Studying Spitfire

Julia Miller, a teacher in Peru, NY, has put together a phenomenal web page to go along with her unit on my historical novel Spitfire.  And — better yet — she gave me permission to share it so other teachers can use the resources she’s pulled together. Click here to check it out!

Most teachers who have written to tell me they’re using Spitfire in the classroom are working with students in Grades 4-8, but Miss Miller’s students are in high school. They’re taking a class that I wish had been around when I was in school — Local History and Literature — and I promised a special shout-out to them on my blog. So…

Hi there, Peru High School students!  Miss Miller tells me that you have a list of questions to ask about Spitfire, the history surrounding it, and how I researched and wrote it.  Ask away!  To post a question, click on “Leave a Comment” and type your question in the comments box. You can sign it with your initials if you’d like, but please don’t include your full name for Internet safety reasons.  Give me a day or two to reply to your questions, and then check back here for my responses.  I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

1 Reply on “Studying Spitfire

  1. Letter Exchange


    Our letter exchange with the fourth graders from Kris Fordham’s class was a wonderful experience! The fourth graders did a fantastic job writing beautiful friendly letters, complete with their favorite parts of Spitfire. They obviously put time and effort into the writing process. There were more of my students than there were fourth graders, so some of them wrote more than one letter so each of my students would receive one.

    My seniors were thrilled beyond words when they came to class to find a letter personally addressed to each of them! They couldn’t remember the last time they received a letter (in this world of text messaging and email), and the smiles were a welcome change from the stressed faces I usually see.

    The most amazing part of this activity was the care that my 12th graders put into their responses– they were suddenly asking questions about capitalization, punctuation, spelling, etc! They genuinely cared about their product and their audience.

    It was interesting to see the similarities in the “favorite” parts of your book between 9 year-olds and 19 year-olds. They all admired Abigail’s courage and commented on how difficult the situation must have been. There were many comments about how wonderful it is to read a book about our area by someone they might meet walking down the street. Of course, there were also lots of comments on the amputation and the fact that Abigail had to be creative in order to relieve herself 🙂

    The experience we shared exchanging letters with a fourth grade class has inspired my students to reach out to younger students and offer those fourth graders some encouragement to do their best work in school. It also has refreshed a tired bunch of seniors who are only 45 school days away from graduation.

    The seniors wanted to hand deliver the letters, but we decided to visit the fourth grade after they have taken their field trip to the Kent Delord House and we have taken ours to Fort Ticonderoga. We can share souvenirs and impressions in late May.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful book and the doors it has opened– not only to the past, but to our school buildings as well.

    My students should have questions for you soon, when they begin to write their own historical fiction stories in about two weeks.

    Thanks so much,
    Julia Miller