with Bruce Van Patter 2003-2004 School Visits

My visit to Four Mile Elementary

What a great pleasure it is to spend two days in the same school. I get to meet so many kids, and each student, each class, has a story to tell. It's great fun bringing those stories out.
The first story came out of my Imagination Team in the assembly. It had to do with a kid who leaves school to go on a quest for a gem, but finds instead a teacher eager to give him the homework he forgot! Kids loved chatting while I drew, trying to think of which teacher my drawing most looked like! Here's a little advice, kids: making a teacher the bad guy is always risky business, kids!

On the right, see some excellent doodlers!

Spinning Tales!

No matter the age, there are funny, surprising ideas hiding in the minds of kids. I especially love seeing what kids turn our "doodle shapes" into.
This guy on the right is about as odd a face as I've seen. But I mean that as a compliment. Strange is good in my workshops. We ended up with all kinds of ideas for who this guy was. See if you can find the story which goes with him in the right column.

I set a new record for me: 22 drawings in the same school district in three days!

I suppose no one keeps track of these things but me, but as the year has gone along, I've put more and more detail into the drawings I do. Compare, for instance, these drawings to the ones I did in Round Hills about this time last year. I take pride in my work, and I'm very glad to have finished the year on the high note of these two drawings to the left.
A rooster and an elephant try to out-do each other waking up a farmer. Fun, fun story from kindergarteners. I apologized to them that I always seem to draw things sloping down to the right -- it's because I have to draw from so far over on the left I can't see well -- and one very bright girl said that in this drawing it's okay because it looks like the elephant is pulling down that side! Very clever!

Keep up the great work, Four Mile kids. You've got imaginations Four Miles high! Use the summer to write and draw your own stories. And remember to share them with others!

And don't forget to check out the pages on my website. There are all kinds of fun things here. For a good place to start, try Fun Stuff. And if you finish one of my stories in The Story Kitchen, email it -- I'd love to read it!

Stories from the minds of Four Mile students!

This superhero needs some smarts to go along with his strength. Good thing his smart side-kick pup is there to save the day!
A monkey uses a magic potion (in the tea cup) to get his greatest wish -- to have his own talk show! But his guests keep wanting to take all the attention!
How can a kid teach an alien to swim if he's afraid of the water? But this alien has to learn if he's going to rescue his ship, sunken deep in a lake. (This is a rare re-do for me. I had drawn a different version in the workshop and really didn't like it. I tried again after school.)
A loud-mouthed girl tries to discourage a boy she likes from taking out her best friend. But her plan backfires when her friend hears the rumor she's spreading. Great relational story, 5th grade!
A master of disguise faces off (literally!) his rival for his girlfriend by having a contest to see who's disguise is the ugliest!
A boy has only two wishes: to have a dog and try a wild flavor of ice cream. The mom says no to the dog, and the ice cream turns out to be Honey & Berries, which the kid doesn't like. But when the mom gets lost in the woods, its the dog who saves her by offering the bear the ice cream! His favorite!
Kindergarten always comes up with fun, simple stories. In this one, a lion goes fishing, but is afraid of getting wet.
So many kids gave me drawings. Thanks to all of you. And a special thanks to Stephanie, who gave me a picture of a thank-you muffin. I love to bake muffins, too, Stephanie. My favorite has peach jam inside. (Check the nose on the dog)
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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!
Here are a bunch of actual drawings I've done in schools. Use them to write your own story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities