Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon

Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon


Inter-arts, Literary arts, Visual arts

Grade Level: k, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Language: english

Regions: Norman, Parklands, Interlake, Westman, Central Plains, Pembina Valley, Eastman, Capital Region



Passionate about working with students from K to 12 in schools throughout Manitoba, Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon is a longtime participant in the AIS program in the Literary Category. An eclectic artist, with a degree in Fine Arts and an M.A. in English, she teaches all ages - with rollicking fun story-writing and illustrating as well as sophisticated creative writing workshops. To Margaret, there is no greater pleasure than when a teacher tells her "That student hasn’t written a word all year! How did you do it?"
A lifelong student of literature, up to PH.D level, Margaret is an award-winning published author, (Tiktala, fairytale, The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach, anti-bullying novel). She has a wealth of tools in her toolbox that she uses to generate enthusiasm in kids, empowering them to find their voices. Working with students in many locations, Margaret inspires them to write out of their own place and experience.
*Willing to use remote learning platforms; familiar with Zoom.


Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon work sample Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon work sample Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon work sample

Project Samples

Story-Writing and Illustrating

For students from K to 8, this program is joyfully tailor-made to suit classroom literacy needs. Artist and writer, Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon, is adept in being inclusive of students of varying abilities. She moves fluidly from introducing and sharing her published works and illustrations, to step-by-step student engagement in writing and illustrating. With a high degree of humor and student engagement, illustrating on the smart-board or chalk-board, Margaret leads students in lively brainstorming that leads to student creation of their own illustrated storybooks or poetry books. Collaborating teachers and students can request themes of their choice whether fairytales, sci fi, stories drawing respectfully on the seven teachings, animal transformation stories and more. Everyone becomes a successful participant with a wonderful creative end product. Adaptions of this lesson include art and writings for classroom showcasing, illustrating emotions, and illustrated poetry books or artworks.

Creative Writing Workshop

This workshop is designed for teachers looking for a dynamic and sophisticated creative writing immersion for students. With lively classroom interaction, students engage in carefully orchestrated creative writing exercises that help students find the distinctive beauty of their own voices. This immersion begins with students writing out of memory, which is a compelling way to ensure all students feel safe and empowered. Margaret models writing skills, with examples from her own work, and uses tested methods to get past writer’s block to make reluctant writers into enthusiastic writers. She brings students from personal experience exercises into fiction writing, focussing on plot, character, setting, and theme. Students can work in pairs, at first, as high school students benefit from social engagement as it helps with confidence and lowers self-consciousness. From there, students write their own fictional pieces, having deepened creative writing skills over the course of the week.

Novel Study and Anti-Bullying Guide

For teachers looking for a creative novel study and anti-bullying unit, this workshop is flexibly designed for a one to four week artist visit, suitable for students from Grades Six to Ten (Zoom adaption possible). Drawing on her humorous and heartfelt anti-bullying novel, The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach, along with the teacher's guide she created to accompany the book, Margaret helps classrooms engage in a creative adventure involving classroom read-alouds, drawing, writing, and step-by-step exercises that lead to a great learning experience. Margaret can kick off the novel study that teachers continue, or she can bring students through the entire novel read-a-loud and study, with the anti-bullying focus. Set in Manitoba in the 1970s, the main character, a Grade Six boy, Munro McLean, and his friend group at the lake, must come to terms with peer group dynamics, bullying, and how to be a true friend to oneself and others. Short-listed for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award


"It was a joy to have Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon present her writing workshop to my students last spring. She has a warm, engaging manner in front of the class as she shared her experiences with life and writing and invited them to do the same. In turn, they felt inspired to convey their passions and experiences in powerful, authentic writing. Definitely a worthwhile experience!"

—Cathrine Wall, ELA teacher, Vincent Massey Collegiate

“Students looked forward to each session and loved watching Margaret draw… ‘I like making books and art.’ Emilie, and ‘I want to be an author.’ Ginger”

—Christelle Edel, Grade 3-4 Teacher with Students, Morris School

“I had a student who was missing a lot of classes but when we started reading The Beech Nut and using the anti-bullying guide, she told me she would come every day—and she did! Her mark doubled.”

—Marie McCormick, ELA Teacher, R.B. Russell Vocational High School