Iditarod Citizenship!

Sled Dog Ed

Hi, Teachers!

I was an athlete!  I belonged to a sports team….the sport of dog mushing which is the Alaskan state sport. Being an athlete requires stamina, determination and the ability to work together with others on a team.  My team just happened to be other dogs.

On other sports’ teams everyone has their own responsibilities and positions just as our dogs do on a sled dog team. Most sports’ teams also establish goals for their team for the year: training schedule, positions, how many practices are needed, who will play and which position, and what personalities work well together to be on the team.  Mushers will do the same thing.  Check out 2018 Teacher on the Trail™, Heidi Sloan’s lesson, “Choosing the Team”, for more information on how mushers choose their team.

Teachers even establish goals for their students and classroom. But, how about the students themselves?  What do your students want to establish as goals for the school year, month, the Iditarod race, etc.?  Get students involved in a discussion of what makes a good goal (concise, measurable, attainable). Extend this to discuss what role/position they will play in working towards the goal.  

This would be a great time to introduce the various dog positions on a dog sled team: lead dogs, swing dogs, team dogs, and wheel dogs.  What type of dog are you? Do you possess leadership qualities, or are you more of a person that follows the lead but knows where to turn on the path and what corners to get around? Are you a solid team member helping wherever it is needed? Are you the strong, stable person on which others can rely to pull through anything?  Combine this discussion with the 8 Traits of Iditarod established by 2006 Teacher on the Trail™, Terrie Hanke.  They are Innovation, Diligence, Integrity, Team Work, Attitude, Respect, Optimism, and Determination.

Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore’s Team List

Michelle Phillips’ Team

Have your students develop and write a goal for themselves, determine what “position/role” they play in accomplishing that goal, and identify what character traits are needed to attain the goal.  Post students’ goals in the room perhaps in a large model of a dog sled.  Give the display a title such as, “Mushing Forward as a Team”.

Just as mushers revisit their goals throughout the race year, have each student periodically evaluate his or her progression towards attaining the chosen goal.  Is there a need to revise, has the goal been met and another one needs to be made, what additional resources are needed in order to reach the goal, etc.?

My goal is to be a positive role model to all puppies and dog team members here at the kennel.  Wisdom, respect, integrity, and a love for what I do gives me the tools to be a positive influence to my younger cohorts.  As teachers, instill this in your students and encourage them to be positive role models as well. 

Live life to its fullest!

~Sled Dog Ed