with Bruce Van Patter 2007-2008 School Visits

My visit to Union Township Elementary!

This was a great day with creative kids! We had our assemblies and workshops in the library -- a great place to dream up stories!

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: a pirate on a beach looking for a boomerang with a devil as a sidekick

The story: The first thing I had to decide what to do with is the "devil" sidekick. So, since we had a boomerang, I decided to set the story "Down Under" and make the sidekick a Tasmanian devil! Thankfully, we were in the library and the librarian was a fabulously fast finder! She brought me a picture to help draw the little guy, who apparently was hoping to get his hands on the pirate's map -- a boomerang! Just as the pirate finds the map, his sidekick grabs the boomerang to see if it really does come back, but... OOPS! Looks like that's going to be one annoyed pirate!

The four ingredients: a shark in long grass looking for a pancake up against a wolf!

The story: I love the idea of a shark in long grass. We'll call him a Grass Shark. He's wanted to taste the food of the campers who sometimes come to his field. But they always run away before he gets a chance to eat. This time, he slides up and surprises a girl who's cooking pancakes. She's surprised, but isn't going to run away. Oh no! It looks like a wolf will get the pancakes first!

Workshop fun!

Check out these stories which all came from our 45-minute workshops:

A mouse, who's afraid of vaccuum cleaners, is sent into a farmer's house by the pigs to try to rescue a piglet who fell down into the cellar. The problem is the cat! It's one mean kitty.

So our mouse hero overcomes his fears and uses the vaccuum to pull the piggy away from the cat.

That's one brave mouse!

This is a great starting character sketch -- what a funny face! We decided he was a young man who invented crazy things, like a roller coaster inside his mansion house.

But the roller coaster develops a mind of its own and captures the inventor's mom.

How will he rescue her? Like our first story, he has to over come his fear. This time, the fear is being outside. So he re-routes the track to go out the side of the building, then flies up with a jet-pack to save his mom just in the nick of time!

What a happy, friendly mermaid we have above! In our story, she has every reason not to be happy. She's been captured and put in an aquarium.

A human friend from her childhood happens to see her and decides to rescue her. But he's captured by the guard!

But the mermaid has an amazing power: she can create a giant wave with her tail. So she uses it to sweep away the guard so that the young man can carry her back to the sea.

What a great day inventing stories! You Union Township kids are just overflowing with ideas. Use your ideas -- draw them, write them, tell them. If you need help, remember, there are a lot of pages here to get you started. Start with fun stuff!

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
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!

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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!
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