AWCS For Schools and Teachers


Professional Development for Teachers

The Alexandra Writers’ Centre offers professional development workshops for teachers in all disciplines. These workshops focus both on how teachers can access their own creativity and learn to write, and also how teachers can activate the potential for creative writing in the classroom.

Make it Write for Teachers!

Calling all teachers! Do you have a story to tell? Have you always wanted to write your memoirs or a personal essay? Do you want to learn how to put the creative in creative non-fiction? Teachers who are interested in learning to be (better) writers are invited to bring a favourite journal and come create and play with words. This is not a how-to-teach-writing class, but an opportunity to get your own words on the page. The best writing teachers write! Come write with us.

  • Instructor: Kim McCullough
  • 4 class session on Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30.

Kim McCullough is a writer and teacher, and a writing teacher, from Calgary. A two-time winner of the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay prize, Kim’s essay Night/Light was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Her work has appeared in various literary magazines including The New Quarterly, Grain, and Room. Kim is at work on a series of essays on teaching, and on a novel set in Calgary.

Teaching through Play

Play expands understanding, keeps attention, and improves lesson memory. Plus, it’s fun. Learn to captivate your elementary and teen students by turning lectures and ideas into hands on activities which stretch their imaginations, engage their minds, and make specific learning points into games and goals.

  • Instructor: Kim Firmston
  • Classes available upon request

Kim Firmston is the director of the AWCS Youth Programs. Kim’s short story, “Life Before War”, was short listed in the 2008 CBC Literary Award and published in FreeFall Magazine. Her plays for children have appeared at the Calgary Fringe Festival and around the world. Her YA novels, Schizo, Hook Up, Touch, Stupid, and Creep Con are published by Lorimer SideStreets.


AWCS in the Classroom

Want the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society to come to your classroom? Looking for a field trip destination for a small class? Want to have some fun while still staying on curriculum? Well you’ve come to the right place. We have just the thing whether you’re looking for a workshop, a full day, or a full week residency. In a nutshell, we make writing fun!

Prices and Scheduling

AWCS in the Classroom workshops are available for $100 per 60-90 minute session, or $350 per full day. Prices are open to negotiation.

For more information, or to schedule a workshop, contact Kim Firmston, Youth Program director.


Tool Box

  • Appropriate for All Ages

Students will explore genre, character, plot arc, and senses. Together they build a writer’s toolbox that can be used to create a compelling and well structured story.

Overcoming Challenges and Learning to Love Words

  • Perfect for large groups. Appropriate for All Ages

In this workshop we find ways around obstacles like dyslexia, ADHD, and other disabilities and challenges which stop us from enjoying the creation of stories. Together we discover where stories are hidden and then create an epic live action story (or two) which will become the stuff of legends, proving that anyone can learn the tools to become a writer.

Word Magic

  • Multi-topic full day workshop OR individual sessions on the topic of your choice.
  • Appropriate for All Ages

Wizards! Wield wild words. Learn word spells that you can cast to the amazement of your friends, family, and editor. (The ministry of literature is not responsible for any storytelling mayhem which may result from this course. Regular unicorn restrictions apply).


  • Exploring Time
  • Exploring the Senses
  • Exploring Colour
  • Showing not Telling
  • Mirroring techniques in plot and character building


  •  Appropriate for Junior High and High School

Action scenes are some of the hardest things to write. It’s difficult to explain what’s happening, keep the tension high, and maintain that heart stopping drama. In this workshop we will discuss what makes a great action scene, learn how to create an action character, and find ways to translate movement into written action. Then, as a group, we will create a few fast-paced, live action scenes of our own.

Write A Micro Mini-Novel

  • Grades 4-12

Learn all about the structure of a story while creating a tiny novel of your own. Study genre, setting, and how characters (both protagonist and antagonist) push the plot forward. Each chapter is another concept, and although the novel is short, it is a full story from beginning, through rising action, to climax, to finish.

Pitch It!

  • Full day multi-topic workshop OR one topic session.
  • Appropriate for High School students who are looking for the next step.

Have you ever dreamed of the big leagues? Try your hand at selling your own story to the world!


  • The Synopsis, the publishing package, and the Quick Pitch
  • Marketing and Commercials
  • Pitching – trial by fire
  • The Publishing Package

World Building

  • Appropriate for Junior High and High School students

The world we live in has more than just sight and sound, so why shouldn’t your fictional world? Learn how to pump up your descriptions to draw your reader in.  Use your setting’s time of day, emotion, shapes, colours, textures, and weather to show off the state of your characters. Make your readers fall into your story.

Storytelling Off the Page

  • 60 – 90 minutes. Appropriate for Kindergarten to grade three

This workshop is for the beginning writer who has not yet learned to read or write to those just getting a grasp on this crucial ability. By learning on their feet to tell their own stories, kids will get practice in storytelling while exploring senses, character, and description. They can then take the stories they create and put them onto the page and read them to their friends and family. What a great way to get kids hooked on reading and writing!