Theoverr all objective of Class Poems is to take the imagination, rhythm, and natural enthusiasm of elementary students and turn it into poetry. The major focus of the program is to help students discover the wonder of language through provocative exercises in writing and structured play.

Making poetry can be one of the most exciting creative experiences. Each idea is different and getting to the finished product can be as much fun as the magic of the completed poem. My process involves students directly and will utilize their creative talents to transform hidden stories and simple delights into finished poems.

This following outline,which includes:Components, Objectives, & Methodprovides a framework for the program. Each component is one hour long. This outline gives only a conceptual model for the residency and each part has purposely been designed to be unspecific in detail. This allows for a dynamic and fluid approach to idea and gives the creative vision a chance to flourish.

Of all the art forms that I practice as a professional artist, poetry is still my favourite and a strong inspiration. I hope by sharing my adoration of language and my enthusiasm for poetry with students and teachers, I will inspire them to find the fun of creativity in everything they do.


• Designed for grades Kindergarden to Six only.

Class Poems is 50% funded by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

Class Poems involves 210 students in a one week residency, with three one hour direct visits by the artist. (7 classes)

• The program is very fluid and offers many other options in scheduling and content but the focus is poetry.

• A final performance of some of the students' work be arranged for the school and community on Friday afternoon or morning.


Preparation & Pre-residency Before the Artist arrives, teachers will encourage students to bring forth ideas for a poem. Students will also be encouraged to collect items from home for the workshop.

• Concept Development & ImprovisationThe materials gathered in the pre-residency games will be used to inspire the written word. This segment is only to loosen up the imagination and to get everyone thinking about their poetry on a subconscious level. The operative word in this component is fun. (1 hr)

• Writing Practice & Writing After some word games we start using specific writing exercises. Students may use the material from the previous hour to write poems using different structures provided by the artist. (1 hr)

Re-write & Presentation  During the final visit, the poems are re-written and cleaned up. They are then performed in front of the class . A performance for the rest of the school and community can be arranged for the last afternoon or morning of the residency. (1 hr)



Preparation & Pre-residency  In this component the objective is to get all the students and teachers interested in the project. Language arts teachers should take an active role in helping students to get their ideas ready.

• Concept Development & Improvisation  During this stage the major objective is to get the imagination stream turned on full-tilt. The other objective is to provide a safe environment in which to create. (1 hr)

Writing Practice & Writing  During this part of the process the goal is to warm-up the students with directed word play and then to produce poetry. (1 hr)

Re-write & Presentation  Language-arts skills are taught as part of this component, but the emphasis is on the magic of sharing your work with others. (1 hr)


Preparation & Pre-residency  Teachers are given a list of things that they must ask the students to bring to school before the residency starts. Students will be required to bring one object out of three different categories and a musical instrument of any kind.

Concept Development & Improvisation  Depending on what the objects are, any number of storytelling devices may be used to find out about the objects' histories. If an object suggests something physically funny, for example, then the exercises that come from the object should be made to create humorous physical movement. No writing takes place, only research. (1 hr)

Writing Practice & Writing  After some warm-up with spontaneity exercises, specific poetry structures are introduced and the students will be given quiet concentrated time to use each one. The choice of poetic structures will be made based on the age, mood, and skill of the class. Examples of some structures include: the cinquain, the three line location-action model, five-line adjective-verb model, the three-line reaction model, etc.(1 hr)

Re-write & Presentation  We begin by giving the students some quiet time to perfect their poems. The students then read them for the class or in some cases act them out. (1 hr) A presentation of some of the poems could be made to the school and invited guests. (1.5 hr Preparation/45 min long)



Workshops I offer workshops in clown, acting, and juggling. Although these are not the focus of the residency they are a way to get more students involved. Workshops can be scheduled after school or during lunch, or they can be used in a classroom situation. They should be open to students excluded from the three visit program.

Workshops are a place to exchange ideas and techniques. An in-service workshop can be held for teachers who wish to discuss ideas in poetry, word games or improvisation work. Topics could include clown scenario, sensitivity/trust exercises, or ensemble buildin



     1     1. Video materials include blank tapes not supplied by the school.

     2      2. This amount also includes misc. costs.                    

     3     3. Per diems and travel costs apply only to schools outside of Calgary and may be more,  depending on distance and costs.


• Students will need pen and paper, They will also be required to bring three objects from home and a musical instrument (preferably one that is homemade).

• Drawing, crayons, and paper supplies for all the students involved.

• A computer and a printer with word processing capabilities for creating clean copy of poems would be helpful but is not necessary.