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Rayya Liebich

Discipline: Writing
Homebase: Nelson
Languages: English, French
Grant Eligibility: Eligible to apply for AIC

Award-winning writer and poet Rayya Liebich brings her passion for poetry and twelve years of teaching experience to the classrooms. Her projects are designed to engage all learners and encourage even reluctant readers to enjoy writing. She loves to dispel preconceived notions about poetry and watch students discover the power and joy in their creative expression. She is always impressed with students abilities to access higher level thinking skills by using analogy and metaphor and loves to nudge outside of the box thinking. Her projects blend hands-on writing time, visual art, and performance skills. She has led and adapted all three projects listed below to meet the needs, interests and levels of K-12 students. Rayya holds a B.A. from McGill University (English Lit.) and a B Ed. from The University of Victoria. Her debut collection of poetry MIN HAYATI was published by Inanna Publications and Education Inc (Toronto, 2021) and her poetry chapbook "Tell Me Everything" won the Golden Grassroots Award and was published by The Ontario Poetry Society in 2015. Rayya believes children are natural poets and that the world needs more poetry.

Classroom Residency(ies)

Contact Me: Email

Patchwork Poetry

School Year: 22-23

By "stealing" lines from great poetry students use inspiration to create new original poems drawing from their personal experiences and imaginations. Next, playing with form students work in pairs to explore found poetry and push the envelope of what poetry can or can't be. Finally, through guided activities the whole class collaboratively creates poems adding on ideas to build meaning and feeling. This project develops trust, cooperation and creative risk taking skills in a safe and fun environment. Patchwork poetry culminates with a poetry reading and a class performance of their favourite collaborative creation.

Poetry Alive: Blackout Poetry!

School Year: 22-23

Through the creation of blackout poetry and three-dimensional visual art, students will develop their literary and artistic skills outside of the box. By using markers to remove words from existing texts (newspapers, magazines, discarded books) students will create fresh and unique poems on the page. Inspired by the work of Hundertwasser, visual artist Natasha Smith will guide students on how to apply the techniques of line, colour, pattern and form, to add a visual component and enhance the written text. These works will then be compiled into a collection in the form of an altered book. In a final exploration, the whole school will be invited to create magnetic tiles of words and pictures to create a poetry board where students can continue their expression of words and images beyond their classroom, and into the hallway. Engaging hands-on learning, higher level thinking skills, and creative risk taking, this project is designed to engage all learners and learning styles.

Poetry Through a Lens

School Year: 22-23

"The world is full of magic things waiting patiently for our senses to grow sharper" - John Keats. Come artists, writers, and scientists and zoom into wonder using a jeweler's loupe! We will magnify and explore everything from the back of our hands, to an amethyst crystal, to a kernel of popcorn. Analogies will become the bones for poems and stories, and observations will lead to giant artwork of microscopic worlds. Inspired by the work of Kerry Rueff and his Private Eye curriculum, this project develops the interdisciplinary mind, hands-on learning, creativity, and scientific literacy. Through close observation using a jeweller's loupe, students ask themselves two questions; what else does it remind me of, and, why might it be like this? Students expand their imaginations and reflect on function and form of the natural world through their writing and detailed visual art. The poems and drawings are celebrated in a culminating gallery walk for the whole school to admire.

Testimonials & Reviews

Poetry is even more fun than rugby! Student, Age 12, Nelson Waldorf School
The best things about the blackout poetry was that I didn't have to be a good speller to be a good poet. I love the accordian book I created and all my poems and artwork in it. Please come teach this project again! Student, Age 10, Hume Elementary School
Rayya has the students spellbound from start to finish. She is a very experienced teacher and her passion for writing is contagious. I think it was transformative for the students to see what they were capable of writing and feeling. These projects are the kind all schools need to inspire students to enjoy literacy on a whole other level. D. Switzer, Principal, Nelson Waldorf School

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