Book 1: The Jewel of Peru
After his father’s ship is found abandoned at sea, Christopher makes an unexpected discovery on board—The Ultimate Treasure Chest! Inside is a message that beckons him to set sail after the treasure and his parents. When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, the gang gets caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies. Will Christopher find the Jewel and his parents, or will all be lost for ever?
“Highly recommend this book! It was a page turner until the end! As a parent, I loved how it reached the curriculum for my daughter AND motivated her to read! (She is on her 4th read of it)”
“A wonderful piece of educational fiction that blends fact and fantasy to create a literary journey that is both informative and exciting for young readers.”
“Sharon Skretting has captured Peru and deftly woven elements of the culture and geography into a fast-paced treasure hunt.”
CIR: How did you come up with the idea of writing adventure novels for kids as a way to teach school curriculum?
SKRETTING: As the drone of the “professional development” presenter faded into the background of my thoughts, I realized that I often do the same thing to my students. I bore them. That got me thinking, what if this presenter were presenting me with the same information, but it was presented through “story”. Then I would be interested. Suddenly, there it was; the entire concept for Quest Teaching. What if… I could craft a story that would connect many curriculum concepts throughout the narrative?
CIR: So how did you go about coming up with a story to fit the curriculum?
SKRETTING: I started to think about the criteria for the story. This is what I came up with:
- It would have to be good literature; not filled with contrived dialogue imparting knowledge to my students, but rather a fast paced exciting quest that would hook them into the learning before they knew what was happening and without lecture.
- It would have to have all the elements of good literature: well developed characters with which the kids could connect, action woven throughout an intricate plot, interesting vocabulary to increase their love of words, use the variety of literary techniques that I teach them to use, and of course, be centered around a problem that was curriculum centered, but kid relevant.
- I wanted the story to provide jumping off points for lessons in science, social studies and language arts at a minimum, and hopefully link to other subjects, too. Could it provide a hook to learn about mapping while it also led into a lesson about rocks and minerals? (Can you tell I’m a theme teacher at heart?)
CIR: How did that get transformed into a story?
SKRETTING: I planned the story and it all came together. All the skills and concepts I wanted them to learn could be embedded in the plot! I started by modeling the writing process with my class. Each week I would share the new chapter that I wrote, after planning and marking, of course.
CIR: How did it work?
SKRETTING: The response was magic! They loved it, and begged for more. It really worked better than I ever imagined. My students identified with the characters, and rooted for them while they were taken through the story and they loved the page- turner endings of most chapters. But, the best part was – the story gave me a way to connect all their learning. The “remember when…” factor provided me with the jumping off point for lessons that I was seeking. As the students identified with all that the characters had gone through, they connected it to the classroom lessons and therefore, they were immediately interested and engaged.
Learn more about Sharon Skretting’s project at the Quest Teaching site.