Teacher's Journal

Reading Corner “Drop Bags”

  Mushers are allowed to ship supplies ahead so they can replenish their “people” food, dog food,  and gear such as  boots, gloves, dog booties, and more. They may send three 50-pound “drop bags” per checkpoint. The bags are labeled with their names and A, B, or C. The bags are flown into the checkpoints and …

The Iditarod, a Solid Teaching Tool

It’s teacher work week or close to it, and we teachers are scrambling to ready ourselves for a new school year.  It’s sometimes overwhelming just to teach our required standards. More and more is piled onto our proverbial plates each year.  However, here are the benefits I see when incorporating the Iditarod into the curriculum: Student engagement …

Mushing in the Family

Summer is a great season to spend time with family. Through working or playing together, skills and interests are definitely passed on to children.  We see a variety of second-generation careers:  movie stars, business people, mechanics, farmers, and in my case, teachers. Apparently, mushing falls into the generational gene pool. In Fairbanks’ Daily News-Miner, Dan …

Staying in Shape

    We all know that sled dogs stay in shape during the snowy, winter months when training for long distance runs.  But what happens now, in Alaska’s summer?  And yes, there is summer in America’s northernmost state.   Summer exercise varies.  Some mushers work with their dogs guiding tourists on glaciers.  Others give trail rides to …

Washington D.C. and the Iditarod

Flying home over Washington, D.C., from Iditarod Summer Teacher Camp, I spotted familiar landmarks: the Washington Monument obelisk rising high into the sky, the five sided Pentagon, the Jefferson Monument, and more. This busy city with huge buildings seems a far cry from the wilds of Alaska. However, there are times the two worlds have …

Leave a Footprint

2012 Teacher on the Trail™, Blynne Froke, spoke to us of her adventures. She also shared an engaging lesson incorporating the Iditarod into reading, research, and art with an etching project. We thoroughly enjoyed trying our hand at etching sled dogs onto boards, but there was more to her presentation that hit me. At one …

Running For More

The annual volunteer and musher sign-up picnic has a festive atmosphere where even the most competitive opponents greet each other as comrades and catch up over grilled salmon, pork BBQ, and coleslaw.  We teachers were wide-eyed as we actually met the mushers our students have tracked in the Iditarod year after year.  What I especially enjoyed was …

Character Education

Alaska’s native people groups and the Iditarod share the distinction as teaching tools for character education.  “My mother told me, ‘when you get into the qasgi and someone starts to talk, turn to him and look at his mouth very carefully. If you do not look at his mouth while he is talking, you will never …

To Moose, or Not to Moose

Being surrounded by a passionate group of teachers during Iditarod Summer Teacher Camp this week has been a great time of professional development. As you can imagine, with this much creativity packed into one camp, humor and conversation abounds. We deviated a bit from correct grammar this week and created a new verb: moose, or …

Then and Now

One aspect of our Iditarod Summer Teacher Camp learning involves comparing and contrasting Iditarod races in the early days and current years. Several mushers have alluded to the changes. Last evening, we visited the home and studio of artists Jon and Jona VanZyle. Jon spoke with us and told about some of the developments he’s …