Using a Fill-in-the-Blank Activity
This technique is very important when we work with the least experienced writers. Though it is listed here in third place, it is actually the first technique you will use for many individuals. Pongo has included a number of fill-in-the-blank activities on this web site, and each can be downloaded for you to use with individuals or classes.
Here is the list of Pongo Fill-in-the-Blank Activities .
In cases when this technique is appropriate, your role in the one-on-one session is to go through the process of completing one of these Pongo activities with the teen. As you will notice in the examples of fill-in-the-blank poems, each activity begins with a completed poem. Read the poem to the teen. Then, after that poem, you will notice that there is a version of the poem with blank spaces. Most of the blanks offer several suggestions for the would-be writer. At each blank, read the suggestions and offer your own. When the teen chooses content for the blank space, write his ideas down. As always in our one-on-one process, read the poem back to the teen periodically to reinforce and inspire the work that you are doing together. Finish the poem and evaluate whether the teen is ready to try a different process next, such as working independently, dictating a poem, or completing a poem whose structure you have improvised.
And we'd like to help you create your own activities. Please see our page on How to Create a Pongo Fill-in-the-Blank Activity !
Pongo's fill-in-the-blank activities are also wonderful resources to use with groups. Please see the Pongo page Group Techniques. You may also want to read a recent blog about two teachers who created a very successful poetry unit that was based on Pongo teen poetry and fill-in-the-blank activities.