Poetry – Haiku

Haiku Poems – How To Write Them


You can ignore the Twitter part. I want you to post your Haiku to comments.

Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines.haiku

Haikus go like this.
First you write five syllables,
then seven, then five.

Here is a classic:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense


What is a syllable?

A syllable is a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; e.g., there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.

The word “Haiku” has two syllables:  Hai-ku; the word “introduction” has four syllables:  in-tro-duc-tion.

This site may (or may not) help.


Now you try. Write some Haiku and post them in comments before next class. Remember to follow the rules of the poem, AND create a mood, emotion, or feeling with your poem.

Challenge: try to write at least one Haiku about the Middle Ages or Catherine, Called Birdy.

Poetry – How to Write an Acrostic Poem


Acrostic poems are one of the easiest to write. Select a topic, then think of a key word (or group of words) related to that topic and write it vertically. Add phrases or sentences to each letter to develop your poem.  Try the acrostic poem helper below if you need some help.

How to Write an Acrostic Poem

Great EASY Acrostic Poem Creator

* Each line should be a phrase or sentence!

Acrostic poems seem easy at first, but looks can be deceiving. You must really take your time and choose powerful words. Avoid overused words (dead words) like nicebad, or awesome . Instead, try for strong words like breathtakinghorrific, or glorious.

Capture the heart of your topic!

Post your acrostic in the comments. Table points if everyone at your table posts by NEXT ENGLISH CLASS.

Here’s an example:

Catherine, Called Birdy

A knight’s daughter

Trapped like a bird in a gilded cage

Her fate sealed

Expectations thrust upon her

Rebelling against them

In time realization dawns

New understanding comes at last

Eventually learning to free her mind

Poetry – How to Write a Ballad


“There are twelve months in all the year,

As I hear many men say,

But the merriest month in all the year

Is the merry month of May.”

As we continue to learn about the Middle Ages, we will learn about a popular form of poetry called the ballad. Ballads are lyrical poems. Many popular songs are written in this style.

Ballads tell of an event. They were often used to spread the news, provide entertainment, or create a “bigger than real life” story.

how to write a ballad

You will choose a topic from the Middle Ages to write your ballad about.

Ballad Writing Tips

  • Ballads often have verses of four lines
  • usually have a rhyming pattern: either abab or aabb or abcb (usually the easiest to rhyme)
  • repetition often found in ballads
    • entire stanzas can be repeated like a song’s chorus
    • lines can be repeated but each time a certain word is changed
    • a question and answer format can be built into a ballad: one stanza asks a questions and the next stanza answers the question
  • Ballads contain a lot of dialogue.
  • Action is often described in the first person
  • Two characters in the ballad can speak to each other on alternating lines

On top of spaghetti


Ballad – student example

HOMEWORK – Write a Ballad and post it to the comments here. Minimum length – 4 stanzas (4 quatrains) with a refrain

Here is a popular and classic love sone written in ballad form. Lyrics are below the video.



Here is one of Ol’ King Cole’s favorites:

The Cremation of Sam McGee


Maroon 5 Lyrics – She Will Be Loved

Are you starting to find the ryhming patterns inherent in ballads? Can you hear the beat? The driving rhythm of the music and the poetry?


Poetry – Write a Cinquain

The American poet Adelaide Crapsey invented the modern form of poetry known as American Cinquain, pronounced (sin-cane), inspired by Japanese haiku and tanka. It creates a word picture and mood. Cinquains do not rhyme.

A cinquain is a five line poem. It has very strict rules about the number of syllables in each line.


Line 1 (2 syllables) States the poem’s subject or topic (usually a noun)

Line 2 (4 syllables) Describes the subject with 2 words (noun + adjective or 2 adjectives)

Line 3 (6 syllables) Expresses the subject’s action with 3 words (often 3 verbs)

Line 4 (8 syllables) Expresses an emotion or feeling about the subject

Line 5 (2 syllables) Restates the subject with another single word, reflecting what you’ve already said. (usually a noun)

Try this site if you want help counting the syllables for use in your poem.

Now it’s your turn to practice. Look at an artwork, or image, and write what you see, feel, and know about it. You may choose from one of the following artworks or images about the Middle Ages, or find one of your own.


Compose a cinquain, and post it in the comments section below for your homework. Include your name, class, and table number in your post. Table points awarded for everyone who posts, with bonus points awarded to tables where everyone in the group posts.


