with Bruce Van Patter 2004-2005 School Visits

My visit to Oley Valley Elementary!

One thing I tell kids is to never think any idea is a useless one. We should never turn our noses up on any idea! And imaginations at Oley Valley were really running!
Starting with the assemblies, I was really pleased by how ready the kids at this school were to stretch their thinking. They seemed to love the chance to be creative.
Let me show you what I mean:
Here are the two stories that came out of the assembly. The first one came from the older students. The ingredients were: a hero dog in a school who wanted a rocket-powered bird, and was up against a monkey unicorn. Well, as you can see, I used my own imagination about how to do that horn on the monkey! Ask your chiild about what's going on in this story. I think it's really funny.

Then in the second assembly, the younger students gave me a hawk at the beach who wants money and is up against a cheetah. Here, the hawk says it will help the cheetah get back its wind-blown things in exchange for some pay.
And check out these fabulous doodles done by thinkers like this student.

The workshops, held in the sunlit lobby of this gorgeous school, were full of surprising, delightful ideas. The stories in the column on the right show what I mean.
My day stretched all the way into the evening, where I had a chance to talk to parents and kids about how to make up stories at home. During the afternoon, while I finished up my drawings, I had the extra fun of having a student tell me all about her creativity. What a treat!

Hey Oley kids -- you proved me right! You ARE creative. Keep using your ideas!

Why not try out some of the activities I have right here on my site? You can find a list of them at fun stuff. Remember, if you want a great idea, have lots of ideas!

Ready, set... imagine!

Check out these stories:

The New Boss of the Farm. I love the idea at the heart of this: a crime boss chicken. When this crime boss comes to a wizard's farm to escape the police, the wizard hides him by turning him into a chicken! Now the chicken is taking over the farm! Great story.
In Only My Snake Knows, we have another magical story. This woman doesn't like her big nose (you can see the drawing in the opening photo above) so she seeks to have it changed by a wizard. He wants her to like her God-given nose, so he gives her a potion that turns her nose into weird things!
Kindergarten stories are so much fun because they're so simple. In Dog Gets Wet, a dog invites his friend, the elephant, to a pool party. But there's not enough room in the pool for both. I drew the idea the kids had for how the animals could both get cool.
Sometimes, ideas get stuck. When we were brainstorming Beating the Bully Goat, we couldn't seem to do much with a contest to be the last goat standing. In the end, we have our skinny hero tricking the tougher goat into staying out after the sun goes down. The bully goat, it seems, is afraid of the dark!
Where might a sneeze turn household objects into flying chubby mice? In a wizard's house, that's where. The Magic Sneeze tells of a wizard in training who grabs a magic tissue by mistake, which gives him this strange power. When his teacher tries to give him a potion, even that gets sneezed into a mouse!
I thought you might like to see the drawing that started this last story. My thanks to the student who drew this!
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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