with Bruce Van Patter 2008-2009 School Visits

My 3rd visit to Kelly Elementary!

For the third year in a row, I had the wonderful chance to work with 2nd graders in my home town. And once again, it turned out to be the high point of my school year so far -- fun, fun, fun! And so close to home!

The workshop stories

In each workshop, a student helps me to create a doodle of an animal or a person we can turn into our main character. This story started with this dog on the right. We decided he was a superhero dog who uses goggles to give him magical powers.

There's another dog who is jealous of his powers and wishes she, too could do amazing things. So she takes his goggles and climbs high up onto a bridge, thinking that she'll now be able to fly. What she doesn't know is that the goggles aren't really magical. They're just goggles. Thinking that they are magical gives the dog his courage.

See what he's got to do now? He's got to save the poodle even though he doesn't have his goggles to make himself brave!

Now THAT is a hero!


In this story, the girl who was drawing created a girl pig. We decided that she had a magic pine needle that helped her talk to a pine tree who told her all kinds of secrets about the forest. The tree is the only friend for this shy girl pig.

The other pigs wonder why she keeps talking to the tree, so they take the needle. She doesn't know what happened, so she has to solve the mystery of the missing needle.

But the pig who comes to talk to the tree is very rude and is making the tree angry. The pine is about to throw a ball of pine sap on him.

One should never poke a talking pine tree!


Doesn't this bear on the right look sneaky? The kids decided he looked like he was taking things, so they imagined a bear artist who was always stealing supplies from other animals. When he decides to hang up his paintings, no animal will let him use their home for his gallery.

So he decides to try to put his paintings up around the den of a very dangerous wolf. Look what happened! One painting has fallen right onto the wolf. The bunnies think the painting looks very real!

Maybe everybody will like his art now and he'll stop being such a sneaky bear!


In this story, we have an explorer mouse. He lives in the desert and likes to go out and discover dangerous animals. Then he comes back and tells stories about them to the other mice.

But when one mouse thinks he's making up a story about a giant lizard, he goes to find out for himself. He gets trapped by a very big rattler!

Our explorer mouse has to come and rescue the other mouse. Who does he bring with him? The giant lizard!

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!

I really enjoyed all your ideas. Thanks for sharing them with me. Now, put your own story ideas down on paper, and don't forget to 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