Michelle Kogan is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday round up at her “blog with a frog.” Join her at the poetry pond!

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone. How are you doing in these times of social distancing and self-quarantines?

I have a DIY writing prompt for educators and parents to share with kids at home today. And I also have a BIG announcement!

Announcement first:

Due to the number of children who are learning at home right now, I have adapted my February Poetry Project for kids! The details will be posted tomorrow (Saturday, March 21) at the Nerdy Book Club website. This year’s theme for the adult poetry project was Water. It was such a rich topic that I decided to use it for young writers too.

But the thing that I’m most excited to share is that some stellar children’s authors, poets, and poetry educators will be in charge of the daily prompts! “Who?!” I can hear you asking. I’m still trying to decide whether to announce names or save the surprise. Hmm…

On to today’s writing prompt. This is one that adults (and kids) can create at home, then mail to a student or friend who is sheltering in place. It is related to the persona poem prompt that I often use in my school poetry workshops.

You can find a full description of the persona poem workshop at Today’s Little Ditty. And I made a video where I talk through this DIY writing prompt, which you can view on Facebook.

  1. Create a postcard. Find an image of an interesting person in a magazine or newspaper. Cut it out  and glue or tape it onto a postcard-sized index card. (If you have unused postcards with images of people, that works well too.)
  2. Add a note with a writing prompt. Some examples are: “What is this person’s story? Who do you think she is? What are his hopes and dreams? If they could speak to you right now, what would they say?”
  3. Add a stamp and address to a young writer.

I sent this art postcard (Paul Gauguin, “Woman of the Mango”) to one of my #kidsneedmentors students. My note reads, “How are you? While school is out, I thought you might like to write about this person. Who is she? What do you imagine her story could be?

Given the stress children are experiencing right  now, I might not specify that the resulting writing must be a poem. Keep it loose — this is a story starter, a poem starter, a way to get the creative juices flowing.

Sending love out to everyone. Stay in touch!

26 responses to “Poetry Friday: A Prompt and an Announcement”

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Ooooh! Fun! I think I might offer to send a postcard to a student who reads my school library twitter account! Or, I might post a postcard prompt to it and see what the responses are. Oh, the possibilities! Great prompt!
    PS I really like your new website. What platform do you use? I want to play with starting one.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I can imagine postcards and letters (do they have to be quarantined?) will be a great pick-me-up during this stressful time.

      I use WordPress and can send you some details via email, Linda.

  2. Wonderful idea/prompt Laura, and I loved your video on FB! I’m looking forward to finding out who your prompt poets are… Stay well!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Michelle. I am excited to kick everything off tonight. Our first prompt author is a Poetry Friday blogger and children’s poet. Announcing tonight!

  3. Kathryn Apel says:

    I was just thinking this morning about sending mail to my mum and dad. We keep in touch with phone and email, etc – but this time seems to call for something tangible in place of hugs. But now I’m also thinking which child could also do with a writing prompt in the mail. Thanks for sharing. Keep up your awesome work! (Loved hearing your voice on the video.?)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Kat. I agree. Postcards are my favorite, but letters — maybe letters with doodles — would be appreciated now instead. Let’s video chat this week!

  4. What a great idea, Laura! Encouraging kids and friends to use their creativity to help get through will be key.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Janice. I hadn’t thought about children making homemade postcards for their friends, but that’s a great idea too!

  5. Linda Baie says:

    It will be fun to create these, Laura. I will send some to my granddaughters!

  6. Kay Jernigan McGriff says:

    I love this! I hate that I’m not able to see my lil sis (through Big Brothers Big SIsters) right now. Since I moved, we usually hang out in public places–library, restaurants, parks–most of which are closed. I did gather up yarn and Popsicle sticks for making God’s eyes and a poem, paper and self-addressed envelop to send to her. I will be sending her (and her siblings) some postcard prompts, too! I can’t wait to see the announcement tomorrow at the Nerdy Book Club. It’s fantastic!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Kay. Being apart is very challenging right now and I imagine it’s especially hard on children. Have fun with the postcards!

  7. You have such a nurturing soul, Laura. I love your beautiful habit of reaching out to others with postcards and poetry, encouraging, supporting, and recognizing creativity at every turn. No doubt your water project will be appreciated by many.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      What a kind thing to say, Michelle. I’m excited about the project and glad you can be part of it!

  8. Karen Eastlund says:

    Lovely idea, and easily adapted to other topics if so desired. Thanks for this helpful, thoughtful and generous post.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Karen. Yes — I’ve also used tourist-style postcards to do setting exercises with adult writers. They make a wonderful variety of writing prompts.

  9. Mary Lee says:

    My class and I will be all in! Thanks to you and all your author pals who are so generously helping teachers and children.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Mary Lee. So glad you can use this activity! Thanks for all you’re doing to give children some normalcy right now.

  10. Will you post each Water prompt here at your blog? And also at the #WaterPoemProject hashtag?

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Kevin. Thanks for the question. Yes! The daily prompts will be posted here at my blog, and across social media with the #WaterPoemProject hashtag.

  11. Janet Clare F. says:

    This is wonderful, Laura. I can’t wait to watch and try to participate as often as I can. If you need another prompter or help do let me know. I have a friend who has requested a poetry interactive “Program” for lack of a better word and I am thinking this may be a great one!!! Thank you!!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Janet. I appreciate that! The project has been such a joy when we do it in February. I hope young writers have fun with it.

  12. Such a great idea, Laura! My teen daughter and I have tuned into the YouTube “Draw So Cute” to create a drawing on a card every day since our new normal started (she’s the artist, I’m just thrilled she wants to do a project with me every day). I think I’ll add your prompts to the cards when I send them to everyone in my address book. What a great project to stay connected. Thank you. : )

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Bridget. I’m going to check out that channel! I’m hoping to use this time to up my doodling skills. Yes, I’ve been thinking about making postcards for everyone on our address list too.

  13. I love your postcard idea–great inspiration, and who doesn’t love to get a postcard in the mail?! Looking forward to reading and writing with all those watery prompts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

Learn More