Yesterday I finished up my first week of school for the 2016-2017 school year. It was a fun week introducing my students (and their parents) to the Iditarod. I didn’t miss a beat getting Iditarod started in my classroom—I started by reading Dallas Seavey’s Born to Mush to my language arts class. We are about halfway through the book, and my students are loving it! Born to Mush is a great way to introduce an elementary or middle school class to the Iditarod. I chose a different skill to focus on each day including visualization, plot, setting, vocabulary, and text connections. To purchase Dallas’ book you can visit his website.
My Iditarod bulletin board is my favorite part of my classroom. It is a collection of artifacts, pictures, and the big Iditarod 2017 countdown. A few simple things you can do to spruce up your Iditarod classroom are begin to collect Iditarod themed books, find a red lantern (I found mine at a local hardware store), and get some authentic Iditarod patches from the Iditarod online store. One of my favorite Iditarod books is Storm Run by Libby Riddles! An amazing story of the first woman winning the Last Great Race on Earth! The patches I have on my board were one of my best purchases I made last summer. They make the classroom feel like an official part of the race! Storm Run and other Iditarod goodies can be purchased from the Iditarod online store.
Another item on my bulletin board is my Iditarod word of the week. I have had these up in my classroom for the last few years and it is a simple way for students to get the Iditarod lingo down before race day. There are eighteen words in total, and I make sure to review the words we’ve done every few weeks so students remember the terms and definitions. I hope your students enjoy learning the lingo as much as mine do.
The last “back to school” Iditarod tidbit I’m going to share today is something I picked up at the Mickleson ExxonMobil Teacher Academy this summer. Each day at the conference they grouped us differently using a deck of cards, and I loved getting to know new people each day. I decided to tweak this a little bit and make it work for my classroom (and hopefully yours)! I created six different cards that you can pass out to students as they walk into your room—Husky Group, Moose Group, Paw Group, Sled Group, Lantern Group, and Musher Group. I usually have my students work in groups of four, so I have printed out four pages of the document, cut them out, and laminated them for use throughout the year. It has proven to be a simple way to incorporate Iditarod into my classroom, while changing student grouping each day.
As the school year goes on be on the lookout for new lessons and activities you can do with your students. To receive all the most recent updates subscribe to the blog by clicking “follow” on the right side. And if you are looking for an opportunity to meet up with other Iditarod teachers, join us at the Midwest Dog Sledding Symposium and Iditarod Teacher Conference in Curtis, MI. I will be presenting at the conference along with keynote speakers Anna and Kristy Berington.