The Kid Should See This

How to write haiku poems with Kwame Alexander

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What is a haiku and how do you write one? Poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander introduces the 5-7-5 syllable pattern of this centuries-old style of Japanese poetry.

He also demonstrates how to brainstorm on any topic so that your haiku and poems have detail, emotion, an a-ha, and can “show, not tell.”

“Once I get all my words down, then I have enough words to then go and do what? …write my poem using all the words that are on my brainstorm list. There it is, and that’s how I create my poem from these words.

“Three lines, 17 syllables, big aha at the end, and I’ve got my haiku. It’s really not that difficult; I think you all can knock it out of the park.”

The first half of this Teacher Created Materials video shares Alexander’s introduction. The second half documents how Alexander leads a community-written haiku in class.


Kwame Alexander is a prolific poet, educator, and award-winning author known for his impactful work in children’s literature. With dozens of books to his name, including the Newbery Medal-winning book The Crossover and the Kadir Nelson-illustrated Newbery Honor Book The Undefeated, which also won the Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, Alexander has left an indelible mark on the literary world.

Teaching Kids Haiku is one in a series of videos with Alexander and TCM. In the lesson below, he shares just a few of the ingredients that can be found in a poem.


Find more poetry on TKSST, including:
β€’Β β€˜The Hill We Climb’ by Amanda Gorman
β€’ The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry, animated
β€’ We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks, a poem told with paper-cut puppetry
β€’Β Preschool Poets: Animated shorts based on poems by 4 & 5-year -olds

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