Monday, February 18, 2013

Time for the Iditarod: Great Books, Free Resources and Activities

I was so lucky to have lived in Anchorage, Alaska and was able to see the "ceremonial" start of the Iditarod each year (unless it was below 0 ) . One year we were able to see the mushers on the trail. I'm so in awe of these mushers who endure this grueling 1,110 plus mile race from Anchorage to Nome each year. You can't imagine what kinds of conditions they face over the 10-30 day ordeal. Even if you can't be there, there are so many ways for you and your students to follow the race from beginning to end!!!! In 2013 the official  race begins on March 3rd.

First, you may want start by building some background with some great books: The Great Serum Run  is a great book to give the history behind the race. You can find out about this book and other great books by clicking on the picture below.

Scholastic also has some great free resources, activities, information about the mushers, and Alaska which you can check out by clicking on the picture below.

Of course the best website to be able to see videos, daily updates about all the mushers, weather conditions, trail information, checkpoints and "the teacher on the trail" activities for your classroom is the official Iditarod
headquarters which you can access by clicking on the image below. It has everything you need!!!!!!

Last year I wrote a unit about the Iditarod and completely updated and revised  it, adding many new activities. It includes a Word Wall, Picture/Fact Cards, 2 Reading Texts and Comprehension Questions at the 2nd and 3rd grade levels, A Biography of Lance Mackey, Character Traits Activity, Follow a Musher on the Trail Log, Biography writing about a Musher in the race, Map the Trail Activity, Graph the Temperatures Compare and Contrast Activity, Writing a Triangle Poem, 4 Writing prompts and Graphic Organizers for Informational Texts and Opinion Pieces. You can put all the writing into a class book by copying the Class Writing Book Cover. You can see all the activities by downloading  the Preview File- just click on the image below.

Of course I have another free activity for all my wonderful followers and viewers which you can download by clicking the picture below. Your students can follow 2 mushers on the trail by filling in a log for each musher and then compare and contrast the 2 mushers using a Venn Diagram. Then each student uses their Venn diagram to write a text. How fun it would be to put them in a class book so everyone can read about other mushers as well. Afterwards you can see how many finished and how many dogs they had left when they crossed the finish line. For your freebie just click on the image below. I hope that you will leave me your feedback after looking at it.
I guess you can tell how excited I am about the Iditarod even though I am now living in Florida. I guess I have a special place in my heart for the wonderful years we spent in Alaska.
Hope you find some great free activities and ideas! Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

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What activity would you like to do with your students?


  1. Love this! I didn't see the free activity on the preview, however. (on your paid item) That's OK, though.