Monday, February 16, 2015

All About the Iditarod: Free Resources and Free Activities

I can't believe that it has been almost 8 years since I left Alaska. It was the most wonderful experience and I was lucky to have been able to spend 10 years there. I still miss it but was able to go back to visit two summers ago. During my 10 years I was so fortunate to actually have experienced the start of the Iditarod several times. The "ceremonial" start is in Anchorage on the 1st Saturday in March each year and we would bundle up to see the mushers begin the race. Sometimes they had to truck in snow to make a trail. Then they would restart the race the next day in Willow.

There are so many great reasons to teach students about the Iditarod, it's history, and the Great Serum run. It is a grueling 10 to 30 day race over some of the most desolate and dangerous trail. Mushers will experience some of the coldest temperatures and harrowing weather one can ever imagine. A few years ago I wrote a blog post about how to bring this amazing race into your classrooms and give your students the most up close and personal experience. Since then I've had lots of new followers and viewers so I decided to update it and hope you will find some great ideas and resources.

The best place to start is the Iditarod headquarter which you can access by clicking on the image below. You will find all the mushers in this year's race, and view live videos of the race. There is a wonderful Education Portal where students can follow the Teacher on the Trail and get great lesson ideas. A former teacher friend of mine will actually be working at the headquarters in Anchorage.
There are some wonderful books about the Iditarod that are great for Read Alouds or independent reading. You can read summaries of the best ones by clicking on the image below.
You can find some great lesson ideas at for all grade levels by clicking on the image below.
Scholastic has a wealth of activities for all grade levels. You will find information about Alaska, writing activities, it's history, the junior Iditarod and more by clicking on the image below.

Last year I completely updated and revised my Iditarod Reading and Writing Unit 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 sample pages of all the reading texts and activities by downloading the Preview File.  Just click on the image below.
For all my new followers and viewers I have a free activity which you can download by clicking the on 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 had several teachers ask me if I was going to write a packet about the Iditarod for K-1 and I finally did. It has a word wall, picture/word cards for matching, a Shared Reading Book, 3 leveled readers at the Early Emergent and Emergent Levels, Comprehension Activities, a Poem and Play, and a variety of writing activities. I really had fun creating it. You can check it out, read the description, and download the Preview file by clicking on the image below. The Preview file includes sample pages of all the differentiated Emergent Readers and all the writing and literacy activities.
For my K-1 followers and viewers I have a free Writing Activities Packet. There is a Label the Picture and Write Sentences Activity:
There are also 2 Photos with Word Banks for students to write a short story. You can download the complete packet by clicking on the image below.
Wow, that's a lot of great resources. I hope you will check them out and find some wonderful materials to download for your students.

Don't forget to check out all my Pinterest boards. Just click HERE.  Here are a few you may be interested in. I also have Grade level boards.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh what a fun unit! I can think of so many lessons to incorporate into this.
    Thank you,
    Artistry of Education