with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Berlin Community School!

This was my first visit to a school in South Jersey, and what a treat! I love coming to a new area and finding kids just as creative as kids in other parts of the States. Berlin Community School is a school filled with alive imaginations. Just check out some of these stories:

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: a black jaguar on a beach looking to win a karate contest up against a white tiger

The story: I can't say that I worked up an actual story to go with this, but I like the visual of the two big cats trying out moves -- the white tiger is cheating by getting ready to throw sand. But somehow I think the crab is going to win.


The four ingredients: a superhero at a house in the middle of nowhere who wants a friend and is up against a sand monster

The story: our hero desperately wants a friend. It's hard to have friends when you're a superhero. Everyone just wants you to rescue them. So he gets an invitation to come out to a house in the desert for vacation. Little does he know that it's the plot of the terrible sand monster! Now that I've had time to think about it, I think that the two of them work out some kind of staged fight which draws tourists -- they can go into business together!

Assembly doodles:

these are a few of the drawings which kids made from simple shapes. Fantastic imaginations!


Workshop fun!

Check out these stories which all came from our 40-minute workshops:

There is an interesting idea at the heart of this story: a journal that's really fiction. This boy wants to impress a girl, so he sneaks off his sister's journal to give him tips on how girls think.

But the sister finds out, so she starts to write things in her journal that aren't true about girls. Believe it or not, girls don't like rats handed to them by the tail.

Here we have a cat who snowboards. Why, you ask? Because the ruling racers on the mountain, the Snow Dogs, have stolen her ball of yarn to use as a finish line for their big race.

Our cat won't sit still for this! She realizes the only way she can get her yarn back is to win the race and grab the yarn before it gets torn in two.

Will she win? Looks like she will, but then again, that dog looks like he's angry enough to pull some kind of dirty trick.

Don't be frightened. This isn't a cruel, disgusting dinosaur rising up out of the mud. It's a nice, disgusting dinosaur rising up out of pudding. Yes, I wrote that right: pudding!

It seems that our dinosaur hero discovered how to make pudding and wanted to scare away his friends from his discovery. But in the end, he decides to share, and all his friends jump right into the pudding puddle. Or should I say, dive into dessert!

This actress is really convincing as an old-time woman in a story. That's because she's actually from the past! She has a watch that has brought her into the present, and tells her how much time she has left.

Her problem is that the stage hand -- a young guy with a crush on her -- has found it and decided to run off with it, happy to have something that belongs to her. Will she get it back before it's too late? Only time will tell.

What a fast-paced, fun day. Thanks to everyone who made it possible, and most of all, thanks to you Berlin students who showed everyone how truly creative you are.

Keep up the good work!

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