When I first started writing, I kept a file filled with oddball articles from the newspaper that might be fodder for a story: "929 gallons of moonshine found under Kentucky shed", that sort of thing. After I started writing my novel, I focused on 1938 Germany and stopped collecting ideas from other times or places.
As I prep for this Young Writers workshop in a couple of weeks, I'm revisiting the article collection idea. Writers of all ages need inspiration and real life gives it. Take this headline from the Scranton Times: "Fingerprint reveals daVinci piece". It seems a 19th century German artist was given credit for an unsigned portrait of a woman, and it had been in the hands of collectors and art dealers for years. The current owner asked a forensic expert to identify the fingerprint and palm print still visible on the painting and the match was made: Leonardo daVinci. That took the value of the piece from $19,000 to $150 million. I could make that up, but the fact that it's real makes it completely cool.
I bet the third graders will love stories like that. I'll bring my collection to share with them and encourage them to collect some too.