IditaRead Helpful Tips, Information & Lesson Plans

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Definitely check back often during the first 10 days of the race!

(Remember to refresh your browser. Updated 3/16/16)

Below are tips and links from our staff and parents. Please share tips from your home! Videos and pictures of your family doing any of the lessons from the Iditarod Education Portal are welcome (Remember to share the link to the lesson if you can!) Email them to

2/29/16~ Check out the Iditarod Education Portal. Please discuss any cool resources that you find on your listservs or IDEA Facebook groups! You can also email Sally so that we can post them here and link back to the Iditarod Education Portal!

2/29/16~ Bookmarks, a map and certificates for your own in-home race are available here - Neat Things To Download.

2/19/16 ~ A good example of gee and haw as you follow a musher training dogs in Juneau at

2/29/16 ~ The Musher's Code - How mushers take care of one another.

3/1/16 ~ Paint & Ugly- How cool is that! A former Jr. Iditarod Champion Musher and 2016 Rookie reading videos himself reading a children's book! Thank you to Laura Wright - 2016 Teacher on the Trail.

3/2/16 ~ Iditarod Printables - has some wonderful printables that have been added to the Neat Things to Download page!

3/6/16 ~The Iditarod website has great information about the trip that mushers must take from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass. It is a very technical part of the race and few mushers are comfortable traveling the Happy Steps in the dark while many mushers will wait till daylight. What will your musher do? Read about the 2016 trail from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass by clicking here.

See a YouTube video of the taken by Aliy Zirkle when she mushed the Happy Steps in 2010 by clicking here.

3/06/16 ~ Children interviewed Gary Paulsen in 2000 when he ran the race. Great questions and excellent responses to questions from middle school students who interviewed Gary Paulsen through in the year 2000. Click here to learn more about the race from an author who finished the race! Besides writing children's books, Gary Paulsen has a book sharing his personal story and some of his travails on the trail. That book, Winterdance, should be evaluated by you for reading by high school students and adults only because of Paulsen's choice of vocabulary. Gary had a rough life. See Goodreads review by homeschooling mom - Tracy.

3/07/16 ~ Terre Hanke, the 2006 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, finds lots of ways to explore homophones. See Homophones: Sounds Alike Story about Jeff Schultz – Official Race Photographer. And, if you like that one, try Homophones: Sounds Alike Story About Iditarod written by Sanka the Dog.

3/8/16 ~ Two years ago, at the Education Conference, one of the former Teachers on the Trail, Terre Hanke, shared that only 12 to 15 racers each year really believe they will win the Iditarod. They have studied dogs, the trail and all of the known race variables and they have game plans for all the what ifs....and believe they have a chance to win. The rest are racing to finish. They are training puppy (2 year old) teams or they are in it for the experience. Surely some are hopeful they will get a break; however, they are in it to learn more about themselves, their dogs, the trail and to live an interesting life.

That's why reading along the trail with a musher can be helpful! You can read, not necessarily to beat your musher to Nome.....but you can just finish the race. The mushers live interesting lives and so do the characters in any book that you read! Be sure to share with us about something you read or learned along your reading trails! See information about filing Trailblazer Reports here.

3/8/16 ~ There are two articles on Military Time that I found in the Iditarod Education files: Military Time by Sanka the Dog that gives an explanation and examples and 24 Hour Time by Zuma offers a conversion chart. Military time is used to help prevent confusion when reporting time in and time out for the mushers. My husband saw me struggling with the issue of military time and said to me, "Just subtract 12." Hope that helps you in figuring it all out!

3/10/16 ~ A Unit Study on Togo. Who was Togo? Jen Reiter, 2014 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, teaches 3rd grade boys in her unit study (good for children in grades 2 through 5). Togo was actually the lead dog for most of the 1925 Serum Run into Nome. Read more about Togo in Jen's post, Giving a Hero His Due.

3/11/16 ~ Learn more about Alaska's Flag and Symbols of USA (and of course Texas) from Laura Wright - the Iditarod 2016 Teacher on the Trail. See Laura's lesson ideas for Grades Pre-K to K Benny's Flag complete with examples!

3/11/16 ~ Grades 2 to 12 - Here's a great idea from the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail: A Triangle Poem. Note: all you need to print is in the 4-page lesson plan packet! (Note: The news interview is no longer linked but everything else is linked and working!)

3/12/16 ~ Karen Ramstead, a Nulato judge for this year’s Iditarod Race (and a musher in many previous races), talks about the aggressive action of a person on a snow machine against Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King this morning in this video. Aliy has continued her race to Nome after dropping one dog. Jeff is still in Nulato as of 9:15 AM Saturday morning.  For fifteen years our Iditarod connection has been that of encouraging reading as well as learning about science, math, history, geography, art, and character. The mushers have faced all of the elements of Alaska’s majestic and wild wilderness, even bear and moose attacks.

At this time, I think of advice that was given to a young Fred Rogers by his mother. “Whenever you see bad things happen, look for the helpers. There are always helpers.” The State Troopers will be helpers. Karen is helping all of us by giving us the facts we need to know and then lifting up all the people in the village of Nulato. The photographer and Iditarod news crew helped by pulling together videos showing the children of Nulato welcoming the mushers. Both mushers made valiant attempts to protect and rescue as many of their dogs as possible. What helpers do you see?
As she left Nulato, Aliy turned and said thank you. Who do you think she was thanking?

3/15/16 ~ Iditarod 2016 Teacher on the Trail, Laura Wright, shares very uplifting words from unexpected helpers - You're Brave and Brilliant and Oh So Resilient!

3/16/16 ~ In today's One Day in Elim post, Laura Wright, the Iditarod 2016 Teacher on the Trail, shares that a checkpoint volunteer in Elim invited her outside to see the Northen Lights. Here is an interesting website with a study of Sweden's Northern Lights (Check out the free digital book, videos & fun activities)!

We'd love to hear from you about any resources that you find related to Iditarod Ed. Send us pictures to post as well!

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