with Bruce Van Patter 2008-2009 School Visits

My return to Northern Potter!

This was more than just your average school visit! This was the debut of my new program on persuasive writing -- as well as an assembly for younger grades on creative writing. A busy day, topped off with a parent show in the evening. From start to finish -- creative fun!

The assembly drawings

The combination: Astronauts and mining.

Let me tell you how this developed. After showing a slide-show about persuasive writing, I had two teams of kids come up. Team one thought of kinds of people. Team two thought of activities or hobbies. Each student wrote his or her idea on an index card, then I had Principal Morgan select one from each group.

We ended up with this combination.

Then I pulled out the audience three kids who had ideas why it was a bad idea for astronauts to mine, and three kids who thought it was a good idea. After the arguments were made, I had the audience vote. They voted for keeping astronauts from mining.

Then I drew this picture with the most interesting reason: they might fly off an asteroid if they hit a rock too hard!


The four ingredients: a horse on a farm looking for wings up against a bear

The story: This horse farmer has one dream: to be able to fly like the pigeons he sees around his barn. So he builds an airplane out of a wheelbarrow and boards, then makes his helper give him a running start out of the upper window of the barn!

What I liked about this story is that I was a bit stuck for an idea for wings, but a kid in the audience suggested he build an airplane! I hadn't thought of that. I think someone else suggested the chickens, which is another nice touch.

NOPO kids are truly creative!

The workshop stories

This workshop was my usual story-building session. But there's nothing usual about the story! We imagined a pig who was stung by a bee and was given the power to quiet bees with his singing. But one day, he finds all the bees are gone. Where did they go?

Into an old mansion owned by a mean bee-keeper who wants to control the bees with smoke. But the smoke can't keep out the soothing singing of our pig hero!


This workshop was a new one I tried. Here we made up a concept for a movie that the kids will do a movie review of in the coming days. In this movie, an artist girl sees her missing grandmother mysteriously show up in paintings she has made.

So she herself goes into one of her paintings and finds her grandmother. But the girl realizes that the whole thing was a plot by a young man who is in love with her. Who is this guy? He's the oddly-drawn portrait that the girl made and gave up on.

She takes her granny and tries to make an escape. But just as they get to the edge of a cliff, the boy catches up to them. The artist girl has just enough time to make a new painting, one she pushes her granny though to safety. But what about the girl? Will she be able to follow?


Another girl, another cliff -- how interesting! In this one, we started with a combination of an cowgirl and mountain-climbing.

We dreamed up a story in which she is climbing a mountain to find her true identity. Seems that she fell off the mountain some time before and forgot who she was. She's climbing to find out the answer.

At the top, she discovers a strange tribe of small mountain people led by a young king. The tribe tries to throw her off the mountain -- like they did once before -- when the king stops them. He knows her! She's his sister!


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!

My thanks to Mr. Morgan for all the hard work he put into today. And thanks to the teachers and parents who showed up to the evening program. Most of all, I appreciate the energy and ideas of the NOPO kids.

Whether you're writing stories or persuasive pieces, you kids are creative! Keep those ideas flowing!

And check out some of the fun stuff I have on my site!

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