with Bruce Van Patter
2007-2008 School Visits

My visit to New Auburn Elementary!

This school started off my year! New Auburn, WI, may be the smallest school district in the state, but it has kids with big imaginations! Just look at what the stories they invented. Let's start with the assembly drawings.

The four ingredients: a goat in a castle looking for a pet up against a dragon

The story: What does a goat do to win back a kitten from a dragon? Bring cheese, of course. I was proud to work cheese into a story in Wisconsin, though I know goat cheese isn't exactly what you all are famous for. Ah, but is it goat's milk cheese, or just cheese that belongs to a goat?

It's always fun drawings dragons!

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!

The four ingredients: an athletic kid in an ice cream parlor who wants a dog with a silly sidekick of a bench warmer.

The story: That's a unique combination! Good job, story team! I have this athletic kid going to hug this ice-cream-slinging dog while the kid's buddy sits and licks the ice cream he's splattered with and cheers on his friend.

An ice cream owner who's a poodle named Luigi? Anything can happen with imaginations!

Workshop stories

Don't worry, teachers and parents. This is not as scary as it looks!

Those aren't zombies or monsters reaching through the window. Those are three friends trying to "turn the table" on a prankster by spooking him. They've challenged him to go into an old house. He doesn't know that they'll be waiting to try to scare him.

When I was drawing this, I noticed that the doorbell was actually in the middle of the door. That mistake stumped me. But then we decided to make the doorbell part of angry-looking eyes!

A good doodle goes a long way toward making a good story. You can see how the girl on the right helped us to dream up a story about a detective girl in a neighborhood who is trying to find out why holes keeping appearing in back yards.

It turns out there is a boy genius who has been kidnapping neighborhood dogs and training them to look for buried treasure he knows is somewhere nearby.

I decided to make the scene happen in the rain because of the girl's straggly hair.

I think this doodle is fabulous! A scared mouse in a canoe. From that simple drawing came a story about a mouse that wants to catch a lucky fish so that he can get the thing that he always wanted. (I can't remember right now what that was.)

But catching the fish isn't so easy. One of the kids came up with the idea I've drawn. The fish swims round and around to pull down the canoe. I wonder if our hero will sink or swim?

A kindergarten story!

A tiger wants to join the circus. He can juggle while bouncing on a trampoline. The lion who owns the circus likes it, but the star elephant doesn't. He's jealous. He tries to make the tiger mess up by poofing a ball at him. But when the tiger keeps juggling, the lion makes them perform together. Now can they both be stars!

Though I did the final drawings from the day, my visit was all about encouraging the ideas of New Auburn students. And what great ideas they had!

Now that you know how to get your ideas organized into stories, kids, it's time for you to put your tales onto paper and share them with others.

Keep being creative, and check out the fun stuff on my site! Teachers and parents can also find downloadable books to help kids contine to grow their imaginations. See the column on the right for details!

Thanks for a great visit!

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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!
Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to make them into a story!

click on the images to go to the writing activities