Over the years I’ve run many writing workshops in schools throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. My goals are to get the children working together and to have them leave with ideas and a few pieces of writing they can work on later in class or on their own. I encourage a sense of play, so vital in creating anything from scratch. I ask that a teacher be present for the duration of each workshop. Please contact me for fees and other details.

I bring a warm-up reading game and read a few poems to the children. Then we collaborate on a poem using the phrase “I wish”, and I write the poem out for them. They like to illustrate the poem afterwards. I’ve also made very simple books with this age group.

For Grades K-1. Length - 30 minutes only.

We begin with warm-up reading and word games. For young writers, we create similes from sounds, using my sound box. Then we use words to create a simile monster and finish by illustrating it. For older writers, we work with riddle poems, discussing how to write clues using sensory details. We write some together, then they write their own riddles to share with each other. Or we might talk about where ideas come from and the very useful question, “what if?” I bring in my magic bag of strange objects for them to “what if” their way into writing the beginnings of a story or poem. I usually bring some poems or a story to read to them, and the writing drafts too.

For Grades 2-5. Depending on class age and size, 45 to 60 minutes.

This is a lively hands-on workshop interspersed with a short reading and discussions on editing and the writing life. I bring in my journals, fadoodle bottle, and bag of hats. Points covered include: read your drafts out loud; writers don’t have to work alone; a lot of writing is rewriting; if you can’t find what you need, make it up; never burn your journals. Participants leave with several short pieces that they can develop later.

For Grades 6-8. Depending on interest, class age and size, 60 -150 minutes.

I give a short talk on how I got started and the kinds of writing I’ve done. I read some poems, discuss how I find my ideas, and show them my drafts. If they don’t have questions for me, I have questions for them. Through some hands-on writing exercises, I share writing strategies that work for me. We focus on editing techniques, smashing cliches, how description can open doors to memory and story, and the idea of found lines. I bring in my journals, and we work with fortune cookies, my fadoodle bottle, and my file of weird and wonderful images.

For Grades 9-12. Depending on interest, class age, and size, 60-150 minutes.