllables

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Hannah Bradley
System:Dothan City
School:Carver Magnet School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1681
Dancing to Haikus-Part 1: Identifying Syllables
Digital Tool/Resource:
Syllable Lesson Video
Web Address – URL:

The teacher will introduce students to the word syllable and demonstrate to students how to count syllables in words using the digital tool. Next, the teacher will read a haiku poem to students and have the students count the syllables in the haiku using the strategy demonstrated in the video clip. Lastly, the teacher and students will read a variety of haiku poems, with the teacher encouraging the students to identify the syllable pattern in each poem using non-locomotor movements. The students will use mental math to calculate the number of syllables present in each line of a haiku poem and describe how this pattern supplies rhythm in a haiku. 

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
4 ) Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song. [RL.2.4]

Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 2
2) Connect a variety of moments while manipulating the elements of dance through locomotor and non-locomotor movements.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Explore
Essential Questions:
EU: Choreographers use a variety of sources as inspiration and transform concepts and ideas into movement for artistic expression.
EQ: Where do choreographers get ideas for dances?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • prompts
  • elements of dance
  • locomotor
  • non-locomotor
  • dance phrase
  • structure
  • concept and inspirations
  • for choreography
  • dance phrase
  • improvisation
  • notation
Skill Examples:
  • Execute a sequence of movements in different ways (i.e., different levels, timing, directions, body parts).
  • Create a dance based on a short story, with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Create a dance to a short poem and explain why movement expressed the idea.
  • Improvise movement to verbs and adjectives. Recall the movement and sequence to repeat.
  • Using basic stick figures to draw shapes used in a series of movements.
MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 2
2. Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies such as counting on, making ten, decomposing a number leading to ten, using the relationship between addition and subtraction, and creating equivalent but easier or known sums.

a. State automatically all sums of two one-digit numbers.
Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • find sums and differences of basic facts through sums of 20.
  • use an efficient mental strategy (recall, inverse to addition, derived facts) to find the difference (large minus small) of two numbers less than twenty.
  • show fluency (efficiency and accuracy based on understanding) with sums of 20.
  • when given two one-digit numbers can state their sum with minimal hesitation (by the end of 2nd grade).
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Fluently
Students know:
  • how to use mental strategies to add and subtract within 20.
Students are able to:
  • use addition and subtraction strategies efficiently.
Students understand that:
  • fluency involves a mixture of "just knowing" answers, knowing answers from patterns, and knowing answers from the use of strategies. The word fluently is used in the standards to mean accurately, efficiently, and flexibly.
Diverse Learning Needs:
Essential Skills:
Learning Objectives:
M.2.2.1: Recall single-digit subtraction facts with minuends of 10 or less.
M.2.2.2: Recall single-digit addition facts with sums up to 10.
M.2.2.3: Apply addition and subtraction strategies.
Examples: doubles, doubles plus one, doubles minus one.
M.2.2.4: Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.

Prior Knowledge Skills:
  • Define addition and subtraction.
  • Recognize properties of operations.
  • Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
  • Apply signs +, -, = to actions of joining and separating sets.
  • Identify fact families to ten.
  • Recognize the value of zero.
  • Decompose numbers up to 5 using objects or drawings.
  • Compose numbers up to 5 using objects or drawings.
  • Count backward from 5.
  • Count forward to 5.
  • Write numerals from 0 to 10.
  • Represent a given numeral 1 to 10 with objects or drawings.
  • Count forward from a given number 1 to 10.
  • Model joining sets of objects to total 10.
  • Identify plus, minus, and equal signs.
  • Match numerals to objects or drawings.
  • Identify numerals 1 to 10.
  • Count 0 to 10.
  • Add and subtract numbers within 20 using objects, pictures and fingers.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.2.2 Represent addition as "add to/put together" and subtraction as "take from/take apart" with objects, drawings, fingers, or sounds (within 30).

Learning Objectives:

The students will describe how the syllables in words supply rhythm in a haiku poem. 

The students will connect a variety of moments while manipulating the elements of dance through non-locomotor movements. 

The students will fluently add within 20 using mental strategies. 

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

1. Play the video clip: Syllable Video (YouTube, 1:34 minutes). 

2. After allowing students to view the video clip, have the students practice counting syllables in words using the strategy in the video clip. Display a variety of words using an interactive whiteboard, a traditional whiteboard, or chart paper. 

3. Ask students to brainstorm additional methods they could use to count syllables in words (i.e. clapping hands, stomping feet, etc.). Group students into partners and have pairs practice counting syllables in the words using non-locomotor movement. 

4. Display this website for students: Haiku. Read the haiku "Beaches" to students. Next, ask the students to read the poem together as a class. After students are able to read the poem fluently, ask the students to count the syllables in each word. Record the number of syllables in each word. (Note: It would be helpful to have "Beaches" projected on an interactive whiteboard or written on chart paper to record this information.) Lastly, have students use mental math to identify the number of syllables present in each line of the poem.

5. Repeat the previous activity with at least two other haikus. Students should identify that all haikus have the same pattern: five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. The students may also identify other common elements of haikus, such as: although all haikus have a similar rhythm due to the syllabication, they rarely rhyme, and the topic of many haikus is nature. 

Assessment Strategies:

At the conclusion of the activity, the teacher can check for the students' understanding of the stated learning objectives by:

1. Asking students to describe the syllabication pattern of a haiku poem to a partner. 

2. Having students use a non-locomotor movement (clapping, stomping, etc.) to count the syllables in a word or phrase. 

3. Having students count the number of syllables in each word in a line of a poem, then using mental math to calculate the number of syllables present in the whole line of poetry. The teacher can require students to determine whether that line of poetry could fit into the haiku format. 

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need to have a computer with internet access and the ability to project sound and video. 

The teacher will need to have access to several haikus to present to students. A variety of haikus can be found on this website: Haiku.  

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: