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Blackout poetry

September 28, 2011

Want to move beyond Haiku and sonnets? Try Blackout Poems! In this method, students take a page from a newspaper and search for possible words for their poem. They circle those words and color over the rest of the page with a marker. This leaves them with a smattering of words that become their creation.

What an amazing way to let students “write without a pencil”; so many students cannot compose and create on their own but could assemble a sophisticated product using this method. This technique can give struggling students confidence and help them recognize that they can too can write poetry.  Students with more skill and ability also profit as they get to try a new style of poetry and can even be challenged to think of other materials they could use for blackout poetry (e.g., menus, magazines, texbook pages), be asked to uncover an epic poem, or even write song lyrics using this idea.

To get inspired, take a look at some examples at Newspaper Blackout– a website based on a book by Austin Kleon. Would be fun to try with a science journal, a technical manual, or even a math book.

Photo Credit: Newspaper Blackout

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 9:47 am

    Thanks for sharing this clever idea, Paula! You’ve got the gears turning in my head for ways to turn this into a switch-adapted screen activity for kids with severe physical disabilities. I’m sure it can be done in an adaptive word processor like Classroom Suite or such…now it’s on to figure out the nuts and bolts to make it happen!

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