with Bruce Van Patter 2007-2008 School Visits

My visit to Lakeside Elementary!

My thanks to the art teacher for this wonderful big-scale version of my fictional dog, Edna! Wonderful!

And here's a really fun doodle by a student named Max. He took a few squiggly lines and turned it into
The Lochness Elvis!

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
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!

Day two in this great school saw lots of amazing stories developed and one unexpected dramatic surprise!

The assembly stories

The four ingredients: an alien in a forest looking for a flying pterodactyl up against a monkey with a blow torch!

The story: without his dad's permission, a teenage alien takes off with the family space ship for a spin around the galaxy. Flying too close to the forest on earth, he crashes the pterodactyl-like plane in a tree on a forest island.

Who's there to help? There's only an old pirate who runs a garage. But it's the middle of the night, so without the pirate's permission (he owns the monkey), the little guy goes off to try to fix it himself.

I added both the alien dad and the pirate at the base of the tree.

The four ingredients: an old man in a tent looking for a friend up against an evil mouse trainer

The story: This old guy -- should we call him "Bob"? -- goes camping alone because he has no friends. In the middle of the night, he hears a sound outside his tent and thinks he'll make friends with whatever critter is out there.

Without his glasses, he can't tell it's actually a couple of trained mice, being used by a park ranger to rid the park of campers. The poor guy has had enough of litterers and inconsiderate people.

Now that the drawing is done and I step back from it, I think the old guy looks like a turtle!

The four ingredients: a cowboy in a forest looking for a dress(!) up against an evil genius.

The story: a cowboy wants to take his girl, Clementine, to compete at the hoedown contest. But she says she doesn't have a dress good enough. So he sets off to find one.

He sees one in a clearing in the woods and chases after it. Why is it being worn by a cow? Because the farmer hopes to win the dance contest wih his amazing dancing cows!

I added Clementine in the background saying, "That is TOTALLY not my size!"

The workshop stories

Here is a main character that hopes to impress a new friend by stealing something for him. That's bad enough, but guess what he steals: a magic elf from the magic store where he works.

There are really two problems we thought of for this tale. The friend is upset that the main character would steal something. And the elf is annoyed at being forced to give a stranger a wish. He just flat out refuses! (Elves can be so touchy!)

And finally, we have the story about a boy chef who is trying to please a fussy dog. So he shows up in a village at a restaurant where he knows magical food is prepared. He's going to try to get hold of some to try out on the dog.

We were running out of time at the end of the day to really finish up this story. I'm wondering -- could the dog actually be someone transformed into a pooch? Maybe the magic food will do the trick. That is, if the boy can get him to eat it!

Here I am with the huge, heavy wooden chalkboard which, for no apparent reason, attacked me in the middle of the day. There I was, kindly leading it along the stage from below when all of a sudden it leaped at me! I staggered under the blow, but I kept my head -- firmly planted on the falling board. We righted it pretty quickly. No damage done. I guess I have a hard head!

Outside of that, the excitement came from the wonderful stories the kids invented. Fun, fun ideas! Great job everyone.

Remember, kids: use your creativity. Keep writing. Keep drawing. Don't forget how much fun it is to get your own ideas out and onto paper! AND watch out for falling chalkboards!

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Choose ingredients to a story and click to see how I put them together. Then you finish the story!

Make a character out of some funny people I've drawn for you!
Over a hundred million strange headlines wait for you to use them to make your own story!

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