with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My second visit to Schuylkill Elementary!

The Assembly Stories

The four ingredients: a basketball player at a snowboarding half-pipe who wants ? up against a hedgehog

The story: There's not much of a story here except to say that there is a new sport that combines half-pipe snowboarding and basketball dunking. A new stadium has been built for the sport, but right over the home of a rather grumpy hedgehog. He intends to burst the high hopes of these athletes. Or at least burst their basketballs!

Since it has been a few days since we invented this story, I can't remember the want that was given me for the story. If any of you can remember, tell me and I'll add it!


The four ingredients: a tiger in a field who wants a cool hair style up against a dragonfly.

The story: Again, there's not a lot to this story, but I totally enjoyed the surprise of a dragonfly villain. I thought for sure the student who gave me this idea was going to stop with "dragon." It's one of the most popular creatures in the mind of kids. But no -- he went beyond that to a really fun idea: a dragonfly!

So I drew this tiger first, making like he was roaring in pride over his hairdo, telling all the world how cool he was. Then I drew the dragon fly buzzing away. I added the hair that he was pulling, then ended with writing the tiger saying, "OW! That hurts!"

I love drawing something in front of an audience that I can change into something else while I'm drawing!

The workshop tales

In this story, we imagined a teenage genie girl who escapes genieland by taking the royal magic necklace, which has a magical baby unicorn horn as its source of power. She flees to a small town, where she tries to fit in. Soon, she's made a friend of a human boy. She likes him.

But is he really her friend, or is he a spy from the genie queen who wants to bring our heroine back?

The clue might be the dog in the picture. The genie girl is being caught back into a jar by the power of the necklace. But the dog is actually the genie queen in disguise! She's using the boy to trick the escaped girl!

Ooooo... that's so mean!


We started with this doodle of a silly farmer looking afraid. From there, we imagined that he lived on a farm where something starts glowing in the bottom of his farm pond. He's known as a mean farmer, yelling at anyone who trespasses. But really, he's just trying to keep people safe from whatever is in his pond.

Then two things happen. First, his niece and nephew come for the summer. Then the light in the pond goes out. What's going on?

In this scene, I've pictured an alien who is controlling the boy and girl in order to raise his ship from the pond. The farmer is trying to stop it. But in fact, the alien and the kids have become friends. They WANT to help him!


In our last story, we have a boy who delivers mail on the weekend. There's a girl that is a friend from school and he finds a scary note written to her that's open in the mail. He tries to deliver it, but she doesn't want him to come around the house. Why?

We brainstormed a number of reasons. One of them was very serious. Though it would have made a great story, I had to steer us away from

it. I try to keep my workshop stories on the light side. But I liked that the kids in this session were able to think through some really interesting plots. Great job, everyone!

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Hey, Schuylkill kids!

That was fun, wasn't it? I hope you had a great time; I know I did. The whole day just WHOOOSHED by, kind of like a dragonfly!

You have my drawings to remind you of the fun we had. More importantly, they should remind you that you have great ideas. And it should help you to remember how easy it is to get an original story when you take the time to brainstorm.

Your ideas are too good to let them gather dust in your brains! Put them down on paper and share them with your friends!

Hey, while you're here, feel free to roam around. Check out the fun stuff I've posted for you!

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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!
Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to use them to make your own story!

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