Kate Newmyer 2024 Teacher on the Trail

Jr. Iditarod Trail: Authentic Learning Experiences

As much as people tell you about something, you can’t really understand and absorb it until you experience it personally.  My experiences today with the Jr. Iditarod reminded me of how important this concept is in teaching.  The air was electric with excitement this morning at Knik Lake, the start of the Jr. Iditarod. Dog …

Jr. Iditarod: Final Preparations

Today I drove out to Iditarod Headquarters to visit during the vet checks for the Jr. Iditarod and then later, attended the Jr. Iditarod musher pre-race meeting. The Jr. Iditarod is a sled dog race for 14-17 year old students. They run an out-and-back course of 150 miles with ten dogs.  At the halfway point …

What Makes a Good Sled Dog? Part 3 of 3

Today I got to visit Iditarod Elementary (go Huskies!) and speak to the entire school body at once. I was impressed with their engagement, noticing, and remembering! I want to round out the “What Makes a Good Sled Dog?” series by highlighting some features of Alaskan husky dogs that I haven’t touched on yet and …

What Makes a Good Sled Dog? Part 2 of 3

Today’s presentations were all at Larson Elementary! I loved going to this friendly school and speaking to each grade level about what makes a good sled dog. Students were excited to learn a few things about Iditarod sled dogs to add to their knowledge. Almost every student raised their hand when I asked if they …

What Makes a Good Sled Dog? Part 1 of 3

Today I had the privilege of speaking to students at Knik Charter School and Big Lake Elementary about the Iditarod and about sled dogs. Students were from all grade levels from Kindergarten to 7th grade, and they had various levels of knowledge about sled dogs.  My question to them, and to you, is: What makes …

“One Iditarod” to the Northwest

When traveling north, many people, past and present, have undergone transformations to their character and outlook on life. Arctic explorers, past and present, feel the call of the north. Many mushers talk about how racing the Iditarod is a transformative experience.  The Iditarod Trail winds from Anchorage, northwest across interior Alaska, through mountains and along …

Classroom Culture: Sharing Trail Mail

As I mentioned in my February lesson plan post, writing letters can be a very special way to communicate.  This month for Classroom Culture, I want to focus on ways that you can incorporate letter-writing into your social-emotional learning and also celebrate your special staff in a very Iditarod way by using Trail Mail. If …

“Trail Mail:” Developing Persuasive Writing

Think of a time when you had to persuade someone to do something or think a certain way.  What strategies did you use? Was it easy or difficult? Did you have to think about which examples or reasons were the most important? Last week, I attended a fundraiser for a very special place in our …

“Houston, We Have a Connection:” Spacesuits vs. Musher Gear

What do Alaska winter gear and spacesuits have in common? A lot, as it turns out.  Both of these specialized sets of apparel have features designed to protect the wearer from environmental hazards such as extreme temperatures, debris impact, and radiation.  Gear must have many other functions such as pockets and clasps for tools and …

Classroom Culture: Team Colors

As of today’s posting, the Iditarod starts in only 42 days–and there are now 43 mushers signed up!  It’s exciting to think that these teams will soon be getting out on the Iditarod Trail. How will you get your classroom excited and “geared up” for the race?   Students always want to know who the …