with Bruce Van Patter 2008-2009 School Visits

My visit to the Benchmark School!

Check out these creative stories:

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
Cartoons!
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!

The four ingredients: an explorer monkey in an island lab looking for his teacher up against a pirate genie with a mohawk

The story: This explorer monkey has been trying to find his lost teacher, the one who taught him how to find rare treasures. The monkey tracks the old guy to an island where there is an old pirate laboratory with all kinds of strange treasures.

I think the monkey's just a bit late! The old guy has rubbed the lamp and brought out the evil parrot genie! I wonder what terrible plot it has in it's twisted bird brain?


The four ingredients: a physicist who isn't smart in a buffet restaurant who wants to stop a talking burrito!

The story: what was really fun for me in this drawing was to bring in a Vandergraaf machine, one that my dad once helped to work on. This scientist, who cheated his way through his doctorate, makes a big mistake: he creates a bolt of electricity that makes food come alive!

I'm not sure what evil a talking burrito can do. Though, this one sure has attitude. I think it's because he's full of beans.

Workshop stories

In this workshop story, we followed the adventure of an elephant who is sent in as a spy to a human zoo. He's disguised as a boy, so the kids in the workshop called him a "belephant." He's on a quest to save his father, the king of the elephants, who is trapped in the zoo.

But there's a zookeeper who is out to stop the belephant. No problem. The belephant pulls out a yo-yo that he plans to use to hypnotise the zookeeper. What the belephant doesn't know is that the yo-yo doesn't actually hypnotise anyone.

That works out fine, though, because it gives his dad time to grab the keys from the zookeeper!


Here's an odd story. It's all about a guy who is created in a bucket. He breathes fire and takes the bucket everywhere he goes.

But the magical woman who created him wants the bucket back. She has disguised herself as a maid but still has to get past his fiery breath. So, she brings a mop that has fire-quenching magic water in it.

Wow -- that's one wild combination. And we didn't even work into the story the fact that they're both JUDO masters!

Since I grew up in nearby Springfield and spent many happy Saturdays exploring Smedley Park, it was a real pleasure to come to a nearby school to inspire kids to write. But this is no ordinary school -- I had no idea how wonderful the staff and kids were at Benchmark. From the moment I walked in the front door into the library (cool!) I found the atmosphere warm, encouraging and creative. Thanks for such a great day!

Keep being creative, Benchmark kids. You have such amazing story ideas. Put them down on paper and share them with your friends and family.

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!
Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to make them into a story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities