with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to Bainbridge Elementary!

Small schools can have big ideas! Check out the stories that Bainbridge kids imagined today.

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: an alligator named Zak in a grocery store looking for food up against a lion

The story: Zak is a hungry alligator. But he can't catch any food in the wild. So he goes to the grocery store, where he hears that food is easier to catch.

When he gets there, he's excited to see a chicken walking around! So he tried to catch her for dinner. She's not happy about that! All she wanted was to rescue her eggs!

The lion is the manager of the store. He's not happy about Zak, either.

Drawing an alligator's face looking almost straight to the viewer is hard! Kids thought it look liked like a dog. But then, I hadn't put on all the scales and teeth.

Does it still look like a dog?


The four ingredients: a farm boy named Barney in a jungle looking for a weasel that took the keys to his tractor up against an old lady with a cane

The story: our hero lived on a farm. At the edge of their property is an old woman who is an amazing gardener. Barney watches her garden grow, and grow and GROW. It looks so big, it's almost like a jungle.

Then one day he sees a weasel snooping around the barn. When he goes to investigate, he finds that the old lady is sitting on his tractor and the weasel has taken his keys! Why does she want the tractor? Because she wants to plow down the huge jungle that has taken on a mind of its own.

In fact, it's followed her to Barney's farm! Watch out!


Workshop fun!

Check out these stories which all came from our 45-minute workshops:

I'm not sure who came up with the idea of CASH COW, but it was a genius concept: a cow who solves crime by posing as a game show host! He has a hat with blinking lights that everyone recognizes. He goes around a farm that's been taken over by the animals. They all live in a barn that's been turned into apartments. Even the farmer lives there, but he's not happy.

One day, Cash Cow's hat disappears. Someone's stolen it! Who? Eventually, he discovers that

the farmer took it! Why? Because the farmer wants to get his farm back and doesn't want Cash Cow interfering.

Cash Cow gets his hat back by promising prizes to all the other animals and then telling them that the farmer has the prizes!

Magical elf stories are fun, as long as one doesn't end up doing the usual elf things -- you know, Santa and making toys. In this one, we have a really wonderful idea. There's a magical fish in the Lost Lake called the Fire Flake Fish. Scales from that fish can be used to start campfires. Only the elf knows this and he regularly catches the fish to take a few scales.

But one day a scientist not only discovers the fish, he sees the elf, too! So he's out to catch the fish so that he can catch the elf.

He's laid a trap for our poor elf, who is down to his last Fire Flake. But our elf is not worried about getting caught. He's got a plan.

He's going to make a hot seat for that annoying scientist!

This story had a lot of fun elements. First we had a French woman who baked goodies to go along with stories she read aloud to children. Second, we had a sweet setting: a square in a town in a France, with her bakery on one side and the library on the other. In the middle was a dark, stone fountain with murky water.

Our story involves a missing child and a monster who lives in the fountain.

Everyone thinks the monster took the missing child. So when the monster steals our baker's cookies, she rushes over to grab the sweet from it and demand the child back.

But what no one knows is that the monster IS the missing child, turned into the creature in the fountain by one of her magical treats. Only this cookie can turn him back into a human form. By stopping him, she's actually making things worse!

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New on my site!

I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!

I like this photo because these are the four kids who made up my Story Team in the one assembly, looking at the drawing that I had started. This is the reason I come to schools -- so that kids can see how great their stories can be. Sure, I do the drawing, but they do the imagining.

Keep up the good work! You Bainbridge kids proved me right -- you are creative! Now, keep inventing crazy stories and put them down on paper. Remember how much fun it is to have others share in the fun.

And while you're here, check out the fun stuff on my site!

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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!
Strange news is happening! Let my Headline Maker give you a really weird headline. Then write a story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities