By Bruce Van Patter

Teacher reviews of my workshop

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"I would say to any teacher who may be struggling with motivating her students to write, this is a must-have workshop for your school. Excellent!"
Vicky Galvin, Sheshequin-Ulster Elementary, PA

"Bruce Van Patter deals masterfully with the perennial problem -- 'I don't know what to write about.' He clearly knows how to communicated playfully and creatively with children. He made generating ideas fun." Shirley A. Minser, Denver Elem., Denver, PA

"It was fantastic! I walked away with ideas to use tomorrow for even the most reluctant writers! That was HUGE!.. this is a workshop that benefits all writers, teachers and students alike!" Sandra Fraser, Vienna Elem., Vienna, VA

"This was the best "author day" presentation I have seen in my nine years of teaching. It was great to see so many kids want to write! What a great way to spend 45 minutes!" Gina Romanelli, Brooke Elem., Royersford, PA

"This program was fantastic!.. the students were thoroughly engrossed in the entire process of coming up with ideas and brainstorming. I even noticed a student who normally doesn't enjoy writing was totally participating... This program is definitely an added plus to any school curriculum." Gloria Schnure, MacAfee Road School, Somerset, NJ

"Mr. Van Patter allows the children to build a story from the ground up. He demonstrates how the simplest of ideas can be developed into a creative storyline which can grow with each suggestion. Brainstorming is one of the most difficult concepts for elementary children to understand. This workshop helps with this concept tremendously." Alison Jandak, Hamilton School, Bridgewater, NJ

"The brainstorming workshop was excellent. The students were engaged and definitely enjoyed it. This workshop tied in nicely to what we teach our students about the writing process and where writers get their ideas. Jill Colantino, Ketler Elem., Westwood, NJ

By the time we finished the workshop, every child was brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. I put aside my other plans for the morning and had them write about the characters and situation they'd brainstormed with Mr. Van Patter, and I had six-year-olds writing for over 40 minutes with little more than a whisper her and there... this was, undoubtedly, the best set of author/illustrator programs we have had! Erin Corrigan, Linden Elem., Doylestown, PA

Student-drawn doodles we used to create a character

"I highly recommend this workshop for any student. It was amazing to watch the ideas from the children come to life through pictures and words!" Wendy Hamilton, Northen Potter Children's School

"The workshops were educationally excellent because students were reinforced with the ideas that they are creative, can write and draw... (his) drawings adorn the bulletin board of our main hallway and the children look at them carefully and admiringly." Sue A. Myers, Nitrauer Elem., Lancaster, PA

"The brainstorming session ignited the creative minds of not only the students who already loved to write, but also the reluctant writers in our class. Thanks for showing all of our students that there is a writer inside of everyone." Ken Koury, Salem Drive School, Whippany, NJ

"He's wonderfully enthusiastic as he involves the students in the creation of a story which he illustrates and tells. He encourages the kids to use their imaginations and the world around them instead of non-stop video games. He gives boundaries which help focus the story but bon't stifle the creativity... It was an awesome day!" Reidenbaugh Elem. School, Lancaster County, PA

"An exciting approach to a pre-writing task often seen as a tedious process for many students... (a) creative and humorous presenter." Cheryl Abbott, Bee Meadow School, Whippany, NJ

"Wonderful ideas and strategies for motivating students... Interesting approach to writing -- begin with the drawing and then create the story! The students were very enthusiastic about the story!" Suzanne Kulp, Hereford Elem., Upper Perkiomen School District, PA

"Wow! Mr. Van Patter did a great job of getting every students involved and excited about writing and illustrating. It was terrific to see so many creative ideas being brainstormed." Marna Wirth, 4th grade, Liberty Elem., Liberty, PA

"We all enjoyed the interaction with the audience. The creative juices were flowing as (he) prompted the kids for story ideas... I highly recommend this visit!" Stevens Elementary, Williamsport, PA

"It was a wonderful way to get students' brains working. He so inspired my students that my second graders left and wrote for an hour!" Valley Elem., Jefferson, MD

"I was extremely impressed with the interactive nature of the workshop. The students were able to direct the creativity, and all of their comments were treated with excitement and enthusiasm. This was a great program that taught kids that it is cool to write and be creative!" Green Valley Elem., Monrovia, MD

"This is one of the best workshops I've seen. The students eimmediately put the techniques to work in the classroom. They also had a lot of fun during the workshop. They were totally focused. I highly recommend it." Sandra Arnold, Hamilton School, Bridgewater, NJ

"This as an excellent way to spark creativity without using the normal pencil and paper method. The brainstorming technique would be useful to model as a mini-lesson before writing narrative stories." Tonya Kepner, Carroll Elem., PA

"Our fifth-graders loved your workshop! They were interested and engaged throughout the process, and loved sharing their creative ideas... Great motivation!" Mindy Rosenberg, Akron Elementary School, PA

"The students were quite interested in Mr. Van Patter's brainstorming session. His questioning provoked their imaginations, leading to many ideas. Imagine... it all began with a squiggle." Milton-Union Elem, West Milton, OH

"Bruce's workshop gave an energetic "shot in the arm" for the children to develop their creativity when writing. In addition, he also includes all the important elements necessary for a good story: setting, characters, problem, solution. Last, Bruce also generates and reinvents brainstorming with gusto!" Pam Merenda, Blair Mill Elem., Hatboro, PA

"I truly enjoyed the brainstorming workshop!.. Mr. Van Patter was able to motivate the students to eagerly respond through the power of his personality and enthusiasm." Hans Herr Elem., Lancaster

