Imperfect Haikus

This week at Shoesmith we experimented with haikus. Haiku is a short Japanese three-line poem written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Together we read the poem “Haiku for How to Screw Up Middle School,” by Liz Garton Scanlon.  Usually haikus are written about nature, but Scanlon decides to use haikus to describe the mistakes she made as a pre-teen. Pass notes in science/learn more than you wanted to/on cause and effect.  Most students found Scanlon’s poem relatable, just like the speaker, they too are struggling to navigate through puberty, homework, and friendships.  Despite embarrassing and sometimes bleak moments in Scanlon’s poem, she offers a ray of hope. Will this ever end? / Middle school is not forever/ You can do this thing. Scanlon advices readers that despite the turbulent times she experienced throughout middle school, she survived and so can they. By making mistakes we can learn and grow as individuals.

Inspired by Scanlon, students wrote their own haikus, describing the mistakes they’ve made in the past and how they overcame them.  Enjoy this week’s published poems.



Ms. Wesson’s 5th Grade
Group 1



Haiku for How to Mess Up Cheering
Christyn B.

Cheer is very hard.
It is so hard to jump up.
I cry on the inside.

Try and try again.
I fall and break my left leg.
I groan and whine.

My mom comes to help.
She gets an ice pack for me.
We go to the nurse.

Competition day,
I sit on the side to watch.
We win second place.

Went to Florida.
I was so happy to go.
We swam in the pool.

Later we went home.
My leg was healed, but still hurt.
Now I got to Cheer.


Haiku for How to Screw Up Reading
Jada E.

Reading is so hard.
These words are so confusing.
I don’t ask for help.

Grades begin to drop.
Parents will be so upset.
I’ll be in trouble.

I am practicing.
My grades are going back up.
Parents are now so happy.

I am so proud.
I’m now enjoying reading.
I can read new words.

Ready to read books.
I can understand reading.
Now I love reading.

Haiku for How To Screw Up Reading In 5th Grade
Alyce J.

Reading is so tough.
Sentences don’t make any sense.
My grades are very low.

I can’t show my mom.
Mom is going to be mad.
She will punish me.

Ask grandma for help.
Now I’m not failing reading.
My mom is so proud.




Ms. Wesson’s 5th Grade
Group 2


 Haiku for How to Screw Up School
Brandon L.

Why is school so hard?
Have to do a lot of work.
The work is so hard.

Why have any homework?
D’s on my progress report.
Need to do better.

I will try harder.
Listen to my teacher.
Stop talking in class.


How to Screw Up Dance
Shamari P.

I was very young.
All the attention on me.
I was so nervous.

When I was dancing.
I fell, but I played it off,
when I got off stage.

I started crying.
I knew I messed up a lot.
But we still had won.


Haiku for School
Nigel M.

School is going well.
At first, I was very nervous.
I kind of like school.

Though science is hard
I don’t like having a C.
must bring the grade up.

Really don’t like science.
As you can see it’s so tough.
Who created it?



Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
Group 1



Haiku for How to Screw Up Football
Nolon H.

I was in a game.
Another team caught the ball.
I was so angry.

I missed my first game,
because I didn’t have cleats.
I was frustrated.

My arm was broken.
I played when my arm was healed.
I made a touchdown.



Haiku for How to Screw Up Basketball
Elycia R.

Practice was a mess.
Why’d he make that stupid pass?
“Please catch the ball man.”

It wasn’t my fault.
Why would you blame me for that?
I missed a whole week.

Please cut me some slack.
Let’s just help each other out.
We can win this thing.


Haiku for Any Kind of Friendship
Eloise V.

People like to say,
that friendships last forever.
I can’t believe that.

Some are forever.
But now during these sad days,
everyone is fake.

Someone is your friend.
then they’re telling your secrets.
Now you are alone.

They become friends with,
the same people that hate you.
It’s like a heartbreak.

Who is the fake one?
How do you know who to trust?
They all seem to turn.

You will lose and gain.
Its one of the hardest things.
One day one will stay.





Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
Group 2


Haiku for How to Screw Up Dance in 5th Grade
Madison A.  

The routine is hard.
One wrong move, I’m out for good.
I tried my very best.

Still can’t get the moves.
Seems like people are judging.
Then I try again.

One part was correct.
I had fifteen steps to go.
Completed them all.


How to Screw Up Math
Celiyah B.

The math is so tense.
I did not do my homework.
I can not focus.

I want to keep up.
I really want to do well.
Thank you, Ms. Henry.


Haiku for Messing Up the Family Meal
Gerald S.

Cooking is so hard.
The ingredients had burned.
I don’t want any help.

People got very mad.
I asked for some helping hands.
I made some good food.




“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.