with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My fourth visit to Old York Elementary!

Working with Old York students every year is a great way to be reminded that great ideas simmer in the minds of kids! Just look at the stories we invented today!

The assembly drawing

The four ingredients: a snow boarder in a zoo looking for a phone with a silly side-kick of a wolf.

The story: our hero works in a zoo by day and likes to snowboard in the arctic exhibit after everyone goes home at night. He can only do it because the bears go in for the night.

But one time, his pet wolf, who roams the zoo with him, dropped his cell phone into the exhibit when the bear was still there! Looks like the boarder is in for a dangerous ride!

The Workshop Stories

In this tale, a girl is working on her superpowers, which she has to do at home until she learns how to control them. But she's having a hard time.

All the furniture comes to life and attacks her! The one friend she's made is a sock monkey who she thinks has turned on her to lead the attack. But he's really just helping develop her powers.

That boy in the lower left is a boy she likes and had to rescue from the attacking furniture. A lot of help he is!


This story involves a boy who wants to track dragons just like his mom and grandpa used to. In fact, he has a really amazing pocket watch his grandfather gave him. On one side is a compass to track dragons. On the other side is a watch that can send dragons back in time if you can get them to look at it closely.

His mom, though, doesn't want him to follow in her footsteps. It's too dangerous. She realizes that there is one dragon has come to town and she wants to find it and send it back herself before her son gets any ideas.

But the dragon traps her. The boy comes to the rescue and is just about able to reach the pocket watch?

Will he be able to reach it and send the dragon back?

Only time will tell!


When we drew this doodle on the right, I thought for sure the kids would make him an evil magician. Instead, they turned him into a formerly famous banjo player. He's been in hiding for a long time since he rose to fame. Everyone now thinks he's just a poor guy who lives in a shack.

He likes a girl and wants to impress her, but he's got his hands full babysitting a dog who belongs to a rich, old woman. Our hero is deathly afraid of dogs. So when the dog climbs onto the roof, he's not sure what to do. But he knows the dog loves his banjo music.

Risking his new life of being unknown, he climbs up and plays for the dog. Two other people hear him -- the rich woman, seen down below the house, and the girl he loves, who happens to be the rich woman's niece!

I liked the hard choice we gave this character.


Want to motivate young writers in your life?

This book can help!

I've collected 39 of my weekly emails to teachers on creative writing into one downloadable book. Kids Can Love to Write captures the essence of my approach to making writing fun for kids. Whether you have an enthused young writer or one that needs big motivation, this book will show you how to get the most out of their imaginative minds.

Find other creative writing helps at my store!


New on my site!

I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!

Well, that concludes yet another great visit with Old York Fourth Graders. I really enjoyed the stories we invented today. They had great ideas and you all had so much energy and excitement about our stories.

Don't let the fun stop! Put your tales on paper. Share them with others. Remember, the more others enjoy your stories, the more you'll enjoy them, too.

And while you're here, check out all the fun stuff I have!

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