This is our first year following the Iditarod. The
photo above was taken a few days ago. At this point one
of the mushers we choose to follow has arrived in Nome, Alaska
the end of the Iditarod race. The race began in Anchorage March 1
and stretches 1,150 miles of rough terrain. I wish I had gotten this post
up sooner for all my readers but bookmark and perhaps next year you can
jump in and follow along. I didn't want to make the activities labor intensive
my first year. My goal was to get them excited about it and understand what
all is involved in getting ready for the race. For today I'd like to share
with you some of the resources we have been using. All of my kids choose
mushers and followed but my 2nd grader was the one who really got into
the race and the lesson activities.
I used or am using the following books. This is a short list. I plan
to add to this as we discover more as we continue to follow the race.
I wanted to have different styles of reading for my son so I choose.
The Scholastic Book Called Mush. This book
has clear photos of the race and explains all the ins and out's
for young readers. It's in a magazine style format and is very
enjoyable to look at. I actually took it to church with me to show
the kids there and several of the adults picked it up off my desk too.
Balto is a true story is based on the actual events that happened
in 1925 during the outbreak of diphtheria. The nearest medicine was
800 miles away in Anchorage. The train that carried cargo became
snowed in 700 miles from the medicine. A dog sled relay was used to
get the needed medicine. The book is an easy reader for 1-3 graders.
I decided to break the book up into parts but Spirit wanted to finish
it. He loved the idea that the story was about dog sledding due to the
races. I'm going to have to make a note to myself to make books this
exciting all the time.
I also downloaded the form called Barking Books from the
Organized Classroom. The idea behind it is every time you read you
mark the minutes onto paw prints. Then total your reading minutes.
I thought it would be fun to total our Iditarod reading minutes and
receive a small prize at the end for working so hard.
There are many ways to incorporate writing into your Race. I really
liked the idea of Writing to a Musher. Spirit has been learning how to
write a letter and address it so I figured this would be great practice.
It is also possible that your child will receive a return response from the
musher you choose to write too. It might be good to perhaps write to a few.
Now following the Iditarod can be so much fun but you will want to find
some great places on the Web to help you stay up to date. If you want
to stick to reading articles then you will want to bookmark
Anchorage Daily News
The dogs are what it's all about for the children so what
fun that there is a place that the dogs share some daily reads.
What is even better is that the articles are geared toward your child's
reading level. This is the Article to teachers explain which dog's belong
to which reading level. Once you choose your child's level of reading you
will only need to go in and click the picture of the Dog that matches that
level. You can add this time to your reading paws each day.
You might also want to read Teacher on the Trail Blogspot
There are some really great ideas there for teaching and fun
articles to read. I had a hard time as mom getting off that site.
Now perhaps you would like to watch things live. If so
You might want to pay for a single subscription to keep up to
date while the race is going, track the dogs you are following and
receive current video feed. If you don't want to pay for the
subscription you can at least come Iditarod.com for the latest news.
Choose Your Musher
Your kids will want to choose mushers for the race. The
teacher blog I mentioned before gives you some nice guidelines
for Choosing your Musher. We followed the guidelines and my
children choose to follow. Jeff King who has recently scratched.
Ally Zirkle who today came in second. We are also following Jessie
Royer, Elliot Anderson, Justin Savidis and Monica Zappa. The race
doesn't end until all the Musher make it to the finish line or Scratch out.
We tracked our Mushers by creating a map of Alaska and making
dog sleds with the mushers name on. If you look closely to our photo
about you can see how we made them. We drew dog sleds and then
used our finger prints to create dogs. Then wrote the mushers name on
the paper. They were easy to remove and follow.
You could also us these Tracking forms to help you keep track of what
is happening within the race.
Just for Fun…
I found two activities I am hoping I get to because they look like they
are so much fun. One is...
Iditaopoly- You can print out the game for free.
The other one is ...
Walk the Trail the children use a pedometer to try to walk the
miles of the Iditarod race. It's a great way to show them how far the
race really is and to get some exercise in each day. Even if you don't walk
the 1,150 miles. (hee hee)
For now that is a start of some of the things we are doing and have
done. More to come.