By Bruce Van Patter

An overview of my narrative writing presentation

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Just in case you missed it on other pages, I am no longer presenting in schools. But please feel free to use my free resources on this website. And much of my approach to inspiring kids has been captured in the books I am offering in my store.

The Assembly

The purpose of the assembly is two-fold:

1. To get students excited about their own ideas.

2. To teach them a simple framework for building a story.

After working with 100,000 kids, I have found that though all kids are creative, most of them write stories using the same shopworn story ideas over and over. I can get them past those clichés. My slide show of original art will get them laughing at their own narrative tendencies while it introduces an acrostic, T.A.L.E., that puts the four basic ingredients of a story into a simple, easy-to-remember form.

Then I bring up volunteer students from the audience to form my Story Team.

The Story Team

Each of the four volunteers will add a piece of the story as we begin to practice using my TALE format. We'll use a DaVinci Doodle to create a character, then add in a setting, a want and a problem. And whatever random concept each team member gives me will be incorporated into the story. Then the fun starts!

Whatever those students give me, I will turn into a large drawing and tell a short narrative using their elements. Kids will be buzzing as they watch their story come to life. And I draw fast! (Watch the video on the right to see what I mean.) All the drawings I do stay in your school -- after I add more detail to them at lunch and after school. (See examples of the finished drawings schools get.)

Time involved: two 45-minute assemblies

The Workshops

Then, following the assembly and throughout the day, I will meet smaller groups of students (usually 50-60 kids per session) in three brainstorming story-making workshops. Usually focused on an older grade or two, these sessions will guide students through the process of verbally building a story. We'll use the four ingredients we learned in the assembly as our structure.

And, just like in the assembly, I finish off the time drawing the tale we invent.

Read my explanation page to find out more about these dynamic sessions. You'll also find there more videos you can watch to get a sense of both the fun and the content.

Here's my promise: I will get your students excited about their ideas. Through the use of slides, humor, music, and audience participation, this assembly will motivate your students to jump into writing and drawing for themselves. Here's what to expect:

Read about my workshops. See some sample schedules.

See me in action!

Here is a short video, shot in real time, of an assembly drawing I did in a school. I asked the Story Team for a main character, a setting, a want and a bad guy. This being the younger audience, (K-2), they gave me a dog on a volcano who wants a job up against a lion.

Here's what I drew:

These are drawings from actual assemblies.. See many more examples!