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It Could Be Verse: Three Modules on Writing Poems

Tom Lips • Poetry

Tailored to three age groups, these modules can be presented online or in the classroom, as circumstances permit. “Picking Berries, Picking Words” (Grades 3-5) and “Tracking the Wild Idea” (Grades 6-8) are 40 minutes long. “The Thing That Needs Saying” (Grades 9-12) requires 60 minutes.

Each module includes an introduction, some examples of poems, and one or more interactive exercises that will result in poems created collectively by the students. In order to promote full participation and a successful outcome for all, the steps will be small and easy (i.e. age-appropriate), with turn-taking, guided choices and support from the presenter as required.

Participation will be largely oral, so that students with challenges in reading and spelling will not be put on the spot. The collectively generated poems can be showcased by the school (e.g. on posters or online) in cooperation with teachers. While the modules are designed to stand alone as introductory experiences, students will benefit more if the sessions can be repeated and varied to focus on different exercises and learning goals.

This workshop can be delivered in person or online via Zoom.


Grade Suitability3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Maximum Class Size25 (10 for online classes)
Time Required40-60 minutes per session
Material RequiredPaper, pens, pencils
Language of InstructionEnglish

Tom Lips

Tom Lips has a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing poems, songs and stories for over 40 years. He has released four recordings of original songs, and his poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Descant, The Antigonish Review and other poetry magazines. He has contributed songs and song lyrics to several stage productions, and has performed as a singer-songwriter and storyteller in a variety of venues and festivals. Tom has led songwriting or storytelling workshops for the Canadian Authors Association, the Overbrook Community Association, Camp Au Grand Bois, and other organizations. He would like to share his writing experience and skills, and most of all the fun of creating poems and lyrics, with young people – to inspire and be inspired by them.

Contact the artist

  • (613) 581-8130
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