Throughout the years of my teaching about the Iditarod, I have always had a lot of support from the special areas teachers at my school. These teachers have always been so collaborative, that I wanted to make sure that I included some lessons that can be used with their class content as well. So this lesson is for all of those Art teachers out there!
This lesson begins with a video where students follow directions to learn how to draw a husky. It takes students through a step-by-step process to produce a husky and can be done either in the classroom or at home. In this project, students first practice drawing their husky a few times. They then share the results of their first drafts and comment on each other’s work.
From here, students begin the process of making their final drawings of their husky. They work on choosing a background for their drawings by examining pictures and photographs of different ecosystems in the Alaskan countryside. Students also learn about perspective techniques and how to make objects that are further away, smaller and how to use overlapping techniques to create the illusion of depth.
If this lesson is being done in the classroom, the teacher has the option to model how to add the effect of the Northern Lights to the picture. This is done by tearing a strip of white paper, placing it over the dark background close to the horizon line, and coloring along the torn line with a single pastel while holding the copy paper in place. Students then use a clean finger to smudge the pastel across the dark sky. They can continue this process, tearing new and differently shaped strips of copy paper for each new color of light they want to add. The final product is pretty amazing.
Find the complete lesson plan here: Husky Art Drawing
Trail Mail Art Contest:
There is another art inspired project available to all middle and high school teachers happening right now too. Iditarod is conducting a contest for students to actually create the artwork for the Iditarod Trail Mail! There is not a lot of time left to get submissions in, BUT they can be submitted virtually. Good luck to all contestants for this incredible opportunity!
Connecting with Classrooms:
This lesson was sent to me by Teresa from Pennsylvania! It is a great lesson to work on with your students about character traits. It can even be done virtually!
Iditarod – Character Trait Unit
Third grade students in Pennsylvania, studied character traits for the month of November using a few of Pam Flowers’ books. We started with reading “Big Enough Anna: The Little Sled Dog Who Braved the Arctic” and “Douggie: The Playful Pup Who Became a Sled Dog Hero”. We worked together to identify the character traits and find evidence from the text using actions, thoughts, feelings, or dialog within the stories. We then moved into Pam Flower’s chapter book “Sojo: Memoirs of a Reluctant Sled Dog.” The students were able to identify character traits independently and use the text evidence of actions, thoughts, feelings, or dialog. The final unit project was to create a quilt square. Each student was to create quilt square with at least one character trait that a third grader or a sled dog would need to be successful. Once all patches are completed I will be sewing them together and putting them on fleece to create a blanket. The students will then research different mushers and will agree on a musher/kennel to donate our blanket to, and we will be mailing it to them.
The students loved the books because all of the students had the same characters (dogs), but told from different perspectives. All of my students were able to participate whether they were virtual or in person.
If you are interested in having your classroom/ Iditarod lesson featured here, please reach out to me! I am available at firstname.lastname@example.org.