with Bruce Van Patter 2005-2006 School Visits

My visit to Greenwood Elementary!

This was my second try at visiting Greenwood. The first time I went to the school, nobody was there -- school had been canceled for bad weather! Now that I've come back, I can honestly say that I like the school better with all the people in it. And what a great day we had remembering Dr. Seuss's birthday and celebrating stories! Let me show you the stories that came out of the day.

The assembly stories

This tale takes place in an old grocery store around the year 1900. A boy has entered a cake-baking contest with his new invention: a taco cake! But an evil guy in town wants to win, so he's snuck his dog in to make the taco cake disappear. Now that I look at this drawing, it looks like the dog is about to get a mouthful of candle-flame!

And in this fun story, a cat is also cooking. He's got his hot dog ready, but has to go get some ketchup from the attic. (Why does he keep it there? Beats me. Ask him.) But a crocodile -- who the cat mistakenly calls a gator -- has snuck in and eaten all his extra food. He was hiding in the trunk. I bet he scared this cat out of one of his nine lives! When I was finishing the drawing after school, I added the word balloons. The cat says, "Gator!" The croc says, "Cat!" And the owl, seeing the flying food, says "Dog!"

Assembly doodles:

these are a few of the drawings which kids made from simple shapes. You all did a wonderful job! I loved them all!

Workshop fun!

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

I love this story! A girl finds that her boyfriend and others have been trapped in a mirror in an antique store. She wants to break it to release them, but has to be careful. If she uses anything but the tiny golden hammer, she'll get sucked into the mirror like the others.

She finds the hammer, sneaks into the creepy store, taps the mirror, and it shatters into pieces. But who comes out? Not her boyfriend... oh no! It's an evil wizard who had tricked her into releasing him!

That's really a great set-up for a story. Nice work, everyone.

This is an interesting story, too. A girl is transformed from being a fish in the tank in a hairdresser's salon. Magical hair gel turns her into a human... well, sort of a human. She's now hoping to use that magic on the hairdresser, since the woman won't allow the girl to turn back into a fish.

It's a bad idea to take an actor and place him into an archeology dig. This guy finds a key by accident, and opens up a tomb. Since he's not really an archeologist, he can't read the message above the door: "Whoever opens this door finds everlasting love." He opens the tomb, and this girl mummy falls in love with him, following him everywhere.

I really love the idea that the mummy crumbles to dust then re-forms into a mummy when your back is turned. I tried to draw that. This is one of my all-time favorite drawings I've done in schools.

I'm only showing one of three drawings I did for Kindergarten as we invented this story. In it, a monkey and his dog cause trouble for a gorilla. They wreck his tree-top grocery store. So, to make things better, they bring him fruit to start a new store.

The kids had fun thinking up different kinds of fruit to add to the pile. The one that surprised me the most was the girl who suggested a kiwi!

How does a character go on a quest when he can't leave his bathtub? Put it on wheels, that's how! This kid is tracking down the magical water that he needs to stay alive. The King of Bathtubs has sent him out to get the water from the well, but as he's at the well, the Watcher of the Well -- some kind of dragon or lizard beast -- has crawled into his tub!

We had a hard time getting this story to come together. But that's okay. Just like a quest, sometimes the journey of putting together a story is more important than arriving at a final place.

Our stories are a combination of my drawings and the ideas of kids. I put the finishing touches on, but so much of what you see coming out of a great day like this is a result of the imaginations of kids.

You Greenwood kids have wonderful stories in you just waiting to be shared.

Keep up the good work!

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

back to main page programs Fun stuff for families schools reviews bio
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