Valentines for the Unlovable in Haiku

14 02 2008

Picture 29 students shouting these things at the teacher to write on the board: feet! toe nails! toilet! oooooohhhh! the bathroom! chicken heads! sweaty socks! locker room! rats! nappy head! port-a-potty! broccoli! stains on clothes! flatulence! uuuuuughhh–you’re nasty, man! roaches, spiders, snakes, scars, mud, deer guts, moldy bread, gum on the bottom of desks, trash cans…

From this list, students chose their favorites, or invented new ones and we wrote haiku valentine poems to things that are usually repulsive. I tried to get them to put a positive spin on them at the end if they could, but there’s really not much positive about flatulence (though this student ended her poem with “I feel better now”). I bought really cool looking scrap booking paper with glitter and metallic designs on it and had them write their haikus on the paper… from a distance, my room looks really catchy. Up close, you will find tributes to a variety of nasty, repulsive things. Such is life: everything’s beautiful from a distance.

This activity was really useful in terms of helping the kids learn about revision. Since you have to squeeze your words into that tight structure, you have to be really inventive and it takes some time playing with the words. They got frustrated, but they were pleased I think with their final products. I didn’t sit down all day, but it was really exhilarating to hear the kids talking about and manipulating language in surprising and interesting ways.

Here’s mine (see if you can guess what it is):

Your slimy, prickly

skin: I want to wash my hands.

Marinate then bake.