Here are some examples:

Bravery, free
Fighting, loving, yelling
One of the bravest men ever

The king
Powerful, rich
Ruling powerful kingdoms
Everyone wants to please him

Here’s fun one from Antonia:

Faithful, loving
Serene, playful, purring
Affectionate, loyal best friend

Be prepared to read your poem out loud in your next English class. BE your poem. Be like the castle, king, knight, or peasant that you write about. Does your poem capture the mood and paint a mental picture in our minds?

Remember the two components of a poem that you are trying for:

  1. Structure/Organization – Does my poem follow the rules?
  2. Mood/Emotion – Does my poem create a mood and evoke an emotion? Does it paint a picture in the mind?


Social Structure Journal Prompt

7th grade Social Structure imageYou have shown and explained feudalism in your pyramid and paragraph. If feudalism can be represented in a pyramid, what does the social structure of the 7th grade student body look like? Think in terms of groups, not individuals. Explain why you placed each group where you did. Explain where you fit in.

– Show and Tell for Feudalism

– Show and Tell for 7th grade
– Where do you fit in?

What does the structure look like? What shape can you use to show it? Ok, now draw it and clearly label it.

Now explain it in words. Write a descriptive paragraph explaining how it works.

Due: Next S.S. class (you’ll have to finish it on your own if you don’t finish in class)

Feudalism structure


We begin our study of the Middle Ages in Europe, with a focus on the Feudal system of government.  Please read the following links and other information on Feudalism to help support the videos and discussions we have in class. You will create a Feudal Pyramid to show what the system looked like. Use pictures, symbols and words to SHOW how the system worked. Click  HERE, and HERE for student examples of Feudal pyramids.

Assignment – create a feudal pyramid that shows the relationships of each group and how this social system worked. Use images, pictures, drawings, diagrams, symbols, and words. Be creative and make yours unique.


Tues. (SS 2 / E block) or Wed. (SS 1 /A block)

Feudal Lifeimages

Feudal System

The Feudal System was introduced to England following the invasion and conquest of the country by William I (The Conqueror).

The system had been used in France by the Normans from the time they first settled there in about 900AD. It was a simple, but effective system, where all land was owned by the King. One quarter was kept by the King as his personal property, some was given to the church and the rest was leased out under strict controls.

A simple plan showing how the Feudal System works

Feudal System


The King

The King was in complete control under the Feudal System. He owned all the land in the country and decided who he would lease land to. He therefore only allowed those men he could trust to lease land from him. However, before they were given any land they had to swear an oath to remain faithful to the King at all times. The men who leased land from the King were known as Barons, they were wealthy, powerful and had complete control of the land they leased from the King.

coat of armsBarons / Lords / Tennants in Chief

Barons leased land from the King which was known as a manor. They were known as the Lord of the Manor and were in complete control of this land. They established their own system of justice, minted their own money and set their own taxes. In return for the land they had been given by the King, the Barons had to serve on the royal council, pay rent and provide the King with Knights for military service when he demanded it. They also had to provide lodging and food for the King and his court when they traveled around the country. The Barons kept as much of their land as they wished for their own use, then divided the rest among their Knights. Barons were very rich.


Knights were given land by a Baron in return for military service when demanded by the King. They also had to protect the Baron and his family, as well as the Manor, from attack. The Knights kept as much of the land as they wished for their own personal use and distributed the rest to villeins (serfs). Although not as rich as the Barons, Knights were quite wealthy.

peasantSerfs / Peasants / Villeins

Serfs, sometimes known as villeins, were given land by Knights. They had to provide the Knight with free labour, food and service whenever it was demanded. Villeins had no rights. They were not allowed to leave the Manor and had to ask their Lord’s permission before they could marry. Villeins were poor.

Poetry – How to Write a Free Verse Poem

poetryThere are no rules when writing a free verse.

Q. What’s the rhyme scheme? Whatever you want! Or none at all!

Q. What’s the rhythm?  Whatever you want, but it should have rhythm.

Q. How many syllables in each line? As many as you want!

Q. How many lines should it have? As many as you want (as long as you want at least five)!

None of that matters. It’s all about expressing your thoughts and feelings using strong words and sensory language.

Here is an example. The poet takes an ordinary event and makes you think what she is thinking, feel what she is feeling.

While it sounds easy, be careful. It’s not. You really have to work hard to find that perfect words. Since there are no rules, there are no excuses for not doing it just right.

HOMEWORK – Write a Free Verse poem and post it to COMMENTS – Due Thurs.