Off and on, for the past 11 years, I have followed along the trail with my students. My first administrator was an avid fan and got several teachers on board. We each chose a musher (sled driver) and checked each day to see which of us was in the lead. Obviously, I chose the cutest one and unfortunately we didn't finish the race!
The next year about 8 classes at school followed along. It was great fun!
I wanted to give you a few steps to follow the race with your class!
First, choose a musher. You can choose one as a class, have teams chose one, or even have individual kiddos chose a team to follow! With my younger kids, we chose two (one for the girls another for the boys) and check their positions in the morning and again before dismissal. My fourth graders each chose their own. I just pulled up the list and let them pick. Afterwards they made trading cards and we sent them to a younger class to help them chose a musher to follow.
Next you'll need a map of the trail! I always projected a map of Alaska and traced it onto bulletin board paper! My fourth graders did the whole thing! They took great pride in our map. One year we even did a map to scale! Make little sleds to move each day and keep track of your teams! I like to have kids make a little dog sled team to keep on their desks, too!
You can see we added our trading cards, random pictures and glitter!
All that's left is following along! It's a blast to check in with your team each day. The Iditarod site has made the whole experience truly interactive and there are lots of resources for teachers. Just a note that before showing any of the videos from the day-watch it first! I learned the hard way that these racers can get pretty riled up!
One of my favorite activities was our Great Reading Race! With my older students, I challenged them to read as many minutes as there were miles in the race that year. They kept up with a reading log and we charted and graphed each day. Like with choosing a musher, you could do this as a class, in teams, or individually. It really depends on your readers.
I had two class periods competing against each other this year!
In writing we keep musher journals. With my kiddos in second grade, I give them little activities and prompts to add to the journals and it is more of a way to learn about Alaska and the Iditarod. When I taught fourth grade, students actually write diary entries based on what we had learned about trail conditions that day! They were amazing!
You can go as in depth as you wish with this. It could be a daily little discussion at morning meeting or you can go all out and teach thematically!
I have compiled all the activities I've done into this little product!
I am currently working on a nonfiction unit for the Iditarod to use this year. It'll be posted soon!
The race starts March 7! I hope to see you following along too! I included a little something special in the file, too! If you own it, go and redownload it! And he's a cutie!