Our last day at camp was bitter sweet. We all went Shannon Keene’s house to experience first hand authentic artifacts of the Inupiaq people. Shannon taught for many years in Kotzebue and had collected many special items. She also has a keen eye for the authentic versus the “for tourist items.” Everything from clothing, to weapons to hunt seal, to the tiniest of baskets with real working lids were examined. We learned about the materials, age and function of these items and many traditions still practiced were explained. We also learned the rules about the possession versus sale of these artifacts that are strictly adhered to.
Then the teachers shared their favorite lesson plans and projects that they used based on the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Everything from simple art projects, to Physical Education theme programs to inclusive program units drawing in statistics, reading, writing, simple math computations, physical and life science, geography and history was shared. These units were impressive to say the least.
Then it was time to say goodbye and that was hard. This has been an amazing group of teachers from all over the country, from a wide variety of experience and discipline and yet they bonded as a unit to explore, learn and experience an event and way of life for which they all had a passion. I feel very strongly that it is that very passion that bonds teachers and ignites students to become involved in their learning experiences. And we all know that a student engaged in his learning is a student that is truly LEARNING.
Then we tried to say goodbye again and it was much like Diane Johnson (Iditarod’s Education Director) commented – a Minnesota goodbye where you hug and say goodbye, then stand around for another hour chatting. Many of these teachers are planning to come up for Winter Conference at race time or back to Summer Camp next year, because there is so much more to learn. I hope some of you will join us.
And by the way, you haven’t heard the rest from me. I will be posting regularly so check back here often for new updates, lesson ideas and hopefully just inspirational thoughts the kind that keeps us going throughout the year. But for the moment I am still exploring Alaska so I will be in and out of internet. Will try to share whenever I can.
The more the merrier.