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Educational Resources

Writing Matters: Creative Writing Activities

All comprehensive teaching strategies on the Library and Archives Canada site contain detailed guidelines for educators, including learning outcomes, instructions for classroom use, student worksheets and suggested criteria for assessment.

[PDF 60 KB] [RTF 99 KB]

Teaching Strategy

Description of Project
This unit will encourage students to use the material on the Library and Archives Canada Canadian Writers website to inspire their own creative writing. The unit contains student-centered activities that emphasize the guided process of a dialectic triad: information, inspiration, and invention. Students will access information from the archival fonds of celebrated Canadian writers and, with modest teacher intervention and guidance, will synthesize their discoveries into their own creative writing.

Student-Centered Activities
Activities 1 through 3 should be presented consecutively over several class periods. Teachers may choose to assign individual tasks or divide the class into small groups. For example, activity 1 could be assigned as small group work. There are also two optional activities suggested if time permits.

Overall Expectations

Teachers and teacher-librarians are encouraged to access this site to fulfill a variety of curricular expectations for their students in grades 11 and 12. As stated in many provincial guidelines, students are expected to use print and electronic sources for analytic and creative purposes. Furthermore, students are expected to "demonstrate an understanding of Canadian fiction ... and non-fiction from diverse cultures, regions, and time periods." (See The Ontario Curriculum 2000, p. 69.) "The student will show an understanding of the types of discourse: by responding to and employing the media (aural, visual, print and multimedia) related to a specific context." (See The Quebec Secondary School Curriculum Document p. 16.) Since the Canadian writers featured on the Library and Archives Canada site represent various genres of literature and regions of Canada, their generous contributions may help students realize these expectations.

Learning Outcomes

Language Arts (English), grades 11 and 12


  • Recognize the characteristics of primary and secondary sources.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the uses of archival material such as journals, drafts, and other primary sources.
  • Understand the stages of creative writing from inspiration and revision to invention.


  • Assess the value of revision in all forms of writing.
  • Experiment with the various linguistic forms and genres modeled by the Canadian Writers website.
  • Explore in essay form some of the literary terms defined or expressed in this study.
  • Write with an authentic voice and a clear sense of audience.

Oral and Visual Communication

  • Respect, support and collaborate with others in all shared explorations.
  • Invent a variety of rehearsal or collaborative strategies for an exchange of ideas.
  • Employ visual and aural technologies displayed by the various writers on the Canadian Writers website (including multimedia approaches) to convey ideas.


From Ink Lake: Canadian Stories. Selected by Michael Ondaatje. [Mississauga, Ontario: Knopf Canada, 1992.

Ghiselin, Brewster, ed. The Creative Process: A Symposium. Toronto: New American Library of Canada, 1965.

The Oxford Book of French-Canadian Short Stories. Introduced by Marie-Claire Blais. Edited by Richard Teleky. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Urquhart, Jane. The Whirlpool: A Novel. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986.