This week, during Banned Book Week, I have been talking with students about the vocabulary associated with banned books: challenged, banned, expurgation and restricted. These words and discussions lead students to connect to words we are curretly hearing in the news media today: redacted, expunged and deleted.

Oddly enough, I associated the discussion with a well known art known as Black Out Poetry.  Creating a blackout poem is like doing a reverse word search or reacting information from a page! It is also a fabulous way to reuse those books in your classroom  What you do is read your article, but in a different way than before. You start to notice individual words that when pieced together with other words on the page, might create an insightful poem of some sort.

As you’ll see in the video below, with a black Sharpie, you put a rectangle around the words you would like to use in your poem. It’s tricky because since you can’t move the text on the page, you have to be careful that the poem reads correctly yet still uses the words in the location on the page where they already are. Once you’ve blocked out your poem, you simply black out the rest of the page with your marker.

Watch the video below to better understand the process.

Austin Kleon is the person who first created this process  and he’s even published a best selling book with these types of poems. You can learn more about Austin and his book at Austin Kleon. There is also a tumblr dedicated to these poems. If you’d like to submit one or browse through the poetry, just click over to Newspaper Blackout.

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