Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alaska, sled dogs and a challenge to engage the kids in your classes

Over the last two blog posts, Fishing in Alaska Part 1 and Part 2, I have shared some of my family trip to Alaska. I can honestly say that it was the most amazing trip I have ever taken.

Nothing like it!

Part of my reason for sharing this adventure was to also ask how trips like these could help us make our classes come alive.

After all, so many of our kids have barely ventured beyond the community they live or throughout their own state.


How could we use an adventure with a few stories and pictures to start an investigation, create a story, explain the worlds around us, take a closer look at an event, explain natural phenomenon, and so much more.

Let’s start with another part of my trip to Alaska. We not only fished but we also flew in a helicopter to the top of a glacier and visited a sled dog camp.

We were taught how the dogs were trained, interacted with the dogs and drivers, and even played with a few pups. The highlight of the event was to be pulled across the top of the glacier by the team. By the way, all of these dogs were training for the next Iditarod. Want to know more here is another link.

In order to get to the dogs we had to fly by helicopter to the top of the glacier. To get an idea of what you are looking out in my pictures...see the deep blue, white and dark of the glacier? Well some of those crevices are at the very least 80 feet deep.

In an earlier post, I talked about how I felt that I was travelling to where all the dinosaurs were still alive. Well, this trip reminded me of one of my favorite Walt Disney movies from the early 70s - The Island at the Top of the World. The mist, the rocks, and ice and dogs and sleds. Out of the mist there was snow! It was cold! The dogs wanted you to play with them and rub their bellies. It was a perfect setting for the travelers who set off on a new adventure and find...dinosaurs? ….a mysterious city with people who are from a different time? My mind was and is all over the place.

Look at these pictures. A new adventure. Do you hear the Indiana Jones theme playing in the background?

What could we talk about?

What activities could we create that would engage the kids about the world around them?
Maybe we could get them to use a mind mapping app or mini-white boards to  outline a story of a trip they have taken. Maybe we could get the kids to create a what happened next or examine the history behind different forms of transportation journey.

What do you think?
I challenge you to pursue ways of engaging the kids around adventures like my trip to Alaska or your trip to the Florida Keys or maybe an overnight journey on the trails at Red Top Mountain.

So...what are you thinking about doing?