Watch Where You Put Your Paws!


The original source of inspiration


I think if sled dogs could talk, they would be able to teach us many things.  When I was in Alaska in June for the Iditarod Teacher Summer Camp, I bought typical tourist souvenirs to bring back home to Texas.  One was a simple, little magnet for my classroom that shared some homespun “advice” from a sled dog.  It made me think of a creative writing lesson for my classroom.  I used that inspiration and asked my students to create their own version.  We really thought about what we have learned about the Iditarod, the special relationships between mushers and their dogs, and the perseverance it must take to make it to Nome as a team.  What advice would we give people if we were sled dogs? 

My students created posters using the website for our “advice from a sled dog” wisdom.  The results were really thoughtful and insightful!  I have highlighted Canva before in an earlier post about kennel logo design.  This was a fun piece of writing and art design… as the Iditarod countdown begins.


Created by Kate, Claire, and Hannah

We made an anchor chart together and talked about the language used on the magnet I brought home from Alaska.  Sled dogs work as a team, but how does that apply to the classroom?  Sled dogs have to move forward along the trail, even if they have obstacles in their way.  Isn’t this true for students who are challenged by learning something new?  


Created by Lulu and Cassady


“Watch where you put your paws”  and “Believe you can get there”  and “Life is filled with unexpected consequences… but it’s also filled with treats!”  were a few of my favorites:

Some students wanted to write from a different point of view.  Charlie wanted to give advice from the perspective of the northern lights.  Wow!  I thought she did a remarkable job of bringing personification to the activity and really thinking about what words of wisdom the aurora could give to someone:


Created by Charlie


We are a few days away from the start of The Last Great Race on Earth®, and I thought this was a fun writing activity to write, design, and post around the school.  This is a great way to showcase all you have learned about the sled dog and the Iditarod.  What words of wisdom can your students share?


Try making your own advice posters either online using or draw and write them by hand.  Let’s celebrate the beginning of the Last Great Race on Earth® and share some sled dog words of wisdom.

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Follow my journey this year as 2016 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™. We have partnered with Skype as a virtual field trip experience, and I will be sending recorded video messages daily along the trail to classrooms around the world.  Sign up for a free Skype account first, and then join the “Iditarod Classroom Club” to follow along.  Remember, you must have a Skype account first, or you only be in my club for 24 hours as a guest!  Click the link below:

Iditarod Classroom Club