Latest potions from the Dream Workshop


Here are some of the latest photos from the Dream Workshop I teach as part of the Creative Writing for Children (CWC) program.

My magic potions class is a great way to have the students add some conflict (or solutions!) into their stories and to help them experience the five senses. In this workshop, the students can visualize their potion, sniff it, hear it (because they always seem to fizz, crackle, and percolate), and even feel it as they stir it. The only thing I ask them to imagine is the taste (we don’t need anymore students turning into newts)!

Here are some photos of the potions during the brewing phase:

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After the brewing phase, we took a sample from each “cauldron” and distilled them into miniature bottles that the students then labeled. Here’s how they looked at the end:

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Magic in a bottle

Yesterday I posted some photos of my students’ potions during the brewing process at the Summer at St. Georges camp I’m teaching. Here’s the photos of the potions after we distilled them into tiny vials. We tried to get a few of the essential ingredients into the final products, so that’s why you’ll see a few floating goblin eyes or bones!











Only minor explosions in the magic potions lab

Here are some photos from my latest “Magic Potions” workshop.

I don’t deliver this one very often, as it is rather hard to scrounge up all the ingredients. And then there’s the aftermath. It can all be rather exhausting. ( A student’s mothers said to me afterwards, “I  commend you for this. You have a lot of energy.”)

But when you see an eyeball floating in a brew of pixie juice, mummy dust, and burning acid . . . well, it’s all worth it:


This workshop doesn’t look like it on the surface, but it actually has a lot of educational writing value. It is an excellent way to teach the five senses. The young wizard’s apprentices record their observations as they concoct their enchanted elixirs: what their potions look like, smell like, sound like, and feel like to stir. Of course, I don’t let them taste them. That has been a problem in the past. This time, just to cover myself, I made them sign a waiver:


Here’s some other photos of the activity in progress . . .












There is usually a few explosions in this workshop. Thankfully, this time, there were only two of note . . .



At the end of this workshop I always receive a common complaint: “Why can’t we take our potions home?” I try to explain that riding home in the back of mom’s car with an open cup of a concoction that includes burning acid, basilisk blood and slime of toad is not a very good idea. I remedied this problem for this class, by bringing little vials so that I could still a portion of each potion and give it to the students. Alas, the bottles are too small to fit an entire goblin eye. But, as one mother said at the end, “Well, at least the eye ball goop is in the vial.”


You can catch a closer glimpse of many of the ingredients in my current kit by visiting my Pinterest page.

Tiny bottles, enormous magic

Yesterday, I delivered my “advanced” magic potions workshop for creative writing students. The focus is still to develop an interesting plot device that demands writing with the five senses. The difference is that the students get to keep the result of the hand-on part of the activity, which is a tiny vial of enchanted elixir.

Here are some of the charms my students developed (by the way, the secret ingredient is GOOP) . . .

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Potion bottle.

Enchanted feathers for my magic potions kit

This is the last of the ingredients I have to show (at least for now) of my revamped magic potions kit that I use in my creative writing classes. True, I showed clippings from a winged horse earlier in this series, but these are from your more exotic creatures: Griffin, Phoenix, and Cockatrice. These are good to drop into your potion at the very last moment (not that my students ever listen to me on this account).

I will admit these are three of my favourite creatures—they make appearances from time to time in my Kendra Kandlestar series. In The Shard from Greeve (which is being offered for FREE on amazon until September 25th by the way!), Kendra finds herself in the midst of a few critter brawls.

Magical creature feathers

I’m still on the hunt for a few more ingredients to go into the kit: Goblin eyes and tail hair from a centaur. So far no luck. The hunt continues!

Straight from the Seas of Ire

This is one of the few ingredients in my magic potions kit that doesn’t actually look disgusting; in fact, I think it looks rather beautiful.

Water from the Seas of Ire

Scoptacus.However, it’s probably no surprise that this is NOT the first ingredient my students go for when I take my kit to my creative writing classes on cooking with the five senses.

Oh, and for those of you asking “Where are the Seas of Ire?” Well, it goes by a different name these days. But Kendra Kandlestar had to cross these intrepid waters back in the Shard from Greeve. Of course, she had to battle a deadly scoptacus along the way! This book is actually is offered on amazon kindle as a give-away until September 25th–download your free copy HERE!

Burning acid and mummy dust

These ingredients are two of my original ones in the magic potions kit that I use in my creative writing classes on the five senses. Any of my past students will assure you that mixing them in the wrong quantities can lead to rather . . . explosive results. As such, these are the two ingredients that I must constantly restock in quantity. Actually, I’ve taken to re-portioning them into smaller bottles to try and encourage everyone to use less!

Burning acid and mummy dust.

This student from a past class used just the right amount of Een sugar and basilisk blood in his potion, but was over zealous with his dashes of mummy dust and sprinkles of acid. By the way, it’s impossible to get a magic potion stain out of ANYTHING.

Potions Class