Remembering Nikolai

Tails from the Trail…. Remembering Nikolai

Being the 2020 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail was an amazing honor.  My time out on the Iditarod Trail was an experience that I will never forget.  

As the mushers make their way into Nikolai, it reminds me of my stop there. Nikolai is the first of many native villages along the Iditarod Trail. With a population of about 125 people and is located along the South Fork Kuskokwim River.

One of my favorite parts of my time in Nikolai was spending time in the Top of the Kuskokwim School with teachers/principal Samantha and Jacob.  They invited me into their classroom where I watched, learned, and interacted with their students.  It was amazing to watch one classroom, with students between preschool and fifth grade, operate.  I enjoyed working with kids on math equations, playing with blocks, and listening to the students read. 

Even though school was only half days during the Iditarod, many of the students participated in helping around the school, where the mushers were resting and eating, playing in the snow and on the playground, and helping to award the first musher to Nikolai.  Being the first to Nikolai in 2020 Richie Diehl was awarded a pair of beaver mitts made by an elder in the village, Oline Petruska, as well as a wool blanket. Several children presented Richie with these beautiful gifts.



Teachers: As I look at the weather for the next few days in Nikolai (a little snow possible, cold temperatures, and bright sun) I am reminded of one of my favorite lessons to do with my students.  Check out the lesson Yikes! I forgot my hat!

Hat Task Cards

Hat Planning