with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to Bell Ave Elementary!

It was so great to start off my year at a school so near where I started my career! The first apartment I had was in Lansdowne. So I was happy to be back to the area and work with Yeadon kids. And they were creative kids! Just look at the stories we invented.

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: a sheep on a farm wants a tractor but is up against a pig farmer

The story: I had a big problem in this assembly. I unplugged my power cord by mistake! I couldn't draw on my computer and have kids see it, so I quick drew on some paper. But I didn't have much of a story.

What I did have was a fun name for a sheep given to me by a student. Boulder the Sheep. And what he really wants is the farmers tractor. Why? Maybe the tractor keeps waking him up when he's sleeping on his big rock.

But the pig farmer is not interested in sheep driving tractors!

The four ingredients: a space-cowboy in a cage on looking for a pancake up against an alien

The story: our hero loves his flapjacks. That's why he's called Flapjack Joe. (What a great name!) He has traveled all the way to another planet to get a rare pancacke.

But he was captured and now is in a zoo for the aliens to look at him. But he's not finished! He still has his Light-ray Lasso, and he's using it to grab the pancake.

The alien is surprised because the pancake is actually his pet -- it's alive -- and he can't figure out how the pet pancake is flying!

Workshop fun!

Check out these stories which all came from our 40-minute workshops:

I love this doodle on the right -- it shows us a teenage kid who's really good at disguises. He's in a park spying on people, secretly recording conversations on a hidden microphone. The info all goes onto a memory card, which he's supposed to give to his teacher at his Spy Graduate School. This is his final project.

But he gives his memory card to a girl he likes. He's been telling her his secrets. Little did he know he was putting her in danger!

It seems that his teacher wants the microchip so much, he's taken the girl and put her in a hole until she gives it to him. But our hero comes and uses his ultra-powerful listening devices (which he makes out of toys) and finds her.

Wait, what's going on in the picture? It turns out that his teacher was actually just testing our spy guy. And he's aced the test!

A princess finds herself alone in the dark woods. Why is she there? She's run away because she found out that nobody was inviting her to parties because they all think she's too bossy! While in the dark woods, she comes across a little dragon, who uses his little flames to light her way back home.

But the dragon actually belongs to an evil prince who has his eyes on her.

He takes the little dragon in order to get the princess to marry him. If she does, he will set the little creature free.

What a choice! What will the princess do?

Well, maybe she won't have to do anything. See that huge dragon? That 's what happens to her pet when he gets really angry -- he turns huge. I think our prince better watch out!

A bear passes a tree of magic apples on his way home from school. Since he's not good at reading he can't understand the words on a sign by the tree. He thinks it reads, "Take apples." So he takes one. He bites into it. And he finds a wish becomes true!

So weeks later, he comes to the tree again. But now he can read better.

He realizes the sign actually says, "DO NOT take apples!" But he wants another wish to come true. Just as he's biting into one, the tiger who owns the tree shows up. He's mad. But I don't think he's going to do much now that the bear wished he would get BIGGER!

Want to motivate young writers in your life?

This book can help!

I've collected 39 of my weekly emails to teachers on creative writing into one downloadable book. Kids Can Love to Write captures the essence of my approach to making writing fun for kids. Whether you have an enthused young writer or one that needs big motivation, this book will show you how to get the most out of their imaginative minds.

Find other creative writing helps at my store!

New on my site!

I love random connections! Here's a page that will create random What If Questions to help you start stories!

I know great imaginations when I see them and hear them. You Bell Avenue kids have story ideas that are worth getting down on paper. And okay, maybe you can't draw like me, but that doesn't matter. Show your stories and drawings to others.

Keep up the good work!

And while you're here, check out the fun stuff on my site!

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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