Haikus to impress | ParkRecord.com

Haikus to impress

Gina Barker, The Park Record

Sixth graders attending Ecker Hill Middle School swept The Salt Lake Tribune Jello-O Haiku Contest, an annual competition inviting those of all ages from around the state to submit their work. The contest was broken into three age categories, adult, 7th thru 12th grade students and kindergarten thru 6th grade students, and more than 800 entries were submitted.

Ecker Hill students took the first-, second- and third-place spots in their age bracket for their haikus.

Deborah DeKoff, the sixth grade English teacher responsible for assigning the haiku contest in her class, said she has never missed a year since the competition began six years ago.

"I’ve encouraged students to write and submit these haikus," DeKoff said, "and in the past I’ve had students place or receive an honorable mention. However, when I opened the paper the day the results ran I was blown away to see all the elementary winners were my students."

The poems were a one-day project in class where students were asked to write five haikus, edit the poems as homework and turn the best, final draft in the following day. Students selected the poems that would go on to The Salt Lake Tribune to be judged. DeKoff walked her students through what a haiku is, a Japanese poetry style consisting of 17 syllables in three lines, alternating the number of syllables from five to seven and five again.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune article, eight members of the Utah State Poetry Society judged the haiku contest, looking for "proper style and oringinality."

DeKoff said she tries to find relatable ways to work in material, giving students a reason to complete the class projects.

"When they write with a purpose, it is often more meaningful then when they just write for the teacher," DeKoff said. "I always try to look for creative outlets for writing, and this just happens to be one that is fun and local."

"It’s about the kids, what they could do if I encourage them," she added, if they are engaged enthusiastic about learning. Writing should be fun, and I want to get them hooked."

Winning Haikus:

1st Place

House made of Jell-O

When I’m grounded and hungry

I just eat a wall

Griff Riggs

2nd Place

Red and blue Jell-O

Democrat, Republican

Stands for our nation

Carly Herr

3rd Place

Explosion of taste

Vast oasis of Jell-O

Earthquake in a bowl

Kira Sincock


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