with Bruce Van Patter 2010-2011 School Visits

My 5th visit to Old York School!

No other school has had me back so many times. I'm thrilled to have worked with all these fourth-graders! Each year, the kids are just as creative as the last.. Just check out these stories we invented.

The assembly drawings

Check out these stories:

The four ingredients: a teen girl in a gym looking for a magic tomato up against an alien grandpa

The story: this girl in the drawing has brought her prize tomato to her school's farm show in the gym. She's not sure how the tomato grew in her garden, but it seems to have an unearthly glow.

Joining her at the fair is her boyfriend, but he's bored and not impressed by all the veggies. So he decides to leave her there to go play basketball with his pals.

But watching from the stands is a strange old man. He's actually the alien farmer who snuck his energy tomato plant into the girl's garden. He was going to make it float over to him so he could take it back, but when he sees how poorly the boy is treating that nice girl, he decides to make it fly right at the guy!


The workshop stories

I love this drawing on the right. I helped a bit with it, but Jack, the artist, did a great job getting the "nose-up-in-the-air" look of a snooty rich kid. We added a jewel-studded cape as a nice touch.

Then we brainstormed that the cape actually could make a gold statue of a dog come to life. That's his only friend. He doesn't understand or like "poor" people.

But when he loses his cape, he has to live the life of a poorer boy while that boy gets all the special treatment that our rich guy gets -- and the attention of his pet golden dog.

In the end, when the dog decides to pull the cape down from the imposter boy, standing on top of a playground structure, our rich kids decides that he'd rather have the kid be safe than to get his cape back.

This was an interesting, complicated story!


In this tale, we have a nerd who tells everyone, including the girl he wants to impress, that he's a genius. In fact, he has a whole Genius Club that meets in a forbidden tower of the old school building where he and the town's kids go.

One day, the girl decides she wants to come with him to his club. The boy is stuck. He doesn't want to tell her he made the whole thing up.

But when they get to the top of the stairs, two things happen: 1) the girl finds out he's lying; and 2) the stairs collapse behind them, trapping them in the attic! In the end, the boy "genius" puts together a way to escape. I hope it works!


This mermaid on the right used to be a human until a magic pearl transformed her into her fishy self. She has an amazing power. She can make whirlpools by stretching out her hands! And she uses it to save fish from fishermen.

This pleases the king of the sea, who praises her for saving a school of fish.

What I show in my illustration is the surprise of the story. When her magic pearl, hidden in a scallop-shell box, disappears, she tracks it down. Who is this helping out a fisherman by giving hiim the power to turn her back into a human? It's the undersea king! He's a traitor! He secretly has been helping the fisherman catch fish!

The girl has made a whirlpool of fish to help her.


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Find other creative writing helps at my store!


New on my site!

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


We kept the tradition alive -- Old York Fourth-Graders are indeed creative! They can draw, they can write, they can imagine!

Now, kids, keep up the good work. Remember, your story ideas are worth putting down on paper. Don't let them gather cobwebs in your heads! A story comes alive when other people can share in it!

Keep being creative, and 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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