Poetry and Haiku Tunnels
Art is a valuable tool for teaching any subject matter, but it is especially effective in teaching English. The objective is to get students to embrace learning English, and this is exactly the approach we take at Astor International School - we see it as less of a duty and more of a fun and entertaining activity.
Art is also an exceptional way to ensure that students remember and retain the knowledge of what they have learned. Though English is about grammar, reading and writing, it has its fair share of content knowledge that students need to remember.
While doing a poetry unit at Astor, it was evident that hands-on activities were always encouraged and enjoyed by the students. We worked on teaching and writing a Haiku poem, using art. A Haiku poem is a Japanese three-lined short poem. The lines have five, seven and five syllables, respectively. Students learned to count syllables by clapping and sounding the word out verbally. Once the students had written their Haiku poems they were presented using Haiku tunnels.
Tunnel books were originally from the mid-18th century. Steering away from the traditional pen and paper poems, students presented their poems through a tunnel book. Connecting art with poetry happened seamlessly, as poetry is art, but in written form.
Students had five pieces of paper. One for the title, each line of the poem, and one to set the scene in the background. They cut a hole in the first four papers, and decorated them to the theme of the poem, to present the tunnel with a 3D effect. They had a whale of a time designing each piece and attaching them to create the tunnel effect.
This cross-curriculum teaching combining poetry and art brought about many benefits throughout the process. Visual learners greatly benefitted from this project as they were able to see their poems come to life. It assisted students’ learning and improved their knowledge retention, as they have a visual aid to remind them about what they did.