History of Quilt 2

“The 2006 Iditarod Summer Conference quilt had its beginning on June 19, 2006, on a partly sunny day in Wasilla, Alaska. Diane Johnson, Iditarod Education Coordinator, gave each conference participant a large, square handkerchief and asked he/she to design a square by the end of the week. The square was to reflect the week in some manner: character education, the race, the dogs, the mushers, Alaska, the conference, or the people attending the conference.

Well, some of us had a difficult time coming up with an idea, a design, or just getting it finished by week’s end. During this time, I volunteered to put the quilt together. As it turned out, quilt squares were still being sent to me at the beginning of August. By the end of that month, the quilt was finished, and it began its debut.”  by Carol Helmke, conference attendee and quilt’s creator.

To read additional information and the 2006 – 2007 journal of Quilt 1 and Quilt 2, click here. (PDF DOC)

To read the 2007 – 2008 journal of Quilt 1 and Quilt 2, click here. (PDF DOC)


Two Quilt’s Journey— North Carolina to Colorado…. To Illinois

ms-hoke.jpg Quilt 2 began the journey and the school year in Asheville, North Carolina at the Carolina Day School with Target® 2009 Iditarod Teacher on the TrailTM Cathy Walters. Two Quilt was introduced to the students and staff of the school. Read more at Cathy Walter’s messages. Click here.

Quilt then left Asheville by priority mail– headed for Friend’s School in Boulder, Colorado.

Hello from Boulder, Colorado!

After the 2008 Iditarod, my Kindergarten students were so engaged and excited about the dogs, the mushers and the race that we decided to extend our learning beyond the race. After reading the book Flat Stanley, the story of a boy who becomes flat after an accident with a bulletin board, each child made their own version of a flat musher to send on a summer trip through the mail.

In August when we returned to school we were greeted by a gaggle of flat mushers from all over the world. Each child took a turn showing where his/her ‘musher’ had traveled and shared photos and stories from the ‘musher’s’ adventure. We received ‘mushers’ from the exotic locales of Egypt, Japan, Wisconsin and Hawaii.


In October, to add to our Iditarod excitement, we received the Iditarod quilt in the mail from Iditarod Teacher on the Trail Cathy Walters! When the package arrived my students begged for me to open it immediately.

The following day we discussed the making of a quilt and the history of the Iditarod Quilt. Using the quilt as a springboard, we dove into quilt math, patterns and geometry. Students set to work using patterns of rectangles, squares and triangles to create their own quilt squares. Later in the year (during the Iditarod) we will also make our own Iditarod quilt.

lauriequiltposterl.jpg After our individual time with the quilt, I took the quilt out on a ’school tour’. While the Iditarod is still several months away, showing off the quilt was a prime opportunity to infuse the older students with the Iditarod spirit. For the rest of the month the quilt was hung in our Great Room for parents and students to admire before it travels to its next destination— Illinois!

Laurie and Students

11/17/2008 Iditarod Website Article


Two Quilt: January in the Cornhusker State

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Iditarod Quilt Visits the Cornhusker State

By Judi Roach

The 2006 Iditarod Quilt made its appearance at Central Elementary just as students were finishing up “Iditaround Nebraska”.  Students earned miles on the trail for reading, tracking their nutrition and fitness, completing checkpoint reading and writing activities, and for documenting their usage of the Habits of Mind thinking strategies taught by their teacher Mrs. Roach.  All students completed the race of 1,037 miles.  This race is over 1,000 miles, just like the Iditarod and the additional 37 miles signify that Nebraska was the 37th state to join the United States in 1867.  The quilts arrival provided an opportunity for Mrs. Roach to involve her reading class in a fun Iditarod based reading activity.

Mrs. Roach’s Reading Class took on the job of creating questions for a quit scavenger hunt.   Each quilt square was numbered with sticky notes.  The students worked hard to develop questions that would require the rest of the fourth grade students to think critically and read carefully.  Each student created two questions.  This was not an easy task!  Phrasing the questions so that they were not too easy, but challenging enough to make the students think took some practice.  The remaining students at Central worked with a partner to find the answers to the scavenger hunt.  They “read” the quilt to find the answers.  This was a challenge; no group got all of the answers correct!  Those were tough questions!

The students enjoyed reading the inspirational messages on the quilt and seeing the names and autographs of famous people associated with the Iditarod.  They recognized author Pam Flowers name as we have some of her books in our school library.  They were very excited to see Jeff King and Lance Mackey’s signatures on one of the quilts square.  The original artwork helped them see how creative and talented teacher’s can be.  Thanks teachers of the 2006 Iditarod Teachers Conference for creating this quilt and making it available to students around the country.  It was enjoyed by the students and staff at Central Elementary in Sidney, Nebraska.


Quilt 2 in Florida

                               As the quilt arrived at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Rockledge, Florida, the 7thgrade students of Ms. Luchs’ Language Arts class were just getting underway studying up on the Iditarod, reading a news article on Rachel Scodris, and a short story on the Iditarod Trail (about the serum run).

The quilt hung in the classroom a few days for teachers and students to view.  The art teacher, Ms. Rogers found it thrilling, and took a square to work on this summer.  My 8th grade students who studied the Iditarod with me the year before were jealous the 7th graders had this opportunity, but they all took in the messages expressed on the quilt.  Keep a look out for the name Austin.  Last year Austin really got into learning about the Iditarod, and being the outdoors person that he is – rightfully said to me – “one day I’m going to do this.”  And to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t put it pass him.

The 7th grade students gathered around the quilt read the squares and analyzed the message and purpose each one expressed.  They each shared their favorites with their classmates and described why.  Many of my students are members of the AVID program and truly enjoyed the diversity the quilt and the Iditarod brought to their lives.  They tracked the mushers on the GPS, and kept tabs of the race as Insiders.  One of my three 7th grade classes just happened to be in class when Lance Mackey finished, and got to see it live on the web.  However, they truly enjoyed seeing the Iditarod on Versus, and couldn’t get over the conditions the mushers were racing in.  My students finished their Iditarod Unit with none other than Jack London’s Call of the Wild.

                               The Quilt traveled 30 minutes to Merritt Island, Florida to visit Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School of the Arts.  While the quilt was visiting Kennedy, my son happened to mention they were finishing a story about a sled dog and studying Alaska.  How perfect.   So it was arranged to have the quilt visit his class.  But instead, it was shared with the entire 2nd grade.   The students and teachers were excited, and had plenty of questions.  The teachers are definitely interested to make the Iditarod part of their curriculum.

The reading coach at Kennedy mentioned to Ms. Bonnie Edwards of Tropical Elementary school that I was covering the Iditarod.  And one of the quilt squares just happened to belong to Bonnie.  So after a quick visit at Stevenson Elementary, the quilt traveled fifteen minutes south in Merritt Island and joined Ms. Edwards and her fifth grade class.

Everyone enjoyed the rounds the quilt made here on the SpaceCoast of Florida.


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