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):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 2
2 ) Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. (See standard 6, Grade 1, for a list of mental strategies.) By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers. [2-OA2]

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
4NPO3a: Add and subtract:
  • Whole numbers, or
  • Fractions with like denominators, or
  • Decimals through hundredths.

NAEP Statement::
4NPO3f: Solve application problems involving numbers and operations.

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.

Insight 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.
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: