2002-2003 School Visits

My visit to Round Hills!

Look at these faces. These are bright, eager, creative kids. And, okay, a few goofy ones, too. I see faces like this in every school I visit and they remind me over and over again that all kids are eager to jump into making stories. These particular faces belong to the wonderful kids at Round Hills Elementary outside of Williamsport, PA. My day with them was filled with surprising, funny ideas. Let me tell you about a few.

In the two assemblies, the younger kids imagined a leopard looking for a cheetah in a jungle, with a zebra in the way. So I made that a leopard trying to get his favorite stuffed animal, Spotty the Cheetah, back from Zebra's Stuffed Animal Store. I wanted to work in "beam me up, Spotty," but couldn't figure out a way. Drat!

The older kids were wackier. Imagine the challenge of tying together an alien, a castle, a horse, and a guy with a basketball head! So I created a jousting match between this flying alien dude and B.B. Head the knight who apparently ticked off Merlin and ended up with the strange noggin.

Lunch! I don't usually mention it, but oh, the desserts! My thanks to the PTO for the delicious goodies!

Then came the workshops. Brainstorming in a group is so much fun. I think the kids got a taste of that. We came up with such a variety of stories -- ranging from pretty thoughtful to outright weird. In the "weird" category I'd have to put fifth grade's Big Hair Guy who hides a cow in his hair! (And thanks to the teacher and student who described that hairdo as a "cowlick!" That's my kind of humor.) And I truly love the more thoughtful story about the woman who goes back in time to the day she got blamed for putting a snake in the teacher's desk.

Kids hinted to me during the day that they had seen my Story Kitchen and were thinking about finishing some of the stories. I'd be thrilled! I hope you do, Round Hillers. Send them to me. I'd love to see how your imaginations complete mine.

So keep those ideas growing and flowing. You are creative. The best way to stay that way is to let your ideas out. Write them, draw them, share them. You know how much fun that can be!

Imagination: the Land of the Magic Leaf and Bunnyfrogs!
When a duck needs magic to fly, she sneaks in to a fairy's hollow tree to borrow her magic leaf. But she didn't get out in time!

Young kids often have the simplest, clearest stories. Below, a bunny wants to be a frog, but when he tries to impress them with his cannonball, he splashes the frogs right out of the pond! Now the frogs don't want anything to do with him. How will he make them like him?

Older kids' stories tend to be stranger, but are still very entertaining. In the story below, a chicken on a desert farm tires of the heat and orders a refrigerator to cool off. She doesn't know that the delivery guy is actually a monster looking for a chicken dinner. He stuffs her into the fridge and drives away, but she's planning her escape. Using some fresh eggs, she scrambles to freedom.
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Create your own character using one of eight funny, interesting faces on my page of MUGSHOTS. Click through to a question sheet that will help you make a face into your own hero... or villain.
The Story Kitchen
Hey kids! Keep the creative fun going! Check out my Story Kitchen, where you choose the story ingredients and finish a story I've started! If you finish one, email me your ending and I'll post it on my site!