Hi, there!

August 25, 2010

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It’s been quite a while since I have posted on this blog, my personal one. My time has been spent this summer traveling to and in Alaska for about 2 and a half weeks, moving classrooms, and moving two of my children to colleges. “Move” is the word that best describes what I’ve done! Today, I “moved” on to the new school year with the arrival of my sixth graders who are new to middle school. I think this was the best year, ever, for learning to open combination locks. At the end of the day, the kids said that was the best part of their day, learning to open the locks! I’m posting a few photos, just because photos are fun to look at! Enjoy!


Musher Signup Today

June 27, 2010

Mushers signing up today pictured here.

Paul Gebhardt signing a fan's book.

New Zealand rookie Bob Story paying his entry fee.

Ramey & Zoya chat after winning the drawing for free race entry fees.

Melissa Owens carries the box of dog booties she won.

Kristie, a veteran, and Angie, a 2nd grade teacher and rookie, sign up.

Catching Up

June 23, 2010

I haven’t posted for a few days because I’ve been so BUSY, I haven’t had time to post. Busy with puppy walks twice a day, feeding and watering a LOT of dogs, ATV rides behind a 16 dog team (what a lot of power!), learning about what other teachers do with the Iditarod as a teaching tool, hearing from race volunteer Sonny Chambers and mushers Kathleen Frederick and DeeDee Jonrowe. Friday, we’ll hear more from DeeDee. Enjoy the pictures.

Alaska Postcards

June 18, 2010

This is a cache, pronounced "cash".

Today, I saw two bald eagles sitting together on the same tree branch as we drove from Wasilla to Alaska. That’s a picture postcard in my mind, but here are some picture postcards for you to see.


Alaska Arrival

June 18, 2010

Day One in Alaska–it’s slightly overcast, temperature feels about 50 degrees. That’s a welcome change from the 90 degree humidity at home. As you see, I’ve been to Iditarod HQ in Wasilla already.

Follow this Link

June 16, 2010

http://iditarodeducationdepartment.wordpress.com will give you great info about the Iditarod Education Department, its activities, sponsors (Thanks Target and ExxonMobil), lessons, messages, and resources for teachers and students.


June 15, 2010

I’m packing for the Iditarod Summer Conference coming up soon. It’s prettty different packing from getting ready for the race. The clothes aren’t as fluffy!! When I get there, Alaska will be receiving about 22 hours of daylight per day. The summer solstice, the day with the most hours of sunlight for areas north of the equator, is June 21. Idea—research, list, and graph the hours of daylight various locations north of the equator receive on June 21. Another idea—write A Day of Daylight, describing everything you would do on the longest day of the year.

Watch the blog for posts and photos from Alaska!

Press announcements

June 4, 2010

In The Anchorage Daily News


In The Charlotte Observer


My school’s web page


On Channel 14 news 6/9/10


In the Classroom

June 1, 2010

Today my classes made akutaq, or Eskimo ice cream. Akutaq is a Yupik word which means to mix together, and that’s what we did–we made the modern recipe of this native Alaskan food. It consists of Crisco and sugar creamed together, a little water beat into it, and blueberries. Other berries can be used. It is very sweet, like the frosting on bakery cakes, my favorite! How did this fit with English?? In several ways–students read to determine the authors purpose and to determine the meaning of new words (concoction). They reviewed the importance of citing sources, as I had found the information on the Internet. They also practiced reading a recipe and following directions,  one type of reading selection on our state End of Grade tests (NC). Another reason we did this was to provide an interview and photo opportunity for The Charlotte Observer, Neighbors North reporter and photographer. They’re working on an article about me being the 2011 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail. They tasted the akutaq, too and pronounced it interesting. Students got to practice making inferences and drawing conclusions—Where would a native Alaskan culture likely live if it uses seal oil in its akutaq? (Near the ocean where seals live) Why is akutaq a good food to carry on long hunting trips? (The high calorie content provides energy in cold conditions to keep the body warm.) Why is food important in the Inuit culture? ( Food is part of all their types of celebrations.) I didn’t get photos of today, but will post the article’s address when it appears and perhaps you’ll see some photos with it. Have a good first week of June!

Hugh Neff visit

May 18, 2010

Today musher Hugh Neff spoke to our sixth graders about running dogs. The kids found out about moose, wolf, wolverines, and porcupines, too. Questions they asked included why his kennel is named Laughing Eyes Kennel, what was the worst frostbite he’s had (his left foot), his race finishes, and dog care questions. Then, tonight I drove to Mooresville, about 45 minutes from my home, to have dinner with Hugh and other teachers who use Iditarod as a tool in the classroom. These teachers teach at elementary and middle schools in Iredell & Cabarrus Counties. We shared some ideas that we use in the classroom, and one common thread was that it is easier to teach kids when they are interested in something–and that something for us is Iditarod. I really encourage teachers to go to the For Teachers section of www.iditarod.com to find out about this year’s Iditarod summer conference for teachers beginning June 20. You can earn CEUs for the workshop, meet other teachers who know what a great tool Iditarod is, go on “field trips”, and experience Vern Halter’s kennel, named Dream a Dream Dog Farm. I’ll be there this summer, too. Or, email Diane Johnson at djohnson@iditarod.com for information. She’s the Education Dept. director. Keep mushing!

