Teacher's Journal

Resilience and Respect

Paws Along the Trail with Resilience and Respect Resilience:  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Christina traveled all the way from the UK to attend the Iditarod Winter Teachers’ Conference in Anchorage.  Her enthusiasm for the race and how it impacts her students was infectious! She works at the college level, helping students …

Iditarod with Text Features and Structures

Paws Along the Trail with Creating Iditarod Booklets If your class followed the Iditarod, you will be surprised at what your students remember even at this time of the year.  As we review for the reading standardized state test, I am still using the Iditarod to motivate and engage my students. A difficult concept is …

Dropped Dogs

Paws Along the Trail with Dropped Dogs Mushers may begin the Iditarod race with a maximum of 16 dogs.  They must end with no less than 5.  Students often are concerned about what happens to the dogs that don’t finish the race.   If a musher feels a dog doesn’t want to run anymore or …

Sled Dog Puppies

Paws Along the Trail with Puppies Musher Meredith Mapes completed her rookie Iditarod race in March.  As did many mushers, Meredith parked her sled under the burled arch finish line and walked up the line of her dogs, petting and thanking them.  Recently, she had another event to celebrate. One of her dogs had six …

Iditarod Geography

The Iditarod race crosses 1,049 miles of Alaska, so the mushers and their dogs travel through varied terrain.  This gives music teachers or classroom teachers an opportunity to teach the physical geographic features while following the Iditarod Trail!   Our school’s music teacher and I created this little chant to help students understand some of …

Warning Signs on the Iditarod

Paws Along the Trail with Warning Signs This time of year, teachers are reviewing reading and test-taking skills in anticipation or dread of the annual standardized tests.  In the midst of what can be drudgery, throw in some Iditarod articles for comprehension practice.  Motivation and engagement will soar! One reading comprehension skill that challenges our …

Dog Watcher

Paws Along the Trail and Watch Sled Dogs Spending five weeks in Alaska gave me ample opportunities to observe sled dogs.  I want to answer some questions students often ask and share some of my favorite dog photos from the Iditarod Trail! Is it hard for the mushers to get the dogs to run? Mushers …

Nenana Ice Classic

Paws Along the Trail with a River Ice Break-up Rivers flow, yet freeze throughout Alaskan winters.  Airplanes use the solid rivers as runways.  Snow machines criss cross the wide, frozen expanses.  The Iditarod mushers spend plenty of time sledding and camping on rivers as they follow the trail toward Nome.   A village on the …

Waste

Paws Along the Trail with Waste One of the difficult parts of the English language is dealing with multiple meaning words.  If you are reading along in a passage and realize it doesn’t make sense, perhaps the word was chosen for an additional meaning.  For instance, dog even has multiple meanings.  Here are three definitions …

Lots to Carry

Paws Along the Trail with Lots to Carry I left for Alaska on Presidents’ Day, February 19, carrying gear to last me five weeks in the cities, schools, and  bush of Alaska.  On March 5th, I pared down my gear to essentials since I had to carry it all on the Iditarod Trail.  There have …