Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to Create a Digital Blackout Poem in PowerPoint or OneNote


(Scroll Down for OneNote Directions!)

My tutorial on how to create a digital blackout poem using Google Slides has been a hit, so I wanted to give Microsoft users some love as well. :) When I design my digital lessons, I always make them Google Classroom, Microsoft OneDrive, and LMS compatible so no matter which platform your school is using, you can enjoy these paper free options!

For example, I love assigning blackout poems when we read challenging texts. I feel that it gives students a fun and effective way of finding main points, revealing author's craft, and highlighting deeper meanings of passages. However, I have found that students don't know where to start when I assign this type of thinking-ahead activity because they are afraid of messing up and having to start all over. 
Paper blackout assignments leave no room for mistakes. 


Here is a complex passage from "To Build a Fire" by Jack London:
After giving an assignment to find the overall theme of this text, here are a couple of results:


Since I want my students to be able to revise their work and close read without fear of messing up their final product, I have found that digital blackout poems are where it's at! Blackout poems without the Sharpie high, ink-stained fingers, and unintentional mistakes, whoop! 

How to Create a Blackout Poem Using PowerPoint 
(scroll down for the OneNote instructions)
Step 1: 
Open up a new PowerPint presentation and go to Design>Side Size>Custom Slide Size 

Step 2: 
Change the slide size to paper size (8.5x11) if you want to be able to print these off and to fit more text inside. 

Step 3:
Select maximize

Step 4: 

Step 5: 
Step 6:
 You will need to play around with the text box, font, and font size to get it to where it fills up the entire page (***Note, make sure your font is single spaced before you get too precise with your text. See next picture for how to do this). If you find that you are in between font sizes on the scale, simply type in a number to make it the exact size you need. Notice that I needed size 19 font even though that wasn't an option in the drop down menu.  
Make sure that your font is single spaced 

Step 7: 
Go to Design>Format Background>Choose Black (or really any dark color) 

Step 8:
Highlight your text and change the color to white 

Step 9:
Work through your text to create the words that you want to keep. The rest of the words will be changed to black. 

Step 10 (optional): 
To add a little more artistic quality to it, you might choose to add in an image. 
If you do want to add art, be sure to add the letters PNG after the term! This will give you a transparent background so that it doesn't mess up the look of your poem.

Finished product: 

I have included this activity in my Digital Unit Plan for "To Build  Fire" if you want to check it out! I'm in the process of digitalizing my entire catalog of lessons, so be sure to follow me while you are there for future Google and Microsoft lesson plans! :) 

How to create blackout poems in OneNote: 

If you are an avid OneNote user like I am, then you can have your students do these digital blackout poems directly in OneNote as well!


Step 1: 

Open a new page in your notebook and go to Insert>Online Picture 

Step 2:
Search for a "black square" 

Step 3: 
Drag the corners until you get it to the size that you want then right click and "set as background" 

Step 4: 
Paste in your text, right click, and bring to the front 

Step 5: 

Change your font color to white then follow the steps above in the PowerPoint tutorial 

You may also like my other OneNote Posts here:



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