I am off to Alaska! One of my wonderful former students, Vince Babashak, nominated me for an REB Award for Teaching Excellence and I won! I am off to Anchorage, Alaska for the 2012 Iditarod Winter Conference for Educators. What an incredible opportunity – I’ve incorporated a technology-rich Iditarod unit in my curriculum for years as it lends itself easily to real-world, problem solving activities that thoroughly engage students. Students select a musher to follow in the race; since all mushers now carry GPS systems, we are able to track musher progress live during the race. Students research their mushers on the Internet and create online portfolios to showcase what they learn during the race. They blog as if they are their mushers, integrating what is really happening on the trail with their blogs. They also create a video about their musher, complete an independent project and then tie it all together in a VoiceThread. You can read more about the unit here!
Attending the Winter Iditarod Educator’s Conference will provide an opportunity to meet with other educators who integrate the Iditarod into their curriculum and to learn from STEM experts how to develop problem-based lessons that will engage my students. I’m also going to volunteer at the Ceremonial start on Saturday and at the Official Re-start on Sunday, and then travel to Talkeetna and fly out to the Rainy Pass checkpoint! I’ll be updating this blog so my students and others can follow along on this adventure of a lifetime!