Newspaper Blackout Poetry on the iPad

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I only just discovered Austin Kleon and his Newspaper Blackout Poetry. [I came across him by way of his excellent post;¬†How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) – a definite must-read.]

Following the various links, I found a post that shows how he used the iPad to create a newspaper blackout poem. As I am in the middle of a Poetry unit with my Grade 6 students, I felt I had to try it!

Here is my first attempt. In case the image is too small for you to read, I will reproduce the text below.


Designed, measured, standardised.
An entire briefcase
And half teeth.
Of unknown origin,
Drinking Mermaid’s Tears.

Screen shot 2011-04-25 at AM 11.03.38I started off by finding an article in one of my news apps (in this case, the NZ Herald), and taking a screenshot of it.

I then imported the screenshot into Brushes. The important step to note is to add a layer, so that you can delete that layer if you make a mistake, rather than deleting the whole image and having to start from scratch.

I experimented with brushtypes etc, and you can see how I went about doing it below:

Have a go! You’ll love it!

Where Poetry & Blogging Collide

A few weeks back, I stumbled across Sarah Kay‘s TED Talk, ‘If I Should Have a Daughter…

I recently started blogging with 6th Graders, so found her TED talk particularly relevant when she got to the part about her experiences working with teenagers on poetry.

One thing Sarah suggested teenagers were good at was writing lists, so she began by assigning her students list poems. One example she mentioned was:

10 Things I Know to be True

I decided that list poems and list posts could well be the intersection between blogging and poetry. In their English/Humanities classes, they have started a poetry unit, so it seemed the planets aligned for me in terms of content!

This week, I asked my students to write a list post on the above topic. It has, in my opinion, been the most successful blog topic to elicit more personal and thoughtful content from my students to date.**

I always try to model what I want my students to do, so if you are interested, check out my list here.

Marius added a picture to each item on his list, including that you need to think out of the box.

Victoria knows that bad things can happen to good people.

Pavitra knows that laughter is the best medicine.

Kavya believes the world needs more leaders who consider consequences.

I teach pretty neat kids, huh?!

** If you are interested, the other topics we’ve covered are:
– a Mind Map about what they are interested in blogging about
– Something they believe deserves a bigger audience