March 13, 2009

Favorite Time of Year...

It is my students favorite time of the school year, at least in my class. They begin asking on the first day of school if we can do 'it' again. They talk about this all year long. They talk about their person; they talk smack to each other, all in good fun!
What are we doing? We are following the “Last Great Race” ~ The Iditarod!It is amazing to see students get so excited about this every year. Two weeks before the start of the race they pick a musher and do a little research. I have them write a Bio-poem about their musher. NO ONE complains about having to write this poem. They love it. SHOCK!!We keep track of the race with the Bio-Poems.

By the time the race starts we are ready. The kids come into the classroom before the bell rings (shocking) to be the first on a computer. They have to check their musher’s standings and chart it. We watch daily video feeds, and throughout the day kids will stop in to see if ‘their’ musher is on a video yet. :o) They are graphing, charting, discussing, writing, reading, and some even look up their musher at home at night. All of this makes me one very happy teacher! I wish there was a way to get them this engaged all year round.
I know, and understand, that there are many different feelings about this race. We do discuss this in class. It is a very interesting discussion every year. I have never seen this race in person, but watching the videos of the dogs you can see how happy and excited they are. The health and welfare of the dogs is very important to many involved. You can tell that the mushers love these dogs and the sport. I am sure that there are bad mushers out there, but hopefully the strict regulations will keep them out of the event. Please don’t flame. Thank you.
The kids are already askingto do this again next year. Several students have already called the same person for next year. I never say absolutely yes until it gets closer to the start. The anticipation is part of the fun. (Mean aren’t I?)


  1. I remember you doing this before. How many years in a row is this?
    Have fun with it. Your kids always seem to enjoy it. And anything a teacher can do to engage her students is a good thing. :)

  2. My son's 3rd grade class is following it and it's so much fun. His musher is DeeDee Jounreau (sp?) and Lance who I think was in first place earlier. They had the parents in this morning to see all that they having been doing with it. So much fun - glad your class is enjoying it. Go Lance :)

  3. I think this is fantastic. We love the movie Balto but have never followed the actual race.

  4. I think it is great that you have found something that the kids get so into.
    I have seen shows about these dogs - you are right - they LOVE it. They were born and bred to do this kind of thing - it is in their blood.

  5. What a great class project. I love it when teachers get kids involved on something on the outside and they are able to bring it into the classroom. Enjoy it!

  6. HOW FUN..
    Love this idea.. you are always so creative..
    I would love for you to be my teacher..
    Have a great weekend..

  7. Ok, now I'm going to sound like a total dork, but I only understood what you were talking about because you included pictures. Yeah....I'm still 2 like that, I like picture books. I've never heard the term Musher or the Iditarod event....AND I'M FROM WV!?!

  8. LOVE that last picture of the pup with blue eyes. Siberian Husky perhaps? I always loved their eyes.

    I lived in Alaska for a while when in grade school. I've actually gotten to ride on a dog sled before. It's very cool. Albiet not in a race.

    I too think these dogs LOVE the race. As PM said.. it is what they are bred for, how they are raised.

    You go! I think it's great that your students get so involved and you bring school alive using this race.!!

  9. What a great, fun project for you and your kids! It must do a teacher's heart well when her students are clammoring to learn and don't even know it! Shhhh...your secret's safe with us.

  10. What a cool idea! Sounds like you are great teacher - those kids are lucky to have you :o)

  11. I wish I'd had a math or science teacher like you.

  12. Sounds like you are taking full advantage of a terrific learning opportunity!!!

  13. I think this is an awesome race, and beautiful animals and I also think that it is great that your class is so into it. That is great, it just shows that you just have to be a great teacher!!
    Love, Kristy