I travelled.
I didn’t know the world
back then.
I just travelled.
I was afraid
I would never return.
I tumbled that hillside
back into myself.

— Louise Bernice Halfe, "Ekweski, Turn-Around Woman"

Krystle Mullin

Krystle Mullin
Toronto Poetry Slam Team

A Free Online Study Guide!

For High School English, Dramatic and Media Arts

Barbara PelmanThis guide makes a major contribution to the study and appreciation of poetry and performance, through modern technologies that students will be familiar with. Each section is thoughtful, intensive and enjoyable, and would be an excellent addition to any high school curriculum.
— Barbara Pelman, English teacher, School District #51, Victoria, B.C.; Instructor, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria


The study guide features:

  • Video performances on YouTube by 14 of Canada’s best poets and storytellers
  • Interview videos about the writing process with advice to young writers
  • Writing workshop videos that provide ready-made activities
  • Performer profiles
  • Warm up questions
  • Discussion questions about videos
  • Suggested activities

Benefits - why use this in your classroom?

Poetry & storytelling come alive

Poetry was originally a spoken art. Storytelling is the most ancient form of communication. Both truly come alive when you have poets sharing their own work as a reading or dramatic performance, rather than just words on a page.

Brings new media into the classroom

Students who have watched the videos and participated in trial runs of the discussions and exercises said what they liked the most was "hearing and watching the performances, learning about a skilled poet and having a chance to write."

Liz ZetlinDesigned by Owen Sound Poet Laureate Liz Zetlin, with the assistance of students and teachers, for Senior English, Drama and Media Arts curriculum

The questions and activities were co-created with the assistance of Elspeth Reid, a Senior English Student at John Diefenbaker Secondary School under the supervision of her teacher, Doug Abell, and was edited by Barbara Pelman, a high school and university English teacher with 30 years experience in the classroom.

Curriculum Expectations Met

  • Canadian content
  • Oral language
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Poetry types: lyric, dub, slam, performance poetry, first nations poetry
  • Dramatic arts: performance, writing for performance, storytelling
  • Media arts: video, advertising

This guide is student and teacher friendly. Students will be energized, stimulated and entertained by the emotion and intellect of these poets and storytellers. Teachers will enjoy the willingness of students to offer their opinions about the writing and the performances. Both students and teachers will be inspired to embrace more of their own creativity.
— Doug Abell, English Teacher, John Diefenbaker Secondary School, Hanover, Ontario