Happy National Poetry Month 2014! This year, I’m doing riddle-ku, which I have made up to be mask poems (poems written from the point of view of objects or animals) written in the very traditional 5-7-5 syllable count of haiku. (Or senryu, which follow the count of haiku but are about things or people instead of nature.) And the idea is that students try to guess who or what has “written” the poem. You can see my sneak peek sample here. These riddle-ku would make a great way to share a poem with your students every day. It is totally fine to just read them and make guesses for enjoyment! You don’t need to do anything more than that! If you’d like to extend your discussion a bit, both to help students start to gain a better understanding of poetry and/or to meet your ELA standards,?here are some things you could ask about after kids guess the answer (with or without the help of the photo clues):
- Were there any words you didn’t know the meaning of? Then discuss the meaning.
- Which words or phrases gave the answer away?
- Did you like this riddle-ku? Why or why not? All answers are valid!
- Haiku don’t rhyme, but sometimes poets sneak rhyming words into all sorts of non-rhyming poems. Did you notice any rhyming words here?
- Did this poem remind you of anything from your own life?
- Traditional haiku are about nature and refer to the season. Were there any words here to tell you what season it might be?
- Metaphors in haiku are controversial. Some poets use them, and some say they don’t belong in haiku. Almost every one of these riddle-ku uses a metaphor or simile to compare two unlike things. Did you hear two things being compared in this poem? What were they? What else could you compare [one of the two things] to?
Besides discussing the poems, you could:
- Have kids write their own riddle poems, either in haiku or not. They could exchange poems or you could create a riddle display for the rest of the school to guess.
- Find another poem on the same topic to share and compare/contrast.
- Invite a volunteer to perform each day’s poem, perhaps adding hand or body motions to give further clues.
- Let students create riddle art, where they draw (or take a photo of) a super-close-up of an object for other people to guess.
I hope you have as much fun reading these riddle-ku as I did writing them! I’d love to hear from you about what worked well?in your classroom or library, and I’d love to see any photos you’d care to share! Thanks for sharing National Poetry Month with me! Cheers, Laura