with Bruce Van Patter 2007-2008 School Visits

My visit to David Leech Elementary

Here are the fantastic stories the came from the active minds of Leechburg kids!

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a fish in a desert looking for food up against a t-rex!

The story: A flying fish volunteers for the dangerous task of getting the food his family needs. The food are little minerals that are only found in the desert, a long flight away. And oh no! They're guarded by a t-rex!

You can't tell by looking at the drawing, but I made the dinosaur at first look like rocks, and I added the details apologizing that I couldn't make the drawing more dangerous. Fun!


The four ingredients: a scuba diver in a store in the mall looking for a friend up against a polluter

The story: Okay, this one is weird. But here goes. A scuba diver is trying to rescue his octopus friend from a guy who makes synthetic beach shirts. When the scuba guy gets close, the ex-surfer dude evil shirt seller pours on him the oily residue left over by the shirt-making process.

I had fun with the title: Selling Sea Shirts in a Sea Store.

The workshop stories

We started this story with a simple doodle of a girl running. As we brainstormed, we imagined that she was running a race that she didn't want to win. What an interesting idea!

We dreamed up a story in which she had to race through a town's alleys that were filled with dangerous magical creatures. The modern-day wizard was hoping she would be destroyed by one of them so that he could have her magical book. But here she is, leading one of the monsters to him!


In this tale, we had the idea that a princess was kidnapped and nobody knew where she went. In fact, she was being held hostage by a blacksmith, who was keeping her in a tunnel under his shop in hopes that the king would give him the kingdom in return for the princess's safe return.

But our hero, the young man who works for the blacksmith, keeps hearing strange muffled cries. He can't quite make them out with all the noise of the fire and the banging of the hammers on the anvils. Eventually, he discovers her and tries to rescue her, but he's very shy around girls.

I was most impressed by the boy in the workshop who thought that the hero might also catch a whiff of the princess's perfume -- what a great use of other senses for a clue!


I love the gesture of the doodle below. It helped us imagine a girl who is acting in a movie set in a "haunted" school. What a great setting! While on the set, she hears a young man's voice whispering a warning. Curious, she sets out to find out who it is.

Every time she gets close to finding out, the director interrupts with a call to action. So is the school haunted? What is the young man doing there?

The kids had me add the mysterious guy in the background outside the window. Just as we were ending, a boy suggested that the voice actually be the director, trying to get his actress to act frightened! Cool idea!


A Kindergarten Story!

This simple kindergarten story was about a rabbit who goes racing down a hill and challenges his friends to join him. Only the snake seems to notice that they're not being careful. When they all crash into the park pond, it's the snake that escapes and gathers apples for them.

We had fun thinking of things for the animals to use to go fast. And it was fun counting how many apples the snake should have ready for his friends when they climb out of the pond.

A fun surprise was that the class had just read one of my lesser-known books, a reading book from the Letter People series. Teachers had me sign their copy! That's a first for me!

Crazy Faces!

Here are four funny
doodles made by kids
in the one assembly.


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!

What a great day filled with ideas and brainstorming. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. Inventing stories is such a blast. Keep putting your ideas down on paper, and remember to share them with others.

That's how you can keep enjoying the creative process throughout your whole life!

Don't forget top check out some of the fun stuff I have on my site!

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