The Benefits of Blackout Poetry

Students completed blackout poems this week on portion of an article about the importance of studying History. I learned as much as the students did! This is an excellent, challenging activity for all students and wanted to pass along some tips I learned in case it can help you. (I posted this article for my students on Schoology--the steps are really useful.) http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2016/04/blackout-poetry#.V9gotzNz0y8.email
I've learned:
  • listing the words on a scrap sheet of paper (step 3) really is critical--we skipped this step and ended up going back to do it (I'm requiring it to be turned in from now on as part of the completed poem.) It was eye-opening for students to see their words out of the text and they could much more easily pick different words/thoughts.
  • if students are struggling I suggested having them start with a main word (like History) and then count every 7th word to see if that string of words could make a complete thought/statement (It actually worked many times but may have to be changed to every 8th or 10th word, etc.)
  • I quickly realized that simply using phrases the author wrote in your poem isn't synthesizing the reading, it's just "picking out phrases". I steered students away from phrase use so that they could deconstruct the reading and then rebuild it (it allowed for much deeper learning).
  • I am always reflecting on grading and let the students know that they weren't being graded on this poem, rather on answering two reflection questions about their poem in a video reflection. (The video reflection will only be viewed by me.) This was a first attempt at a very challenging activity--I want to know what they learned from this poem and what their plan is for their next blackout poem (which they will complete very soon).
Blackout poems will become a staple in my classroom as another way to enable all students (including me) to become more sophisticated and creative thinkers.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

National History Day School Event

Growth and Change Thematic Assessment Spark Video Examples

National History Day--First Impressions