The Patch!

Each year the Teacher on the Trail™ gets to create their own patch and mine has finally come in!  My patch was designed by my 4th grade student, Libby McMahon.  Libby’s design was one of 35 submitted, and it was selected as the winner by the 3rd-8th graders at Saint Andrew.


My Patch!

Libby’s design included three important things—an Alaskan husky, the Chicago flag, and a little red heart.  The Alaskan husky represents the Iditarod and all the wonderful dogs of the race.  I am looking forward to being out on the trail and seeing the dogs joyfully make their way to Nome.    

The Chicago flag represents the pride I have for my city.  As a born and raised Chicagoan, the flag reminds me of my family and my city upbringing.  The Chicago flag is one of pride for Chicagoans and can be seen everywhere throughout the city!  The four red stars represent large events that happened in Chicago: the great Chicago fire, World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), Century of Progress International Exposition (1933), and Fort Dearborn.  The three white stripes represent the different sections of the city and the two blue stripes represent Lake Michigan and the north and south branch of the Chicago River.

And lastly, the little red heart with SG in it.  This heart is for my friend Susan Gardner.  Sweet Susan was one of my roommates at the 2015 Iditarod Teacher Summer Camp, and she passed away suddenly this past summer.  Susan loved the Iditarod and loved getting her students excited about the race.  Susan always wanted to see the Iditarod in person, so it is my honor to take her memory with me down the trail.

Patches can be seen all over the Iditarod—from jackets to sled bags, they are all around.  A simple activity your students can do is create a patch that represents themselves.  Students can write a description of their patch, or practice their public speaking skills and discuss their patch with classmates.  I have included a template below for your students to use.

Create Your Own Patch

Below are pictures of Susan’s 2015 trip to Alaska, and the designer of my patch, Libby McMahon.


Other Iditarod Teacher News:

I am Skyping with classrooms across the country!  I have enjoyed taking my students on virtual field trips over the years, so I’m excited to work with you and your students to bring the Iditarod to life in your classroom.  To find more information and sign up for a time click here– I’ve added a few new dates and times!  I will also be continuing the Iditarod Classroom Club.  To join in the fun, click here: Iditarod Classroom Club.

Join us in Chicago for a conference on  January 21!  Speakers include Iditarod finisher Charley Bejna (via Skype), local musher Pat Moon, and 2017 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail (along with a few other Teacher on the Trail alumni).  Click here for more information.

You can also join us in ALASKA!  The 2017 Winter Conference will be held February 28-March 3 in Anchorage, AK with the theme of “Making Sense of Problems and Persevering Through Them”.  Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from strong educators, and from the mushers themselves.  For more information on this conference click here.