CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Create a Writing Seminar

English Language Arts
3 to 4 lessons
To increase knowledge of the techniques, skills, and processes of writing; to create a seminar to teach others
Students will create a seminar about an element of writing processes, skills, or techniques, based on their own experience and on their research of Atwood’s work.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to describe the writing process. What techniques work best for them when they are writing a critical essay? A poem? A story? How does their writing process differ for each genre?

Outline the Opportunity

In small groups, students will explore the topic Margaret Atwood: Queen of CanLit on the CBC Digital Archives website and record what Margaret Atwood reveals about her techniques, skill, and processes of writing. Students will use their research as the basis to create a seminar on writing. Each group will narrow its topic down to a specific thesis statement which group members will prove in their seminar. Have each group present their seminars to the class.


Revisit and Reflect

Have students write a journal reflection that identifies how their own practices and beliefs about writing have been enriched by this activity. Encourage them to use their seminars to make inferences about the writing craft.



In some of the clips, Atwood is told that she has a pessimistic view of life, which she says is merely realistic. She points out that stories that are true to life "have wolves in them." Students can write the outline for a short story on a topic of their choice, as long as the story includes a "wolf." Have them share their outlines with the class and explain what the "wolf' adds to the story.

Related Content

The Lives of Alice Munro

A master of the short story, Alice Munro is one of Canada's most acclaimed literary treasures....

Antonine Maillet, Acadian Avenger

"I have avenged my ancestors," said author Antonine Maillet in 1979 with the publication of he...

Canada's Nobel Laureates

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded yearly in the fields of physics, chemistry, physi...

Marina Endicott, author

The author of Good to a Fault describes her elation at being shortlisted for the Giller Prize ...

Nicolas Dickner, author

In 2008 the author of Nikolski talks about the process of writing his novel.