Not yet my time….

28 Sep

This year, I will not be applying to be the Teacher on the Trail.. With so many new to me things: Readers Workshop, Georgia math as well as a newly adopted sled dog to our family I am HOPING that I can do what I need to do at school 🙂  OF COURSE, I will continue to use Iditarod, sled dogs, dog sledding etc. as much as possible.  Maybe next year…..


Fundraising Continues!

16 Jan

Even though I did not make the Final 3, I will be attending the Iditarod Summer Camp for Educators this summer.  I need to pay for the camp, airline tickets, lodging, and food.  ALSO, I will be applying to be the Iditatrod 2015 Teacher on the Trail so funding is still necessary.

ALL monies donated will go SOLELY for the summer camp expenses and HOPEFULLY the expenses to attend the Winter Conference in February 2014!!

There are a couple of web sites that I have set up accounts with in order to accept donations online.

Both sites charge a fee.  If you would like me to get 100% of your donation, you can mail me a check or money order.   My address is 2670 Russell Road, Muskegon, MI 49445.  I have set up an account at my credit union that is solely used for donations.

The Verdict Is In….

16 Jan

What a memorable day at school Tuesday!  When I entered my classroom, I instantly looked to see if the voice mail lights were light, they were not.  I went to get my students for the start of the day, telling them that I had not heard anything yet.  We went on with our day, as students and teachers do, wondering if the phone would ring…. Wondering if we would get, “The Call.”

Every time the phone rang, (someone called 6 times this day), all 28 of my students froze in their tracks, wondering if it was “The Call.”  6 times, it was not “The Call,” 6 times we froze, breathless as the classroom phone operator answered the phone…  I and my students will never forget this day, ever.  However, I never got “The Call,” but all is well, I am OK and will continue to use All That Is Iditarod to the fullest with my students.

When I told my 7 year old son Konnor that I did not get, “The Call,” he said, “Well, at least you get to go this summer!”  I love him and his outlook on things!!  Life is all about perspective; he helped me remember that this day!!!  All of the time, energy, ink, postage, lessons, etc. were made “worth it all” when he shared his thoughts.  We talked about all of the things that we never would have experienced if Janet Walker had not asked me one day, “Hey, I am thinking about doing something with the Iditarod.  Want to join me?”

I did not make the Final 3, YET!  My quest to become the Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail™ has come to a conclusion.  HOWEVER, my quest to become the Iditarod 2015 Teacher on the Trail™ has just begun!!!  I now have 11 months to refine my lessons, my application, and my desire to become the Iditarod 2015 Teacher on the Trail™!!  Look out selection committee; you have yet to see my best!!!


Let the Fundraising Begin!!!

10 Jan

Long time in the waiting for the post even though I had HOPED that I could embed a link/button/widget here to link to my Fundrazr account but have not been successful!

Short version I hope,,,,, I find out Tuesday January 15th if I am one of the Final 3 teachers chosen for the Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail(tm).  IF I am chosen, I will need to be in Alaska at the end of next month.  Getting there, lodging, and meals are all on me to pay for.  I set up an account at Fundrazr in order to allow people like you to help me take the next step as I cannot do it alone.

SO, I will share a link that will take you to my donation page until I figure things out.  If you are able to help, thank you very much!!  If not, perhaps you can in the future, I know that times are hard for many and respect that.

Another way to donate

New Years Thoughts……

29 Dec

As a new year approaches, what things do you intend to do differently than the years before?  The following thoughts are what I WILL be doing in regards to the Iditarod, sled dogs, lessons in my class, etc.

I will be personally involved in REAL LIFE dog sledding events!!  For me, that means helping out in any way that I can for those training/racing events with the MiDD (Michigan Dog Drivers Association in Baldwin, Michigan.  I will take part in those events with my 7 year old son who LOVES sled dogs and sled dog racing!  I will involve more of the 600+ students at my school in sled dog racing, mushing, sled dogs, sled dog kennels, sled dog stories, and “All That Is Iditarod,” as I see it!!  I WILL share my experiences and passion regarding sled dog racing as much as I can, as much as the students will let me.

One thing that I will continue to do is use the Iditarod as a basis for as many lessons as I can with my 5th grade students at Cardinal Elementary in Muskegon, Michigan!  I will continue to hope, with all that I have, that I will be chosen as 1 of the Final 3 teachers chosen as the Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail™.  Of course, I will continue to hope that I am chosen as THE Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail™ but that is not up to me at this point.  IF I am chosen as one of the Final 3, I will make the most of the opportunity when I arrive in Alaska February, 2013!!  I am confident that I am able to “deal” with whatever situation the Iditarod Education Committee deals me!!

Due to the social media explosion over the past few years, more people are aware of the Iditarod 2014™ Teacher on the Trail process and the Iditarod in general.  I have submitted my application, but I still feel the need to share my experiences with as many people “out there” as possible.  It is great to share my thoughts, ideas, lessons, and experiences with teachers that are tuned in to the Iditarod but I am working on sharing “All That Is Iditarod” with more people than just teachers who have been working with the Iditarod.

My hope, as you read my blog posts, is that you learn as much as you can about the Iditarod, sled dogs, mushing, etc.  If nothing else, I hope that you learn: sled dog racing is NOT a cruel life for the dogs, that sled dogs LOVE and are born to run and pull sleds, that MOST sled dog kennels are not inhumane, and that there is so much that students can and DO learn from having “All That Is Iditarod” a big part of their learning process!!

I share the following because I want and need to share “All That Is Iditarod” with my students and readers….  No, I do not like to spend time sharing these negative thoughts but I feel that it is necessary…..  If you want to TRULY experience a sled dogs life, find a kennel in your area!!!

