I wanted to do some poetry writing with my kids and their friends to end the school year. I was certain that writing Found Poetry with the kids would be tons of fun.
The basic idea of a Found Poem is that you “find” a poem in a piece of text that has already been created. Some great sources of text that are perfect for this activity are magazines and books. Your final poem can be simple or complex; decorated or plain.
The options are endless.
Writing Found Poetry with Kids
We decided to focus on Blackout Poetry, a type of Found Poetry in which the author blacks out the words that aren’t going to be part of the poem. The words that remain can be highlighted through artwork or simply left for viewing.
Our lesson began with a Blackout Poetry presentation by Laura Randazzo on Prezi. Once my kids and their friends were feeling inspired, we made photocopies of the pages in their favorite books for them to play around with.
NOTE: It would be a lot more fun to use the actual book page, so hit a library or book warehouse sale and grab a few titles to save for this activity! I plan to grab a few at our $1 book warehouse.
We began with pencils, circling words that stood out to us and working them into a design. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was fun.
Another way to approach this would be to write the words that stand out on post-it notes and play with them a bit, eliminating ones that won’t work and incorporating new ones until you are ready to circle them on the paper. Of course, you’ll have to keep them in some sort of order or create a design to guide the reader through the words you selected in order.
The kids in my house that day ranged in age from 6 to 13 and everyone enjoyed creating these poems. Some students opted to maintain a simple blackout design while other students attempted to create a creative design with their blackout poem.
I appreciated the open-ended nature of this activity. The final products were all very different and reflected the ages and the abilities of the child creating them.
Of course, you might have to convince your children that there isn’t a wrong way to create a Found (or Blackout) Poem.
Every poem doesn’t have to make complete sense. Every final product doesn’t have to look like an image. In fact, there doesn’t even have to be a final product to display. The process of playing with the words is its own lesson.
So have some fun. Play with the text. See what is FOUND.
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