Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ban Highlighting, Blackout Instead – Poetry Nonfiction Using Notability

Source: Bit Rebels
If your students are like ours, when they pick up a highlighter to underscore what is important in the text they are reading, they highlight just about everything. We might as well give them the information copied on yellow, pink, or orange paper. Part of the problem is they don’t “clean read” first to understand the context for the content. They just highlight away to the point of distraction.

Source: ASIDE, 2014
The concept of finding select phrases to support the topic does not even occur to them. This exacerbates the problem, leading to paper or electronic notes covered in color. Everything becomes important. They fail to select the main idea and miss supportive evidence for it.

Recently, we started to experiment with the blackout technique that is often used in creating poetry from newspapers and other texts, and we banned highlighting. To our surprise, the blackout process had additional benefits that we did not consider at first.

Source: ASIDE, 2014
In their search for the perfect word choice, students needed to reread the content for the finished product to make sense. In other words, they had to stick with the text. This method alone opened up opportunities for them to think about the information. It was anything but random in selecting the right words or phrases to make their nonfiction poem work.

The process was simple. The students download a PDF from our website and opened it using the app Notability on their iPads. This allowed them to carefully revise selected content, proofread for continuity, and ensure a poetic flow of information before they started the blackout process.

Source: ASIDE, 2014
Of course, the anticipation in eliminating everything else was the fun part. It was an excellent way for them to engage with the text, understand the content, and have a blast doing it.

For other resources on using the blackout technique, see:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for this site and all the information filled. I find it very interesting and I recommend it to everyone!
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