with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Adamsville Elementary!

It has been a while since I visited a school in New Jersey. I was thrilled to be back, especially to be at such a creative school. Adamsville is filled with students who love ideas. And the turn-out to the evening program showed me it's not just the kids who care about stories and creativity; parents do, too! Let me show you the stories we invented during the day.

The Assembly Stories

The four ingredients: a dog in a castle looking for candy up against a T-Rex

The story: our hero dog goes to the castle to try to get just one lick of The Golden Chocolate Lollipop, the prize candy of a mean kind who has taken all the kingdom's sweets.

Do you see how the dog tricked the king? That's one smart dog. And one lucky lick!


The four ingredients: a detective in a box looking for his grandmother with a cowboy silly-sidekick.

The story: when his adventurer-grandmother disappears in the jungle, a detective sets off to find her, using anything he can to save her. But who will save him? His cowboy friend, of course.

I loved the setting of "a box." Wonderful! That's creative thinking!


The workshop tales

How's this for a creative story -- an artist has a magic brush. He paints portraits in a mall. But one of his lines pops off the painting and goes for a romp in the mall, creating all kinds of trouble. It spells out "FREE" (in cursive, of course -- it is only one line, after all) on signs, it puts mustaches on photographs.

The only way the artist can get it back is if he smacks down on it with his canvas! Here we see him trying to smack it while it's on the hat of the security guard!

Here's a fun idea: a mouse escapes from a house with some precious cheese. How does he escape? By flying! He rigs up some kind of wings, then soars out to the woods.

But there's trouble in the woods. The Mouse Queen wants the cheese, so she sends her monster of a guard out to steal it.

In this picture, we see the monster guard catching our mouse hero as he tries to rescue his cheese. If only he could lure the guard into going back to the house for some more cheese, his problem would be solved!

The Elephant Cowboy

An elephant cowboy?

Sure! In our workshops, anything can happen. In this story, an elephant cowboy tries to rescue a poor, little pony who got trapped by a flash flood in the desert. I think both the elephant and the pony were brave.

I don't like drawings horses because I don't think I draw them well. But it's good to try things that we're not sure we can do. That's what the pony had to do in the story. She had to try to walk across the rope when she was scared.

It's important to try new things if you want to be creative, kids!

Farm animals go to an amusement park!

Do you know what I like about doing workshops? I never know where stories will go, even with kindergartners.

In this story, farm animals go to an amusement park, and the pig takes pictures. Kids in the class gave me the different ideas of "snapshots" from the day, which I then drew for them. The last picture was how I thought the animals felt at the end of the day.

Sometimes stories for young children don't have any real plot. They just tell something fun that happened. This story was really fun!

A few final thoughts:

Making stories is something everyone can do. You all have ideas. Now you need to use them. Put them down on paper and share them with others. Keep trying new things. Fill up your minds with good ideas. Take time to write and draw your story ideas. That way, you'll always be creative!

Thanks to everyone for such a great day!

Here's a drawing -- a very fast drawing -- from the evening show. It shows the Wacky Headline: Huge Snake Grabs Flying Banana.

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Pick the ingredients to stories and click through to see how I've started them. Then you finish the story!

Make a character out of some funny people I've drawn for you!
Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to use them to make your own story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities