with Bruce Van Patter 2008-2009 School Visits

My visit to Jarrettown Elementary!

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: a boy with a loud voice and big ears in a Chinese temple who wants to fly up against a woman guard.

The story: The boy in this story lives in a palace temple and wants to escape. He finally figures out that if he yells loud enough into a bell he can create enough sound to catch his huge ears and blast him over the wall. There is a girl guard, though who knows a secret about him: he's actually the son of the emperor -- and she likes him and wants to protect him from what might happen to him if he ends up outside the palace walls. I enjoyed adding the detail to the bell. What a fun combination of ideas!


The four ingredients: a lion at school looking for his lunch up against a duck

The story: I feel sorry for this poor lion. Every day he has to sit across from a duck at lunch. The duck takes his lunch and does silly things with it. What a silly duck! This time he puts the milk carton on his head. The lion calls out, "Duck!" But is he yelling at the bird, or is he warning the duck to duck? The lunch lady is about to grab the duck in a paper bag. Either way, that duck is about to learn that lunch is not recess!


Workshop fun!

Check out these stories which all came from our workshops:

This complicated story is about a young man who finds a mysterious stone carving in the mountains. A girl he likes finds out about it and goes to try to solve the puzzle of the carving. But she falls into the cave behind the stone. Our hero has to save her.

But she was bitten by a snake and only has a little time left before the poison acts. Our hero finds the snake and realizes that the fangs are the key to unlocking the door -- they fit right into the holes in the eyes of the carved snake.


I think there is a wonderful, funny idea in this story. This boy plans out action scenes with his plastic action figures. Then he goes out and tries to do the same scenes in real life as he becomes Action Boy! The problem is that he doesn't really have powers, he just is an energetic kid.

His favorite thing is bouncing on his trampoline. His least favorite thing is his mean dog. And he's been trying to find out who wrote a note that says, "Save me!" So imagine how weird it is for him to find the one who wrote the book is an alien trapped under his trampoline by his dog.

So he gets the dog bouncing with him. That should give the alien time to escape!


If this drawing looks like it was made quickly, it's because it WAS! We were almost out of time, but the story is interesting, about a girl who has an iPod that plays music that affects the emotions of people around her. Her brother steals it and his heavy metal music makes everyone in their apartment building angry!

Can she get it away from him before more trouble breaks out?

I had many moments of laughter during the day. Maybe my favorite one was when I was walking down the hall, being passed by a parade of young students. One little girl, as she went by, said, "Hi there, funny guy!" After lunch, I just happened to time it so I passed the same group of kids coming the other way. This time, she just smiled and said, "Funny guy."

I like that. And I liked all the little sparks of creativity in the kids today. Jarrettown students have wonderful ideas.

Keep using those ideas, kids! Put them down on paper and share them with others.

Don't forget to check out the fun 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!

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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!
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