Here are some of our aspirations:

So you’re a teacher, and you’d like to bring some real live poets into your classroom. Congratulations, we applaud your decision!  (We’re big on applause.) Of course, you’re going to have lots of questions about how WordPlay will fit in your classroom. Here are answers to some of the more popular questions:

What do you do – and how much does a WordPlay session cost?

It varies. We have a number of options, and we’re always willing to discuss creative solution for finding a way to make a visit happen. These, however, are our regular rates.

$390 – Half-day Workshop, in which one or two poets visit your school and conduct workshops in (up to) two blocks (of up to 35 students) within a morning or an afternoon.

Poets always perform a few of their own poems as part of the workshops.

$600 – Full-day Workshop, in which one or two poets visit your school and conduct workshops in (up to) four blocks (of up to 35 students) over the course of one school day.

Poets always perform a few of their own poems as part of the workshops.

$575 – Poetry Through Song session with long-time Wordplay poet and songwriter Barbara Adler, and her band mates from Proud Animal, including Juno-winning drummer-percussionist Ben Brown and guitarist-vocalist Gavin Youngash.

The trio has years of experience of working with young learners of all ages, as private music teachers and as instructors in programs such as The Vancouver East Cultural Center’s IGNITE! Mentorship Program, The Vancouver Biennale BIG IDEAS program and Literacy B.C. No previous musical experience is necessary. This fee includes one class of up to 35 elementary age students for 90 minutes of fun-filled learning.

$925 – All-Star Slam, a general assembly performance geared toward audiences of at least one entire grade or preferably the entire school.

In the All-Star Slam, three poetry slam champions performing in a slam competition format. Students hold the scorecards and interact throughout the full slam experience. This has proven to be the best way to generate interest in spoken word poetry curriculum and start slam clubs. After seeing how much fun it is, the students are excited to write their own slam poems.

$1175 – Outspoken in Unison, a general assembly performance geared toward audiences of at least one entire grade or preferably the entire school.

Outspoken in Unison showcases collaboratively written and performed poetry, created with the support of the BC Arts Council, featuring new work from Jillian Christmas, RC Weslowski, Lucia Misch, Dia Davina, Alessandra Naccarato, Erin Kirsh and Sonya Littlejohn.  With subjects ranging from heartbreaking to fiery to weird and wonderful, this showcase exists on the boundaries between spoken word and theatre.  Not only will it engage your students in poetry, Outspoken in Unison will demonstrate the power of speaking out together – while embodying some of the more exciting possibilities of spoken word as an art form.

Schools outside of Metro Vancouver will be assessed travel costs at a rate of $0.35/kilometre traveled.

Subsidized prices are available for certain schools (or other organizations) that can demonstrate financial need. You can obtain a more detailed breakdown by contacting us through wordplaypoets@gmail.com or the booking form.

And don’t be scared off by the numbers—we like poems a whole lot more than math, and we’ll work hard to get poets into your classroom.

My students are (young / old / poetry haters / teenagers / ESL students). Will WordPlay still work for them?

The workshops are specifically designed to adapt to the needs of your classroom. Our poets have an enormous variety of styles and experience, and they are experts at getting people interested. We like to find out as much as possible about your class before we come to visit, so that we can make sure to send poets with relevant material. We have a variety of workshops designed specifically for English, Drama, and Creative Writing classes at every grade level from 8–12. We also have experience working with elementary schools.

Elementary schools, really? Do you have a special set of workshops for younger students?

Yes indeed we do. Barbara Adler leads a special workshop for grades 4–7 called “Poetry Through Song”.

Poetry is music, and music is poetry in these fun, high energy and accessible song-writing workshops for elementary school students. Your students will learn how to use poetic techniques like rhyme, rhythm, and metaphor to create great song lyrics, and then put our words together with the basics of melody and harmony to create our very own song. The most exciting part is when the percussion instruments come out and students get the chance to practice rhythms from all around the world. It’s a great way to get your elementary school students participating in poetry and can also be a fun way to practice some cross-curricular learning. Can we write songs inspired by your unit on the environmentsocial justicedinosaurs? You bet!

If you want a straight ahead spoken word poetry workshop, we can do that too. The emphasis will be on playing with words and creating a shared imaginative place more than actually writing lines of poetry, but we’ve found this approach creates a great love of words and lays the foundation for young writers.

Don’t youth of today think poetry is boring?

Nope. We’ve done hundreds of workshops. Boring isn’t a word that has applied to any of them.

What will the poets do?

They’ll perform some of their own poems, lead students through writing and performance exercises, provide tools and feedback, and generally be charming. We can’t say in what order this will happen—it varies every time.

How long are the workshops?

Anywhere from twenty minutes to a 16-week poet-in-residence course. Our standard workshop is approximately sixty minutes, but let us know how long you’d like us to visit, and we’ll create a workshop to fit that time.

How should I prepare my students for the workshop?

You can have kids bring material that they’d like to work on during the workshop. You can have them watch videos of ‘slam poets’ ahead of time (just search ‘slam poetry’ on YouTube). You can share your favourite poems with them. You can have them bring their favourite poems to share with us. All of these things are optional, but awesome.

How can I help the poets during the workshop?

Be ready to participate in the exercises (we write along with the students, and we like it when you do too). Don’t worry if the class gets excited—we’re used to it.

How many students can the poets handle?

We always send poets in pairs, and we’ve found from experience that 35 students is the maximum size for a workshop. We’re able to work with groups of most sizes, but the smaller the group, the more personal attention the poets can give to each poem.

How can WordPlay help me start a Slam Club at my school?

In many, many ways! We could perform in your auditorium at lunch to drum up interest, conduct workshops with Creative Writing and Drama classes (always a good place to start looking for aspiring spoken word poets).

What else do you want to know?

After you send in the initial information, we’ll contact you to make sure that we’ve covered everything.

What’s the most hilarious thing that’s ever happened during a workshop?

It involved a skunk.

When can you come?

Right away.  Unless you’re booking Outspoken in Unison.  Then we need three weeks’ notice.  Otherwise, right away.  You can book us or contact us through the booking form.