Look at the enthusiasm of these students!
They earned a field trip and pizza party for meeting their reading goals over the school year. One young girl more than doubled hers. I knew we were kindred spirits as soon as I heard two kids confess they read when they were supposed to be doing their chores.
I had the privilege and delight of talking to them about writing, and sharing the topics of my books. Their many questions revealed their curiosity and eagerness to learn. I was impressed by their level of knowledge, which, of course, I attribute to the fact they are all terrific readers. But they attend a unique school, as well.
Examining historical photos of miners in the Coeur d'Alene Silver Mining District, the students drew inferences about conditions of the time and place.
At left: The original Old Glory Hole at the Bunker & Sullivan Mine, Kellogg, ID.
These museum quality artifacts I collected while researching Fire in the Hole! help students gain hands-on experience of the time period.
Below students take a turn with hammer and steel to get a feel for how hard miners' worked in the old days before power drills.
These students attend the Continuous Curriculum School in the East Valley School District near Spokane, WA. They explained to me how they only get six weeks off for the summer, but get more breaks during the rest of the school year.
My favorite part of visiting with students this week was hearing about the characters they developed during a short writing assignment. One character was a 6-year-old girl named Hannah, with neon-hair and freckles. Her goal was to pan for fools' gold, and to meet it, she had to climb a mountain and brave a river full of alligators. Now that's a story I want to read!
It was a terrific break from writing to spend a couple hours with these bright, curious and confident young people. It was inspiring how they shared their ideas with such eagerness and enthusiasm. Several weeks ago, I met with a book club of mostly retired women, and is was similarly invigorating. Their life experiences and wisdom felt like a book I'd love to page through.
Let's hear from you! What do you gain from spending time with people outside your own age group.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known history, stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers in the blog comments, by email or social media.