February 2015 | Teaching in the Tongass

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

iditarod activities for the classroom

I have only a few days left before I leave my babies behind (they go to my mom's house...yay!) and head back to work.  I've been on maternity leave for about 3 months now and it's been AMAZING to say the least. There's really nothing like being home with your family :) BUT, time to get to work and shower regularly again...what?! Who said that?!

I'm planning on kicking off my return with a little Iditarod fun!
Tips and activities for learning about the Iditarod in your classroom

I compiled a list of Iditarod related books...these are some of my favorites! I've included my Amazon affiliate links, which allows me to receive a small commission, which I use to offset my own cost of operating this blog and purchasing books.  
I typically start off by reading this text because it tells the story of how the Iditarod came to be:

And most students have heard of the story of Balto, who was famous for running the last leg of the relay, but none of them ever hear the story of Togo, the dog on the team that ran the most miles by far, which leads to a great discussion about working as a team and heroism:
Then, I read this book as it has a lot of basic information about mushers and what being in the Iditarod is like:
And this Iditarod text I picked up at a Scholastic Book Fair is perfect for close reading:
Some of the books in my display area:
You can find the Iditarod book display poster here.

I made this fun audio Powerpoint slideshow with to build the excitement and sort of introduce the topic a bit more. It gives the history and some more details about the Iditarod with real photos...a quick little virtual field trip up North!
And the kids ABSOLUTELY LOVED making these Iditarod crafts!!! They seriously could not get enough! I love how different they all are! 
 I always hang crafts up on the clothesline when students finish and just pull them off when I'm ready to put them on the bulletin board. 
You can check out the Iditarod Husky Dog craft here and the Iditarod Musher craft here.
And here are a couple of FREEBIES if you'd like to get in on the fun!
I keep all of the masters for my unit in 1 big binder:
And put the centers in binders (rather than tubs or buckets).
I printed some clipart, glued it onto a blank poster paper and laminated it. Now I can write on it with a dry-erase marker and reuse it every year!
 And I also added a quick reusable Iditarod word wall for students to reference when writing.
The Red Lantern Award is given to the last musher to cross the finish line in Nome, so of course, I had to have one to stress the importance of hard work and determination! I bought this one on eBay a few years ago. I also brought in a pair of fleece dog booties to show the class what the dogs in the Iditarod wear to protect their feet from the ice! They loooved these 2 artifacts!
You can also bring some fun into your Iditarod unit by awarding certificates! You can check out the preview to see all of the other styles of certificates included. 
You can check out the Iditarod class awards here.

 We begin our week by learning about the mushers that are in this year's race (I printed off biographies from the official Iditarod website). Students were responsible for writing about their musher and personalizing a mini musher to keep track of each day on the checkpoint bulletin board.
I keep all of the biography pages in clear page protectors in this binder for future reference as well.
Here is how I organize the musher tracking as they make progress along the trail.
 Then, we colored these Musher Trading Cards, added neat facts we found (think Pokemon power info, but mushers!) to the back of each card, and let the exchanges begin! I even made dog trading cards because they really got into the Adopt-a-Dog journaling and developing characters out of their dogs this year!
This is a new page added to the Iditarod Unit, so if you already bought this unit, go download your updated version for free (go to My Purchases in TpT)!!! 

Sadly, 2 of the mushers that were assigned scratched (dropped out), so they live in the "Scratched Zone" now!
Money games!
Multiplication and division is much more engaging when puppy food is involved!
 Brushing up on our expanded form skills again:
 Doubles and doubles +1 practice:
 We used these number bonds to practice our splitting of tens and ones:
 Fingerprint dogsleds! Sooo cute!
Reading Iditarod books and working on Adopt-a-Dog journals:
And...you guessed it! Another anchor chart :)
You can find the Adopt-a-Dog Journal here.

Ohhh the importance of 10's Friends!!!! We can't practice this enough!
Solving for an unknown and fractions!
And YOU HAVE GOT TO CHECK THIS OUT! A super sweet volunteer made this whole thing for us to hang up! You can't tell from the photo, but each of those flags are cut out construction paper, not printed from the internet! And the letters are all bordered with black and layered on top of yellow...it looks A-MAZING in real life. Trust me. I was speechless when I opened up the delivery! I promptly cut it out and laminated it so I could hug it all night hang it up in the hallway with our other Iditarod stuff.
 Terrible lighting in the hallway, as you can see from the difference in the photo below.
 I printed my bookmarks, laminated them and used pawprint ribbon from JoAnn's to make them extra special and fun.
And I also made some fun Iditarod flip books!
 You can check out the Iditarod flip books here.

And for those of you who are looking to save some money, I bundled ALL of my Iditarod teaching resources into one BIG package you can find here.
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