Thursday, January 24, 2008

what in the world...

have I gotten myself into?

Am I the only one who thinks that with homeschool projects some of the time? A couple of families from our homeschool group signed up to participate in the eIditarod. I totally forgot to sign up during the registration period and then decided that I desperately wanted to do this last week. So I sent a pleading email to the administrator of the program and found out today that we got in (didn't realize that the confirmation had gone to an email address that I NEVER check). I was so excited! I got the kids all riled up and told them that TODAY (yes... today) we were going to do our wall map so we would be caught up with the schedule and prove that we are worthy participants even if I did sign up late... lol!

So... they kids are beyond excited (they love the Balto story) and are ready to get started. Well... this is where I realized that I had no easy way to make the wall map. I have no overhead projector, no copier to enlarge the map on the site.... and quite frankly... no talent to freehand draw it (not to mention not having the patience for it). Ack! But I had all ready riled up the kids so I had no choice but to go forward. I didn't like it, but I did it. I think there's something wrong with my wiring where I have to completely panic about something before I get the clarity and focus to get through it. Alex and I started by dividing our map and our sheet of poster paper into grids (look at that... measuring and skip counting by fours since we did 4" After that, I did better with the drawing when I only had to focus on one little square at a time.

The kids were still making me batty because they wanted to be doing something... so I printed some pages off of the Alaska website and set them to work making a poster about the state...
(that's Clara being a little overly dramatic about taking the lid off of the glue)
Alex taping up the finished poster....
Not a terribly exciting poster... but hopefully they learned something and I managed to stay sane while drawing the map below...
(please don't look at this map too closely... I did the best I could.... LOL!)

Clara did all of the tracing... the rivers, the border and the race route. Alex did the colorful title (after I had mentioned that this previous poster was a little I wanted to have the kids label the checkpoints, but honestly... I needed the thing done and out of the floor. It was only a matter of time before the dog walked across it or Clara spilled something on it. So, I labeled the checkpoints but Alex read them off for me and spelled them for me when I needed him to.

Our next big project is to research the mushers so we can decide who we'll follow this year. We will also probably start the Hands of a Child Sled Dog lapbook we got from Homeschoolestore a few weeks ago. Although this one, Iditarod, is intriguing me too. Perhaps we'll just do the sled dog one this year and we'll save the Iditarod one for next year if we do this again.

I need to get some books to read too... we have Balto, but I need to see what else is out there that would be fun to read. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!


Tracy said...

Okay, I feel sorta responsible for setting you up on this. Nice maps, by the way :-) I should probably spend less time reading your blog and more time prepping my own kids for this thing.

Anyhoo, here are a couple of incredibly touching stories of other dogs, both by Robert J. Blake:

Togo--While it was Balto that became famous for the serum run, it was actually this dog, Togo, that lead his team over 350 miles through incredible hardship. Great "unsung hero" story.

Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod-- The story of a dog that was dropped from her Iditarod sled team due to injury, escaped from the evacuation plane, and set off to find her team and win the race.


GAMusher said...

'Dogteam' by Gary Paulsen is a great book about an Iditarod training run. Gary Paulsen has written a lot of great Iditarod and sled dog books. 'Woodsong' is also good but that one might be a little advanced.

There are also several good videos out there. The PBS specials 'Season of the Sled Dog' and 'Sled Dogs: An Alaskan Epic' are great documentaries!

Alice White

Dog & Sled

Wolf Moon Dogsledding

Robin Forman said...

Hi Tracie... random commenter here, but I check your other blog (I am a scrapper) and your itidarod unit had me intrigued (I did a unit on it with my students when I was teaching.) I have another suggestion for a book... Stone Fox (I forget the author.) The level might be a little more appropriate for your age group. I used Woodsong with my 6th grade students, and some of the subject matter was a little much even for them. Hope that helps- such a fun subject, and there are sooo many ways you can go with it!