with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My visit to Buchanan Elementary!

Ideas were certainly flying around today, as well as lots of laughter. Just look at the stories we invented!

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: an alien in a throne room looking for a giant eyeball with a silly sidekick of a frog.

The story: When a frog servant of the king breaks his crystal ball, he is banished until he finds a new one. In the forest, he meets an alien, who he befriends. The alien is able to take out his eyeball to see into the future. Just the thing the frog needs!

I laughed so hard when one student made the perfect alien voice saying (something like Erkel of the old TV show): "WHERE'S MY EYEBALL?"


The four ingredients: a cow in a castle, looking for a book up against a cheetah

The story: Our cow in this story lives in fields and wants to travel, to get away from the annoying farm children. So she sneaks into a castle that belongs to a cheetah wizard.

She finds a book that magically gives her wings!

I added a mouse that says, "I was hoping for a milkshake." Instead he got a flying cow!

The Workshop Stories

This story has really original elements. First, we have this magical guy, called a Puddlegrump. He lives in shallow puddles and controls a group of ducks. His magic comes from powder he makes from cattail roots.

In this drawing, we see how he was tricked by a spy duck who led him into a trap.

While he's pulling up the plant, the Boar King -- his enemy -- is about to knock him into the deep water where he'll drown. But here come the ducks to rescue him!


In this tale we have an elephant who invents magic hats. His latest hat helps him to catch baseballs. Every time he goes to a game, he wishes he could catch a foul ball. Now he can do it!

Except for one thing. Someone has taken his hat!

After a long quest, he finds that his hat is being worn by the alligator playing in the outfield. So just when the gator thinks he has caught a home run, the elephant takes back his hat.

A fun story!


With first grade, I did four quick drawings about a fox who thinks he's an action hero.

He sees a goat who is in trouble. The goat has his horns stuck in a gap in a fence.

How did Action Fox help? He used a board to get the goat loose!

I liked all the problem solving that the students did. Good thinking!


Like I said, we had some fun stories and story ideas flying around. Nobody could have thought ahead of time that we'd have a story about a frog, a king, an alien and a giant eyeball!

That's what is so great about the imagination. When you get it working, you never know where it will lead you.

Buchanan kids -- you have great imaginations! Let them lead to more amazing stories!

Remember... you have great ideas. Share them!

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!

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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!

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