with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My visit to Glenwood!

It was a real pleasure to work with the 4th grade at Glenwood -- a most creative group of kids! Just take a look at these stories we invented!

The assembly drawing

One drawing, but what a crazy combination!

The four ingredients: an alien named Leap in an earth neighborhood looking for a snow globe from Mars up against a magical alien guy

The story: Leap, our alien hero (his name is much longer, but difficult to say) has tracked an evil alien genius to earth. Meduda has stolen the snow globe that creates polar ice caps. He's come to earth to turn the planet into one big snowy wonderland for Martians to come to for vacation. (I mean, where does one ski on Mars, huh?)

But Leap is resourceful. He's going to use snow to defeat the evil snowy plan!

I liked that kids came up right after the assembly and gave me the name Meduda. Funny!


The workshop stories

This was a deep, wonderful story with a very real conflict at the heart of it. This young man, who is an orphan, keeps having the same dream: his sister is in some kind of castle, callling for him.

When a couple decide to adopt him, he realizes he must find his missing sister first.

So through magic, he finds a way to enter his dream world and he goes on a quest to find her. He wanders through a strange town until he finally follows the echo of her voice to the castle at the center of the town. He goes into the castle, ready to do battle for his sister's freedom.

But he wasn't ready for what was waiting for him -- the dream version of his first parents! They want him to stay, and so does his sister. But he knows he needs to return.

Like I said, this was a truly remarkable story with a very touching problem. Well done!


We started this story with this drawing of a girl with a sack over her shoulder. Of course, kids immediately thought she was a robber. But as we brainstormed, we imagined that she could be gathering ingredients through the woods, stealing them from the Treemen, strange little men who live in the woods.

But the Treemen have captured her and they're telling her that her mom is actually planning evil spells with the things she steals.

She doesn't believe them, of course. But then, they're bringing out the Necklace of Truth, which will make you hear what is right. I'm not sure our girl wants to know!


In this tale, a boy has found a time capsule and a key to it buried in the back yard. He doesn't want anyone to find it, so he hides it in the scary attic. Even HE doesn't want to go up there. It gives him the creeps.

But in the capsule, he finds answers to all his tests. As he starts to use them, he quickly gets what he really wants -- to become popular.

Then one day the key disappears from his pocket. He must have dropped it in school. But who took it? And do they know what it belongs to?

Back at home, he hears someone moving around in the attic. Shaking, he makes his way up and finds the key on the table next to the capsule -- someone has opened it! Who?

It's his teacher! She knows that the capsule is cursed because she was the one who buried it after it caused her to cheat when she was a girl!


Finally, this story is more silly than sinister. It's about a boy who works in a bakery on the weekend. He has a girl he likes, but the lady who runs the bakery wants him to like her daughter. That's when he finds out that the woman has been putting a special potion in the cakes. She makes two kinds of cakes -- one that will make you like whoever you're with, and one that will make you dislike him or her!

But here's the problem. He snuck in with the two girls and has baked them cakes -- one to reverse the LIKE spell on the woman's daughter and one to give the LIKE spell to his girlfriend.

If only he had been paying attention! As usual, he was daydrreaming. Now he's not sure which cake is which.

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New on my site!

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


The imagination is like a playground. So many wonderful things can happen there. And with kids as creative as Glenwood 4th graders, stories just leap into life. (Like an alien named Leap!)

Hey, guys -- keep up the great work. Put your ideas onto paper. Share them with your family and friends. Don't let them melt like snow on a summer day. Having others enjoy your work is like the icing on the cake.

Thanks for a fun day! 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!

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