Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Twenty-three seconds and a visit with Artist, Jon Van Zyle

How to bootie a dog, um...chair

Jon Van Zyle, Artist

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Three Teacher on the Trail finalists for Iditarod 2018 unrolled their presentations today for the Iditarod Teacher Conference which I’m attending for two days.  I’m glad it’s not up to me who decides the winner, as all three clearly create engaging ways of incorporating the “Last Great Race” into multiple content areas.  Each one included a section with cooperative group learning. My absolute favorite activity involving math integration was developing my ability to bootie a “dog” with little socks so his paws didn’t become embedded with ice. Picture a room full of educators on their knees pulling baby socks onto chair legs as fast as they could.  I bootied four chair legs in 23 seconds on my second try, improving my time by seven seconds! Sadly, my time was in the middle of the pack – turns out I’ll need to log more practice time if I want to be competitive in this crowd.  With training, this might well turn out to be my event for our family Olympics in the summer. 

In the afternoon, we headed to Jon Van Zyle’s art studio and home for a talk, dinner and tour of his art studio.  Collected by art connoisseurs around the world, this self-taught artist and renown book illustrator uses Alaskan wildlife as well as the Iditarod and sled dog racing as rich inspiration for luminous paintings. Although he spoke about his art, Van Zyle also conversed about his mushing career in the 70’s and the vast changes he’s seen in racing over the past 40 years.  Van Zyle pointed to the introduction of hay and cookers as having impacted winning racing times by lowering them from weeks to days.  

I love this man’s work!

Jon Van Zyle and Me


  1. You have to teach me how to bootie my chair AFAP. Then we can practice between our caffeine crawls.
    Wonderful that you can see these things and meet some talented, interesting people. Sounds like the best possible Alaska trip anyone could hope for.
    -Mama Kres

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