Bad Birds and Good Poems: Writing in Quarantine

Detroit’s Inside Out Literary Arts Project has created IO At Home for the families and teachers who are sheltering in place. This collection of writing prompts are specially designed to “enliven the at home experience.” Projects are divided by audience– you can find lessons for elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as ones for City Wide Poets, the Detroit youth slam team. One favorite is called Bad Birds, riffing off poems by Jamaal May and Mary Oliver. This is an amazing free resource from a founding WITS Alliance member organization.

Creative Writing Camp is Going Global

From visiting Mars to exploring the depth of the inner ear, there is no limit to the places Creative Writing Camp (CWC) Online can take your students!

Join Writers in the Schools (WITS) and Rice University online this summer and explore the wonderful world of creative writing. With a clear learning focus and innovative lessons, CWC Online activities are student-centered, rigorous, and most of all– fun! Each camp day, professional teachers and authors will engage with K-12 students in a virtual setting, offering participants artistic mentorship as well as academic support. Following best practices for online learning, CWC Online camp days will include:

  • fun community building activities
  • live sessions where students can interact with instructors and classmates
  • small group sessions and creative projects 
  • independent writing and art projects
  • recorded sessions where students can learn at their own pace
  • one-on-one conferencing with instructor(s)
  • virtual field trips

Parents can expect their children to partake in the same quality educational summer experience that Rice and WITS have consistently provided at CWC for three decades. Through CWC Online, young writers learn that their voices are powerful and their stories matter. 

To ensure student safety, CWC Online will be hosted on Canvas, a secure platform supported by Rice University through Google Chrome.

Registration is now open! You can register your student today on the WITS Houston website.

Writing Memoir with WITS Portland

Writers in the Schools (WITS) in Portland, Oregon, a part of Literary Arts, is providing a course in memoir writing for quarantined students everywhere. This series, led by WITS Writer Brian Benson, is delivered through a series of YouTube lessons. You can follow the entire playlist, and submit your best work to be published in their anthology. Brian, a travel writer, will take you on a remarkable memoir journey and what you find there–who knows?–may surprise you!

This is YOUR Summer for Reading


What might one do to pass the time during a summer pandemic? One option is to read your heart out! And lucky you, Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) has a bingo game to motivate you.

SAL Summer Book Bingo launched in April, so there’s ample time to fill in your entire bingo card. See their site to find customized cards for young people (17 and under), adults, and Spanish-readers. Download the one that’s right for you.

For WITS students in Seattle and everywhere, they even created bingo card for writers! Pull out your journal and and use these fun writing prompts to make up your own poems and stories. Thanks, SAL!


Your Covid19 Cabin Fever Survival Guide

The good folks at Missoula Writing Collaborative (MWC) in Montana know all about Cabin Fever. That’s why when Covid-19 forced families to stay at home, MWC quickly put together their Cabin Fever Survival Guide. Written for both parents and kids, this handy e-book will help you be productive and write, even on the most stir-crazy of homeschool days. Young writers can even submit their polished work to be aired on the radio or published! You can check out MWC’s extensive Digital Poetry Resources on their website too. These easy to use lessons prove once and for all, poetry really is for everyone.

Quick WITS

The Pandemic has led many families to homeschooling, and WITS Houston has created Quick WITS as a free resource for students in grades K-5. Let Writers in the Schools help you with the writing portion of the school day. These 8-15 minute videos make writing fun and easy for children. Led by incredible teachers such as Jasminne Mendez, Dr. Kathryn Peterson, and Elizabeth Keel, these lessons will make you fall in love with writing.

_1 QUICK WITS - Lesson 8 What Color is Your Day - YouTube

Online Prompts and Publication for Young Writers

owl photo CPITS online lessons

California Poets in the Schools is providing a great resource for families homeschooling during the Pandemic. Their online poetry workshops are easy to use and beautiful as well. Once students complete their poem, they can submit it for publication on the California Poets website. The opportunity to become a published poet is exciting!

There are over 30 workshops already and new ones are being added each week. These exercises make writing easy and fun. And the slideshow format means that students can work at their own pace. California Poets in the Schools is providing an amazing opportunity for students feeling trapped by the Covid-19 quarantine.