Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday Slice of Life: Blackout Poetry Respite

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Tuesday Slice of Life: 
Blackout Poetry Respite

Today began the first of three days of standardized testing for ninth and tenth grade students across our district. Our students test for the first two hours of each day and then follow a shortened class schedule for the remainder of the school day. It is an exhausting day for the students who take the exam and equally exhausting for teachers to proctor it.

By mid-day, I realized that most of my students were absolutely spent. So instead of our normal targeted literacy instruction, I decided to provide students with a break. Following our daily independent reading/conferring we headed to our school's maker space and created blackout poetry. You can see an example of a former blackout poem I created last month here

I emphasized to my students that the purpose for this activity was to play with words and create some sort of coherent message. It could be something serious, silly, or playful. Using old New York Times newspapers, I modeled how I create blackout poems, showed some student models (and our amazing librarian's model), and made a few blackout poems with them. 
Above is one of the blackout poems I created:

"The World's Juggernaut"
Today under construction,
reeling from disaster.
Spurred by power.
It will grow again. 

We needed something playful and fun after testing today. Creating Blackout poems was a perfect respite. I am thankful that each student successfully created a blackout poem, even my students who are typically the most reluctant to read and write. 


  1. I like that poem! So interesting! I've never tried a blackout poem before, but I think I'd like to try one in the future. :-) ~JudyK

    1. Thank you! You must try a blackout poem. They are fun, with just the right amount of challenge!

  2. We did blackout poetry yesterday and the kids were enthralled. Today we used paint chip samples to write poems. They LOVED it.

    1. It is so fun, isn't it?!!

      I am in awe of so many people who are writing such fun poetry this month. I am itching to use paint chip samples for poetry.

  3. I love blackout poetry, and I turned last week into poetry writing—including blackout poetry—because testing. 😑 Did you know the NYT has a blackout poem contest going right now?

    1. Our librarian announced this NTY contest just this week! I hope to encourage a few of my students to submit a blackout poem!

  4. Love blackout poetry, especially when you play with different rules around it. Good luck with the rest of testing.

  5. I love blackout poetry! And what a perfect thing to do on a testing day!

  6. I need to try some blackout poetry this week. Thanks for the inspiration! This was the perfect activity to do with your students.


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