with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My visit to Conelway

This was the first school I visited in the Corry school district.

The assembly drawings

The four ingredients: a horse at a cloud mansion looking for a dog up against a dragon

The story: a flying horse has made friends with a dog. The dog wishes he could fly like his friend. He talks all the time about what he would do if he could go up into the sky. The horse warns him, though, to never go to the Cloud Kingdom. Danger awaits there.

Then one day the dog gets a bunch of balloons and floats up into the clouds. He finds a wonderful dog mansion on a cloud and settles in.

The horse comes to rescue him, but the dog is too relaxed to notice the danger!


The four ingredients: a monkey-man superhero on a farm looking for golden shoes with a silly sidekick of a flying cat

The story: And amazing pair of golden shoes is missing. It's amazing not only because the shoes are golden, but because they can make a person float just off the ground.

Who took them? A farmer. He has good reason to not have to step on the ground! Monkey Man has come to get back the shoes, but the farmer has trapped him in the barn. What's a superhero to do?

Trust in his trusty sidekick!

The workshop stories

The turning point in our brainstorming of this story is when someone mentioned a pineapple. That was something that surprised us, so we took it and imagined a boy who has to find a magic pineapple to be able to rescuse his mother -- a former cook -- from the dungeon of a wizard school. His mother was falsely accused of trying to poison the head teacher. Only the pineapple can cure him.

I like the combination of tropical and classic fairy tale story ideas. Who would have thought we could sneak a giant tropical bird into a wizard story!


This story is about a girl who is trying to become an evil scientist. She keeps coming up with chemical formulas that will transform people into other things. The problem is that she doesn't know what the potions will do.

So she tries it out on her best friend, Jen.

I wonder how Jen feels being a giant chihuahua?

I bet it makes her dog tired.


Whenever I do pirate stories with kids, I have to steer them away from the usual peg-leg, hook-handed captains. So here, we started with a girl pirate who looks to be drowning. We really started into new ground when a girl suggested that our hero got sentenced to community service.

When doing her work, she finds a book which gives clues to a legendary golden shark's tooth. She thinks that if she can find it, she can sell it to be able to buy back her ship and crew.

What she hadn't figured on was the angry, deadly octopus that was guarding the tooth!

I liked imagining with the kids all the dangers she could get into on her quest for the tooth.


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



Yes, we had fun today! Stories were invented, ideas were flying. Kids were eager to share their ideas.

Let this just be a start of a new time of storymaking, Conelway kids! You see now that you have fabulous imaginations. Keep using them. Put your stories down and share them with others!

And check out some of the fun stuff I have 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