Poetry Challenge Week Four: Blackout Poems

 It’s week FOUR of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week is all about blackout poems! A blackout poem is created by taking a block of text—like from a newspaper, magazine, or book—and “blacking out” everything except the words you want. Here’s a blackout poem I wrote: Created using the book MAKE BLACKOUT POETRY by John Carroll Read some black out poems! Here are some blackout poems by author Austin Kleon . Examples of student-created blackout poems . Check out this Pinterest board for more examples. Write a black out poem! When creating your blackout poem, you may to start with a pencil and circle or block around the words you want to keep for your poem. Then, once you’re happy with your poem use a sharpie to black out everything you don’t want. Blackout poetry is a great visual, but you can also type out your poem when you’re done to make it easier to read. Need a little help? Here’s a video by Austin Kleon on how he makes blackout poetry. If you or your kids write blackout poem

Twelve Picture Books for a great GREEN Story Time


 March is nearly here, and with it will come St. Patrick’s Day and spring and thoughts of all things green. So we thought, in the spirit of the season, why not share a list of books that celebrate green! This list of book contains books that feature green covers, green characters, or have green in the title. We hope that list will lead to some interesting discussions and activities and a renewed appreciation for green things.

To read: A book from this list or any other book that features the color green in a prominent way.

Ideas for things to discuss:

  • What do you think of the color green? Do you have a favorite shade of green?

  • What are some green foods that you like? Dislike?

  • Think about the book you just read. What part does the color green play in the story?

  • What are some positive things you connect with the color green? What are some negative things?

Ideas for things to do:

  • Play a green-themed game of “Scattergories.” To play: First, create a list of several categories (such as animals, foods, plants, etc.). Write the categories on small slips of paper and put them in a bowl. Draw from the bowl to choose a category. Set a timer for one minute. During that minute, each person writes down as many green things in that category as they can. Whoever has the most unique things on the list wins the round.

  • Enjoy a green snack! Some ideas: pistachio pudding, mint chocolate chip ice cream, lime popsicles, green grapes, chips and guacamole, kiwi slices, pickles, green olives. For extra fun: make this a food tasting party!

  • Take a story walk and find as many green things outside as you can. If it’s early spring where you are, take note of any newly sprouting plants.

  • Create a green art project. Choose a green subject and make a painting, drawing, or collage. Consider taking inspiration from whatever “green” book you read.

And now, for the list!

Genius Noses A Curious Animal Compendium by Lena Anlauf and Vitali Konstantinov and translated from the German by Marshall Yarbrough. This is a unique catalog of creatures that all have one thing in common…a unique nose! Filled with amazing facts and insights about flying creatures, ground-dwellers, underground diggers, water creatures, and tree dwellers, there is much to be learned on each page. Some of the creatures included are the stink badger, the aardvark, the echidna, the bilby, the star-nosed mole, and many more. 

One Tiny Treefrog A Countdown to Survival by Tony Piedra and Mackenzie Joy. This is a non-fiction counting book that traces the life of eight tadpoles deep in the tropical forest of Costa Rica as they try to survive and become red-eyed treefrogs. The back matter is packed with informational text about the life cycle of the Red-eyed treefrog, the wet forests of Costa Rica, and much more.

I Am a Dragon: A Squabble and a Quibble! By Sabina Hahn. Packed with delightful humor, some frogs in a pond continue to call a dragon a frog. Nothing he can say or do can convince them of his true identity until he breathes fire. The dialogue between the dragon and the frogs makes this book extra special.

Dreams of Green A Three Kings’ Day Story by Mariel Jungkunz, illustrated by Mónica Paola Rodríguez. This is the story of a little girl from Puerto Rico who has moved to Ohio. She is worried that the Three Kings will not be able to find her and bring her gifts on El Día de los Reyes because in Ohio there is not much “green” grass available to give to the  camels. This book vividly shows the unique traditions of the Three Kings’ celebration as well as paints a picture of what it is like to move to a new country.

Mossy by Jan Brett. The story of a turtle who grows a garden on top of her shell. Dr. Carolina places Mossy in a museum where many visitors come to see her, but Mossy longs  to return home to her friend Scoot. In the end, Dr. Caroline decides to paint a portrait of Mossy and return Mossy to her home where Mossy lives for years and years.

Deep In The Forest: A Seek-and-Find Adventure by Joseph Jacquet, Illustrated by Lucie Brunelliere. This book is a lift-the-flap adventure book of exotic forest animals. Early in the morning, the animals slowly awake–except the panda. With over 50 animals, this beautiful board book has enticing illustrations with engaging text. Perfect for ages 3-5.  

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. This simple board book introduces the many shades of green we see all around us. It includes phrases such as Faded Green, Pea Green, and even shows pictures of what green is not–snow! Great for young readers to introduce that there are all kinds of green in various places. 

The Little Green Girl by Lisa Anchin. This is a cute book about a plant girl who longs to explore the wide world and eventually does so with her gardener/father figure, who learns to overcome his homebody nature. 

Willow and Bunny by Anitra Rowe Schulte, illustrated by Christopher Denise. This gorgeously illustrated book is a sweet story about a bunny who befriends a willow tree, and the way they care for eachother (and other creatures) through hard times.

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming. This book has bright and bold illustrations and a snappy rhyming text about all that goes on in the grass throughout the day.

A Leaf Can Be by Laura Purdy Salas, illustrated by Vileta Dabija. It’s is a really lovely lyrical book about all the different things leaves can be, such as a “tree topper” and a “rain stopper.” 

How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Andy Elkerton. This is a fun, rhyming book full of the antics of various children and families trying to catch a mischievous leprechaun. The traps get more and more complicated, but the leprechaun keeps evading them. Will the children and their families succeed?

Do you have a favorite “green” book? How about some green activity ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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