"What a terrific time my students had! The most reticent were waving their hands, wanting to contribute to the developing story." Mill Creek Towne Elem., Rockville MD

"Your enthusiasm for drawing and story-telling spread throughout the groups in the audience." Galeton Area School, PA

"Your presentation sparked the interests of my students. They learned a new and creative way to brainstorm ideas for narrative writing." Locust Grove Elem., York, PA

"Bruce Van Patter and his awesome presentation were so kid-friendly. The children were eager to hear and see everything he did, and as a teacher, I was on the edge of my seat... his focus was to inspire and encourage the children to be creative authors and illustrators." John R. Bonfield Elem., Lititz, PA

"A wonderful presentation! The students were very attentive and so enthralled with the ownership that you allowed them with this project. The easy 'kid language' steps to writing that you promoted were most refreshing for these young writers. They were very anxious to get to their 'writer's notebooks' after the program. Your talent, good humor, patience and all around charismatic personality were a delight!" Dawn DiRocco Gorsline, Sheridan Elem., Williamsport, PA

"The workshop was exciting and engaging... It was so much fun to see the presenter take the children's ideas and turn them into pictures. The kids loved it! I would definitely recommend this workshop and author to a fellow teacher... in fact, I plan to!" Susan Haas, Westgate Elem., Fairfax, VA

"How wonderful it was to see children creating together and building idea after idea with your drawings bringing those ideas to life." Canadochly Valley Elem., Eastern York, PA

"You engaged the students in fun, meaningful activities and captivated their interest. When we returned to the classroom the students couldn't wait to begin drawing... they wanted to write about their drawings, as well. I have since had writing assignments which started with a picture they created... Some of the students who normally do not like to write, wrote several pages! Thanks for the great teaching technique and for making writing fun for my students! Michele Bittner, West Penn Elem., New Ringgold, PA

"My students were so excited and moved by his presentation that the minute we got back to our classroom they "begged" me to let them draw and write a creature story like he had shown them how to do. It's a great feeling to see your students "turned on"! George A. Ferrell School, Hughesville, PA

"I thought it was great!... This was one of the very best programs we've ever had here at our school." Rush Elementary, Tamaqua

"One of my students said, 'I learned to come up with my own ideas and not use ideas on TV or already done.' I would recommend this workshop to any school." Clermont Elem., Quarryville

"It was refreshing to finally have an assembly/workshop that was inspiring and beneficial to the kids (and teachers)... Participation was at an all-time high and my homeroom talked about the workshop throughout the day. I would highly recommend this workshop to teachers in other schools at any grade level!" Oley Valey Elem.

"It was a wonderful way to get students' brains working. He so inspired my students that my second graders left and wrote for an hour!" Valley Elem., Jefferson, MD

"Very motivating. Mr. Van Patter had lots of energy and brought the students along easily." Scenic Hills Elem.

See drawings I've done in schools

"Mr. Van Patter was an enthusiastic, creative and dynamic portal into the minds of our children. He took them off the common path and created a new trail for our storytellers to lead in the writing process." Franklin Elem., Pottstown

"Wonderful, effective and fun too." South Mountain Elem., Dillsburg

"Some people are 'naturals' with knowing how to relate to kids. You are one of those people... Your time with us was delightful." Hambright Elem., Lancaster

"Your workshop was fantastic! You kept the students involved and interested the entire time... After the workshop, we used your drawing to write a story...Some of my students were so enthusiastic about writing they didn't want to stop. Great job!!" LB. Morris Elem., Jim Thorpe

"Brainstorming was excellent! It pulled all of the students into the story and forced them to think creatively..." Beaver Adams Elem.

"He had a very nice way with the students and got them excited about writing down their own ideas. He was a good spark for our creative writing program." Gladys Burnham Elem., Bradford County

"Thanks for visiting our school today! After the third grade workshop, I postponed my lesson plans for the rest of the day. We turned on "Doodle Music", made squiggles, gave our squiggles to a partner, and created a picture. The students are adding details to their pictures tonight. Tomorrow we will brainstorm some more and begin to write. Thanks for the teachable moment you gave me today... for opening up the box today so we can begin to crawl out and enter a brand new way of thinking! Hampden Elem., Mechanicsburg

"When the students left his workshop they were immediately motivated to start writing their own stories with plots and characters they never thought of before." C.G. Johnson Elem., Reynoldsville



Read assembly reviews

"A wonderful, enthusiastic workshop -- full of audience participation and imagination stimuli! Great rapport with the students -- A fun way to help the students realize what a 'story' actually is and how they can bring it to life!" Sporting Hill Elementary School, Mechanicsburg

"Very motivating and interesting for the students. They came away from your workshop excited about trying some of the story ideas -- and feeling good about trying new ideas... Thanks for making us smile." Centre Hall Elem.

"The class session was VERY enjoyable, entertaining and educational! Mr. Van Patter showed both students and staff the fun you can have when writing and illustrating stories!... Bravo!" Centre Hall Elem.

"Your creative writing seminar was fantastic! My whole class was inspired by you...I am eager to try some of your ideas and to check out your website. Keep up the good work, you are an excellent motivator." Elimsport Elem.

"Brainstorming is such an essential part to the writing process! You did a great job encouraging the students to explore within their own minds in order to strengthen their creativity. I look forward to having the students try your (website) story-starters!" Round Hills Elem., Williamsport

"You 'jumpstart' the child's imagination through your drawings, stories, and open-ended dialogue. Your enthusiasm and natural love of children exudes throughout your workshop." Wasson Avenue Elem., DuBois

Glimpses of the fun!



Drawings done in actual workshops.

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