Sunday, 22 March 2020

Dear Educators and Parents,

I am putting together a community poetry project for kids. Adults can play along too. [Note: This is a condensed version of this introduction. To read the full post, please visit the Nerdy Book Club blog.]

I run an annual poetry writing project for adults. For one month, participants receive a daily writing prompt related to a common theme. The goal is to write and share a newly drafted poem with the group every day. It’s a way of practicing writing with others.

With so many schools closed or meeting online, I am adapting this project for kids. And to make it extra special for everyone during this stressful time, I have invited some author and poet friends to create the writing prompts for us!

The theme: WATER

The environment has been on my mind this year. Our oceans and waterways are not only at risk, they affect all aspects of life on this planet.

Water can be:

solid, liquid, gas,
a photograph,
a favorite place,
home for living things,
in the news,
a hot drink,
a cloud,

The prompts:
Writing prompts from authors will be posted each evening right here on my blog, beginning Sunday, March 22. Prompts will also be posted across social media with the hashtag #WaterPoemProject.

Posting response poems:

If school is online, use Padlet, Seesaw, Flipgrid or a similar work-sharing platform. Make a separate page for each new prompt. Throughout the day, students can add their poem drafts or videos of themselves reading what they wrote.

Sharing feedback:

Because all of the shared writing is brand new, emphasize encouraging *signed* comments using your preferred platform. Setting expectations for positive feedback is key to a successful community project. For those who post a poem, make a rule of thumb: Read and comment on at least three other poets’ drafts.

Curriculum standards:

Thanks to school librarian Linda Mitchell of Virginia for researching the learning standards related to this project. Linda Mitchell blogs about poetry and being a school librarian at A Word Edgewise.

Linda recommends the #WaterPoemProject for third grade and up because, “Writing Standards for children in third grade switch from learning to write to writing for many purposes. [Below] is Virginia’s third grade standard. These standards repeat in middle and senior level grades with more complexity. But these ideas could be used to support the project in general.”

Grade Three Standards of Learning: 3.9 The student will write for a variety of purposes.
a) Identify the intended audience.
b) Use a variety of prewriting strategies.
c) Write a clear topic sentence focusing on the main idea.
d) Write a paragraph on the same topic.
e) Use strategies for organization of information and elaboration according to the type of writing.
f) Include details that elaborate the main idea.
g) Revise writing for clarity of content using specific vocabulary and information.

Source: Virginia Department of Education, Writing 3.9. “The Standards & SOL-Based Instructional Resources.” VDOE :: The Standards & SOL-Based Instructional Resources, 2010,

Writing and growth mindset:

Over the years, I have come to realize that this project teaches growth mindset. It reminds us that writing and creativity are not always about outcomes (publishing, getting a grade). They are also a practice.

If you write a poem every day for a month, you are going to have some winners and some stinkers! But at the end of the month, there will be a few new pieces that you’d like to revise and continue working on.

Thank you to all of the authors who have donated their time and writing prompts to make this project happen. And thanks to Jay Shovan for providing the project logo!

I look forward to hearing about what your students and children create in response to the #WaterPoemProject.


#WaterPoemProject Series Posts:

Project Introduction
Prompt 1: Irene Latham, The Language of Water
Prompt 2: Elizabeth Steinglass, What Would a Raindrop Say?
Prompt 3: Linda Mitchell, Found Haiku
Prompt 4: Shari Green, Fogbow Fibonacci
Prompt 5: Margaret Simon, The Taste of Water
Prompt 6: Heather Meloche, The Shape of a Wave
Prompt 7: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, A Water Memory
Prompt 8: Laura Shovan, Rainy Day Opposites
Prompt 9: Kathryn Apel, Silly Solage
Prompt 10: Buffy Silverman, A Watery Home
Prompt 11: Kara Laughlin, Frozen Fog
Prompt 12: Debbie Levy, Jump into a Limerick
Prompt 13: Joy McCullough, What Are Water Bears?

Please support the #WaterPoemProject authors by buying their books from your favorite independent bookstore.



14 responses to “#WaterPoemProject: Introduction”

  1. […] Shovan has organized an awesome daily poetry prompt (around the theme of water) for students and grown-ups. I don’t know if I’ll be able to play every single day, but I’m going to do it as […]

  2. […] today’s imagepoem for Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject. Our challenge was a Fibonacci poem inspired by or about a fogbow. Fogbow is a kind of rainbow, […]

  3. While the #WaterPoemProject is for kids, I thought I would play along by reading, writing, and sharing this project with Long Island teachers. Thanks, Laura for bringing this project to fruition. I was so overloaded during February that I did not participate in the Facebook project as I normally do.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Carol. Adults are welcome to play along! Thanks for sharing it with other teachers. (We missed you in February.)

  4. […] I love water. It’s such a source of peace and calm and also motion and excitement. It’s just magic. Here’s today’s imagepoem for Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject. […]

  5. […] I recently shared a favorite rock with some friends and also some schools I visited. It’s from Scotland, from a trip Randy and I took there in 2008. Today’s poem is inspired by a memory from that very same trip. Randy and I went canyoning, and it was AMAZING! Here’s today’s imagepoem for Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject. […]

  6. […] I love rain. There are few times I wish fervently for it not to rain, but I know those times are much more frequent for young athletes and their families. Today’s prompt was to write about water in two stanzas with opposite viewpoints. Here’s today’s imagepoem for Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject. […]

  7. […] Today’s poem is a form I’m unfamiliar with–a solage. I think I cheated, because only the first two lines are really supposed to rhyme? But here’s today’s imagepoem for Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject. […]

  8. […] but I’m going to try to post something every day. I’ve been trying to keep up with Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject, so I may be posting a lot of water poems. Today’s prompt by Buffy Silverman was to write a […]

  9. […] hoping to share an imagepoem here each day (or as often as I can). I’m participating in Laura Shovan’s awesome #WaterPoemProject the best I can, so most of my poems will come from either that or from the PAD (Poem A Day) […]

  10. […] for worthwhile ways to engage classes (across a range of grade levels!) I recommend Laura’s #WaterPoemProject – with wonderful daily prompts – for kids and adults. You can start at any time. The […]

  11. […] plan other than to write and post every day. For the last 11 days I’ve been participating in Laura Shovan’s Water Poem Project. I love daily prompts because I can get started without having to wonder what to write about. I end […]

  12. […] hoping to share an imagepoem here each day (or as often as I can). I’m participating in Laura Shovan’s awesome #WaterPoemProject the best I can, so most of my poems will come from either that or from the PAD (Poem A Day) […]

  13. […] hoping to share an imagepoem here each day (or as often as I can). I’m participating in Laura Shovan’s awesome #WaterPoemProject the best I can, so most of my poems will come from either that or from the PAD (Poem A Day) […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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