An Approach to Literacy

A Turkey on the Trail

In honor of Thanksgiving this year, my class disguised paper turkeys as husky dogs and mushers preparing for the 2016 Iditarod.  They wrote about their plans for escape from the farm in first person narratives. This time-honored school tradition involves a lot of creativity, humor, and great writing.  What a perfect way to save a turkey …

A Snapshot of Jeff Schultz

  We have been spending some time in class this last week learning about some of the people behind the scenes of the Iditarod that help bring The Last Great Race® to people around the world. When my students see the amazing photographs of the mushers and their dog teams along the trail, they ask …

Giving a Hero His Due

I was recently sent a copy of a book to preview, and just today ordered a class set of them for my classroom for next year! Dog Diaries #4: Togo by Kate Klimo is a fantastic story of Togo who, according to many historians, should get the most credit for the success of the 1925 …

What Makes a Hero?

Teachers at this year’s Winter Conference for Educators had the fortune to hear Shelley Gill share some of her amazing stories of Alaska, her 1978 Iditarod run, and her work as a humpback whale researcher in Prince William Sound.  Shelley is an engaging speaker, and I have always shared her book Kiana’s Iditarod with my …

Animal Heroes Everywhere

Alaska races sled dogs. In Maryland we race horses. Alaska has stories about heroic dogs. We have stories about heroic horses. My school and I wanted to send greetings to the schools along the trail as a way to kind of let our schools meet each other and to show a connection between schools that …

Mushing Towards Understanding Non-Fiction Text Features

My students, maybe because they are boys, seem to gravitate towards non-fiction texts. They love to pour over the pictures and stats that fill their favorite non-fiction books.  But, I have noticed that they don’t always use all of the features in the book like captions and sidebars to their advantage as readers, and they …

Stone Fox

In order to keep students engaged the last week of school before the Holiday Break, I had them read Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.  This is a great book of friendship, family and the love between a boy and his dog.  All the things to keep students wanting to turn the page and go …

Books to the Trail

 The Iditarod Books the Trail program has been running for several years now.  Schools in the lower 48 and others team up with sister schools along the race trail to deliver much needed books to these remote schools.  Recently the Anchorage Public Library has joined our efforts so that even more books can be enjoyed …

A First-Grader’s Alaska Story

Alaska Alaska is very very cold. My grandma has ben there lots of times. There are husky dogs there in Alaska. You have to race on sleds. The dogs pul the sleds so you can go. There are 62 people on the sleds. There are 992 dogs puling you. Written by a 1st grader, typed …

Taking Care of the Iditarod Dogs, Writing, and Sequencing

The dogs of the Iditarod are athletes and get the kind of training and health care human professional athletes get. Volunteer vets man the race’s checkpoints to examine teams as they arrive throughout the race. These dogs have been cleared physically by a pre-race exam which includes bloodwork, EKG, and a physical exam. This article, …