Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blackout Poetry

Last month, my 11-year-old daughter and I attended Books by the Banks in Cincinnati. While she was preoccupied with alcohol-inked ceramic tiles and activities that taught her how to solder and create a paper circuit with copper tape and a LED diode, my eye was drawn to the Blackout Poetry station at the end of the table. For more details about the time we spent at this event, please visit this post I've published on my website.

A few days after the event, I decided I wanted to create my own example of Blackout Poetry for this post. I pulled out the pages provided at the event and read over the text, drawing boxes around words to form a poem.  I illustrated my poem with Sharpie markers. Instead of drawing footprints on a beach, I could have chosen to sketch a pattern or design.

The words I chose to highlight read as follows:

There’s nothing.
dead silence
wipe the sweat
inspect the damage
I know the path
I keep walking.
I feel…tired.

Any sheet of paper with printed words will work for this activity–consider pages from a book, newspaper, or magazine. Try different mediums to achieve the desired effect–crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paint. With Blackout Poetry, the possibilities are endless.

How can you incorporate this activity with your Girl Scout troop?
  • Provide supplies at the next troop holiday party. The printed pages can be related to the party theme.
  • Print pages about Juliette Gordon Low for a JGL or Girl Scout Birthday celebration.
  • Copy a page from The Brownie Story (The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting or a related website).
  • Before or after your troop bridges, find a page from a ceremony script or a related story.
  • For Juniors working on the Scribe badge, this activity satisfies Step 1 (Start with a Poem).
  • For Juniors working on the Drawing badge, this activity satisfies Step 1 (Experiment with Different Shading Materials). In fact, depending on what is drawn, girls could satisfy all the steps with this activity.
  • Plan some time for Blackout Poetry during a Self-Esteem Workshop. This activity offers girls a different avenue for expression, and it's another way to emphasize how special and unique each individual is.
I've presented several ways to introduce Blackout Poetry to the girls in your troop. I'm sure readers will come up with other applications. Please feel free to post your art in the comments section below. I'd love to see it!  Thank you for reading.

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