OF COURSE, there are kennel owners out there that do not treat their dogs humanely.  HOWEVER, from my personal experience, there are far more “good” kennel owners out there than there are bad ones!!  I choose to focus on interacting with those that do the right thing, those that treat their dogs as one of their own….those that consider their dogs one of the family….  A person can always look for the bad in the world; I choose to seek out the great ones!!!

The Next Step…..

23 Dec

11 days until I find out, or not, if I have made the cut!   Until I figure out how to post the countdown timer, all I can share is a link…..

Just in…..

I have a 1 in 7 chance of being chosen as the Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail™!!  That means a 14% chance to become THE Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail™.   I like the odds and await to see how it will all work out!!  Odds of being chosen as ONE of the 3 Finalists, 42% ..PRICELESS!!  However it all works out, I am in the running to have the amazing opportunity to experience the Iditarod firsthand. Chances of being chosen as THE finalist, after being chosen as 1 of 3, there is a 33% chance that I will be chosen as THE Iditarod 2014 Teacher on the Trail(tm)!!!  Holy my lanta!!! 🙂  I will be crossing my fingers, toes, arms, ears, eyes, and anything else that I can cross over the next few weeks as possible in order to improve my chances!!  Please do the same, I am counting on you!!! 🙂

Why are there only 7 applicants?  Please consider the experience needed to apply as well as the desire to be chosen……  A teacher must use the Iditarod in their lesson plans throughout the year, be willing to assemble the lessons in order to share them with whomever wants to view them, spend the time gathering all of their materials, shoot a 4-5 minute video, AND be willing and able to leave their classroom for a month+ in order to be out on the Iditarod Trail!!  All of that AND be willing to be out of their classroom for over a month doing whatever is asked of them out there!!  Just being out of the classroom for a month requires a lot of the teacher, plus the “work” that they must do while out there!!  On that trail, temperatures may reach -50 degrees PLUS wind chill.  The Teacher on the Trail™ is willing to do whatever is necessary in order to accomplish their goals.  The ultimate goal of the Teacher on the Trail™ is to take their experiences on the trail back to their students as well as the rest of students in their building, district, and community.  I feel that there isn’t a teacher that is applying for the Teacher on the Trail™ that isn’t willing to go through whatever is necessary in order to provide an amazingl educational experience for their students!

Regardless of the outcome, I am truly happy to be part of the whole experience.  I use the Iditarod as a base for many of my lessons and will continue to do so whether or not I am chosen as the Iditaord 2014 teacher on the Trail™!

WISH ME LUCK!!  Will keep you posted as I learn more!!!

My FIRST Real Dog Sledding Adventure

11 Dec

Konnor and I attended our FIRST MiDD (Michigan Dog Drivers) event December 7-9, 2012.  The event was held at the Last Chance Retreat and Trails as well as in the public trails of the Manistique National Forest in Baldwin, Michigan.

100_0748 100_0747 P1010442

Friday night, Konnor and I had the pleasure of staying at the Lange Lodge thanks to the kindness of Linda and Rick Lange.  One of the best parts about staying at the lodge is that the teams and drivers spent their time off of the trails there so I had a lot of chances to listen and ask questions.  I learned so much, I can’t begin to share it all here!!

Here are some very short versions of some of the memorable events: We awoke Saturday to snow on the ground!!  Donna took Konnor with her team on a night run Saturday.  He was told to look for “animal eyes” as the light might hit the eyes of animals on the trail and be reflective.  No animal eyes seen and everyone made it back to the lodge unharmed!

Linda took Konnor on the trail in the snow Sunday!  Her rig is not made for passengers but she made it work.  After the run, I asked Konnor if he fell off or anything, seeing as there were not bars to hold on to. He told me, “No but when we went around corners I really had to hold on!”  Linda added, “At one point I had to hit the brakes due to a dog doing its duty on the run.  When I did, I heard AHHH and felt a thud as Konnor slammed in to my back.”  Fun was had by all!!

I was amazed at the power of the team as they headed out!!!

Konnor trying out Linda’s rig before heading out on the trail.

True athletes!!!

Sunday Mary Beth “FORCED” me to drive her rig with her on the rig and THEN all by myself!!  Honestly, when Mary Beth told me that I was going to drive with her in front I thought, “This is why I came here, to drive a rig behind a real sled dog team!!”  When she later got off the rig and told me, “When you get to the trail where it splits, hit the brakes and wait for me……..  Whatever happens, DO NOT GET OFF THE RIG!”  I was a bit scared!  Seriously, I had wished and thought about doing such a thing but when it was rapidly becoming a reality, I wasn’t sure that I was ready.  She told me that she would be running along with the team for HER training portion of the event.  Ready or not, off we went with Mary Beth close by.  That is until Mike and Nela went past us and “my” team did not like being in the back of that dog.  I quickly looked back, no Mary Beth in sight!  I knew that she was there somewhere but didn’t think much more about her until the split in the trail!!  Sorry Mary Beth, it was all about the team, them and me not killing us!!

One thing that I regret is not getting pictures of Konnor and I on the trail but there was NO WAY that I was going to try to take pictures while on the rig, I honestly never gave the camera a thought!!  Maybe I can think to do so the next time we head to Baldwin to attend a MiDD event!  So, I have tried to include some beautiful pictures of the amazing people that we met and the true athletes that we interacted with!!

Man, dog, and bike….Who knew?

Konnor just trying to take a break 🙂

Dogs will be dogs no matter where they are!

Dew Claw Blog: a life lived with dogs

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Kurt's Quest

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