I’m an avid Pinterest fan and I frequently see fabulous examples of blackout poetry on my feed. They are pretty inspirational and as April is National Poetry Month I thought I’d give it a go with my classes. Here are the steps I took if you’d like to try it too:
- I picked up a couple of inexpensive novels from my local charity shop and (gasp) ripped out the pages. If you can’t stand the thought of doing this (it was quite painful to be honest) you could print some PDF pages of short stories. I made sure I had a variety of pages for my students to choose from. You could also use PDF copies of the text you are currently studying if you want to make the exercise more focused.
- Decide if you want to base the task around a theme, topic or text of if you are going to allow students complete freedom to choose.
- Before they start, ask them to skim their page and look for words or short phrases which grab their attention. They should mark these with a pencil.
- Once they have their key words or phrases, they should read the text again and think about how these central ideas could be developed.
- Set a minimum requirement that they need to produce a blacked-out poem, but encourage creativity with it.
- When they have completed their poems, you could ask them to present their results in small groups, explaining why they chose their original words and how their poem developed from there.
I would recommend starting this activity in class and asking students to finish it at home as I think a time limit could hinder creativity. It really is amazing what the students can come up with and it’s wonderful to allow such creativity in the classroom.
If you have any hints or tips for teaching blackout poetry please share them below!