Target 2011 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail

May 12, 2010

Well, I told  you about me being chosen to serve in this position for 2011 and now it’s posted on the Iditarod website. My photo is there and my bio will be there shortly. Everyone ought to have a bucket list–the things you want to do before “kicking the bucket”–and this was a biggie on my list! It’s taken several years of hard work and persistence to get here–SUPER! In life, sooner or later, you have something you really want to do or achieve–do it, go for it, stick with it–It will be worth the effort and time. Keep in touch with the Iditarod and its usefulness in the classroom. www.iditarod.com

Iditarod in the Summer

April 12, 2010

Hi, especially to you folks who are teachers. The info is on the Iditarod web site, the For Teachers section, about the summer educators’ conference in Alaska. It starts June 20 and is a great way to start your vacation, earn renewal credit for your teaching license, and get excited about Iditarod in the classroom. I went to the 2007 conference and the experience of staying at Vern Halter’s kennel for part of the meeting is not to be missed. I’ll be there this summer, and hope to see you, too.

WOW!! Fantastic News!

April 2, 2010

I can hardly believe that I’ve been chosen to serve as the Target 2011 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail!! You know, I don’t think I posted earlier on my blog why I’ve been in Alaska recently and doing all the fun work I did there. It was the final competition among 3 finalists for this position. I am so excited to serve in this capacity, to share Iditarod with students, teachers, and the public, to return to The Last Frontier, to see the fantastic wilderness that only a few see, and get a firsthand look at the oneness of mushers and teams. My husband lovingly jokes that I am the Red Lantern of the Teachers on the Trail–the Red Lantern race award goes to the last musher to finish in recognition of perseverance–my race has taken me these past three years of applications from 5th to 4th to the top 3–indeed, a lesson in not giving up!

The next big thing for me is a June trip to Alaska for the summer teachers’ conference, 9 days of collaborating with teachers, living at Vern Halter’s kennel, and more. Return here and to www.iditarod.com  at the For Teachers section to see what Iditarod and I are doing. Many thanks to Target for its support of education and the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail position!

Iditarod 38 is history!

March 21, 2010

All are safely in off the Trail as of 3/20. Celeste Davis set the record for the Red Lantern and extinguished the Widow’s Lamp, the lamp that traditionally signifies all mushers are in and safe. The Finishers’ Banquet is today and all the awards that were won during the race will be presented, as well as the Humanitarian Award and the Golden Harness Award.

4-gone conclusion

March 17, 2010

I saw a poster held up at Lance’s finish “4”-gone conclusion. I liked the play on words and the sign’s expression of positive thinking that Lance would make it 4 wins in a row. And he did, in the second shortest race time.Iditarod Insider has great video clips and archives of the race. Subscribe to it www.iditarod.com.

First musher in, it’s coming!

March 16, 2010

Is it Lance, Hans, or Jeff??

Grandpa Phil

March 11, 2010

Grandpa Phil is a most unusual character–he volunteers at the Iditarod heading up the Pee Team, the volunteers who take urine samples from dogs at the start, restart, and throughout the race. The other finalists, Sally and Blynne, and I worked together on a piece about Grandpa and it posted on www.iditarod.com today. There are pictures and audio, too on it. Check it out.

Pictures to enjoy

March 10, 2010

Very briefly, Monday some dogs that were dropped from their teams at checkpoints arrived out back of the hotel to be checked & cared for until they were picked up by their dog handlers or taken to the correctional facility where inmates earn the privilege of caring for the dogs until they are picked up.

Restart Day

March 9, 2010

Off to Willow about 7 in the morning yesterday. Temp about 10 degrees, I think, sunny, little wind–really nice day–warm as Alaskans say. My job was to be a trail guard at the end of a snowcovered street and signal to the musher to go left (haw command to dogs) and they zipped down a little hill onto the next lake and took off for Yentna checkpoint. Last night we three finalists worked in the computer room from 10 pm -2 a.m. taking emails from Skwentna checkpoint about times in or out, number of dogs in or out. so, a lot of the Current Standings infoyou read from Skwentna was entered by us three and emailed to Anchorage Comms, etc. It was really important to enter the times and numbers of dogs accurately and to make sure it dovetailed with their info out of Yentna checkpoint. Today I visited dropped dogs who were flown back to Anchorage and the hotel by volunteer pilots. When I came inside, I bumped into Phil Morgan, the guy I rode with in the 2005 race start. He’s flying for the Iditarod Air Force right now, a group of volunteer pilots for the Iditarod. Enjoy the photos.

Herb in a sled

March 7, 2010

No, “Herb in a sled” isn’t some new recipe name. It’s Herb Brambley of PA, the Target(R) 2010 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail(tm) in Trent Herbst’s sled. Trent’s 4th graders built his race sled.