with Bruce Van Patter 2005-2006 School Visits

He had come to a fork in the road. He had to make a choice. Would he turn around and take the easy road, or take a chance that there just might be some ideas left to mine. But he never was a timid man. He craved adventure.

His mind was made up. Though the morning wind cut through him like a knife, he was ready to spoon out a good helping of creativity.

It was time to go...

We created our own wacky headlines in two workshops. In the first one, a gloomy imposter knight is sent to defeat a dragon -- armed only with his feather! It made us think of a classic fairy tale, "Five in One Blow".

Then, another Wacky Headline workshop gave us an even stranger headline, seen in this drawing. A talking pickle? In this story, that talking pickle is giving the pirate chef advice about cooking, but is getting mad that it isn't getting the credit. So when the pirate sets up to make a meal to impress a lady he likes, the pickle won't help. So the pirate chucks it. But the woman finds it and knows the pirate's secret!

I love the character of a pirate chef. It's a great example of how creativity combines things!

In Four Corners, we make up a random combination of characters settings and villains. Here, a troll is trying to get treasure from a castle set in a volcano! It was hard to avoid making it like Shrek!

In this workshop, we brainstorm other endings for the classic knight fights the dragon for the princess. Here, the two are fighting over the dragon, but a sorceress has gotten involved, too!

Our princess actress actually had a cool beret.
Grab-Bag Stories!

In the other two workshops, we pulled hats out to give us main characters, then added other objects to make the story interesting. Here, a bear knight is looking for a bottle with sleeping potion. He doesn't know it's just rain water. He'll trade his helmet to get it. And the squirrel will be happy with a new roof on his nest!

And in this tale, a mouse is out to find the fabled Great Cheese. He's off into the great indoors of a house. There's a snake loose, though, so he glues on a cardboard drawing of a mouse onto its tale to fool it! Great idea!

That was so much fun! Hey, Valley kids -- keep up the excellent story-making. You really are creative!

Why not try out some of the activities I have right here on my site? You can find a list of them at fun stuff. Remember, if you want a great idea, have lots of ideas!

What's with all the forks??

Last year, I started a joke about forks, and I had no idea how much I'd regret that today! Just kidding, it was really cool to see how creative teachers and kids were in presenting forks to me during each session. Have a look...

These kids came in and presented them to me like I was royalty.

One class gave me a huge poster with my initials in forks!

And one class literally crowned me King of the Forks! You can't really see the end of the scepter, but believe me, it's more forks.

I love your sense of humor, Valley Elementary! Great ideas!!! There's just one thing left to ask...




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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