with Bruce Van Patter 2006-2007 School Visits

My visit to Carroll Elementary

Come with me to a school full of interesting ideas. Carroll Elementary is a school with kids who are eager to make up stories. Check these out:

Assembly stories

The four ingredients: a snake in Hawaii looking for a cave up against a bear!

The story: I feel bad for this snake. All he wanted was a Hawaiian vacation. But when he slithers into a cave to cool down from the sun, he runs right into a bear who has been lurking, waiting for his chance to do what he's been training to do: the hula!

All he needed was a belt to keep up his skirt. Seems like he now has a snake-skin belt... with the snake still in the skin!

The four ingredients: an alien in a city looking for a flying cow up against a vampire

The story: I try to avoid vampires in stories in schools, so even though he looks like one in the drawing, he's actually an orchestra conductor who's on his way home from a concert. When he hears the beeping of the young alien's backpack, he loves the music and must have it. Our alien just wants to find the pilot to his spaceship, who has wandered off after they mistakenly landed in the city.

Workshop tales

This is a singing pig. He's only a singing pig because he saw the farmer playing the guitar and singing the chickens to sleep at night. The pig wants to serenade his sweetheart.

I wish I would have used the SOOEEE in the pig's song to make the word, SOOE-HEART. But as fast as we make these pictures and stories, sometimes I miss my chance for a fun pun.


The thing I loved about this workshop was that the squiggle we couldn't figure out in this picture on the right we finally turned into a W, starting the word, WORK. Then we had to decide who was saying it.

In this story, this boy in wizard school is trying to use a magical Spelling Bee to spell out his words on a test. But it looks like the teacher is about to end the plan with a fly-swatter! Can you see the bee has spelled out the word, TROUBLE?


How's this for one cool cat? A secret agent cat uses a ball of yarn in her investigations. When she has the whole ball, she can disappear and get out of trouble.

But a dog, who wants to make some trouble of his own is on to the cat!

The dog steals the yarn and unrolls it, leading the cat right into his trap. The secret agent is led right into a kennel of angry dogs with the door all unlocked! Can our cat get to the end of the string and disappear?

I loved acting out the cat walking into the room filled with dogs. The kids in this workshop were great growlers!


A city slicker detective comes out to the old west to try to discover who has been robbing banks. He's smart, and quickly figures out that the local general store has a funny hollow sound under one board. He sneaks in to get some answers.

But the woman who runs the store -- also a deputy sherrif -- has plans of her own! She's going to catch the detective red-handed with the gold and blame the crimes on him! She knew the gold was there because she put it there herself. She's the bandit!

A great story!


Pig-ture Perfect!

In a quick 20 minutes, the afternoon kindergarten kids helped me invent a story about a pig who wants to go to the desert. When his friend laughs at him, he decides he'll bring back a picture as proof. Little did he know he'd get singing, walking cacti in his picture!

Carroll kids are creative kids! Keep dreaming up stories and putting them down on paper.

Believe in your ideas!

Keep being creative, and 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