with Bruce Van Patter 2007-2008 School Visits

My visit to Brecht Elementary!

Another great visit to Lancaster! I really love schools in this part of PA. Here are the fun stories we invented in our sessions today.

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a wizard in a storm looking for a friend with a silly sidekick of a wise-cracking cobra

The story: A lonely wizard lives in a house up above a town where he watches kids playing at a school and wishes he could be friends with kids. So he gets a job as a custodian at the school and waits for his chance to do something really impressive.

One day while the kids were at recess, a freak blizzard blew in. All the kids rushed into the school except one boy, trapped out in the snow. Our hero wizard rushed out to save him armed only with his trusty pet, his jokey cobra.

I had a bit of a hard time trying to think of something silly the snake could say.


The four ingredients: a hamster looking for a book at a zoo up against a scorpion

The story: A hamster works in a library. One day, he notices that a stack of books is being shipped out through inter-library loan to the zoo for a bear to read. He also notices that these are strange books -- they seem to have a magic feeling surrounding them. That's because a wizard is trying to take over the zoo with his Books of Danger.

So our hamster stows away with the books, hoping to warn the bear of the danger lurking in the books!

The Workshop Stories

This tale had a great combination: a wizard who drives a truck for a living. We decided that he has come from another dimension with his sidekick, the Worm of Wisdom. He's seeking a woman who has stolen his powers and the worm is guding him to her.

The woman had found work in a diner on an isolated highway. But her magic has not been working well, since she didn't know when she stole the magic that she needed the worm to help her use it wisely. She's actually destroyed the diner and trapped herself in the basement. The wizard comes and also gets trapped. The only way they can get out is if they combine their powers and let the worm channel the magic. That's not so easy to do when they're not even getting along!


Here, we had a fun character of a farm boy who was so lazy he hired someone to do the chores his father gave him every day. But he's also too lazy to pay his help.

One day his list of chores disappears. He catches his helper taking it out of the mouth of a goat.

The twist here is that it's really the goat that has masterminded this whole stolen list mystery. The goat is trying to get revenge on the boy for pranks the boy has played on him.


And in this story, we have a boy who is actually an alien -- his parents live under the ocean, but he's been washed up on the shore where a scientist couple find him and take him home.

In the drawing, he's trying to get back to his real parents by riding the shark the parents have sent to him to bring him back. But the scientists are trying to "save" him from the "danger." Or maybe they just don't want to lose their sure ticket to fame: a real alien!


So, thanks to everyone who made this day such fun: to Mrs. Popdan, the PTO who funded the visit, and of course, to all the creative kids who shared ideas.

The ideas were really flowing! Don't let them stop just because my drawings are completed. Keep putting your own ideas down on paper, Brecht kids. Your imaginations are too good to let them go to waste!

Don't forget to check out the cool stuff on my site!

In addition to all the free material on this site, I have downloadable books that are perfect for keeping kids writing in school or at home!

(click on books to see)

The Adventures of Pirate Dog
Picture prompts are a great way to inspire kids to write! Here are 26 of my best drawings with fun, pre-writing worksheets

Write Your Own
Cartoons!
Kids can add the
dialogue and their special touches to my funny comic strips filled with wacky characters!

Sparks: Year One
Here’s a fantastic resource for teachers: a whole year of weekly creative writing lessons built around wacky holidays!

More to come!

back to main page programs Fun stuff for families schools reviews bio
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