Day Four: Our Challenge for You

Worms Close up

The students were very concerned about leaving the moosewag over the long weekend and wanted to make sure that they were all still alive. As we started to collect the moosewag, we found bezhig (one) poor little moose that has passed away. A student of mine insisted that we pray over him so that he goes to moose heaven. After we had a little funeral for the moose, the students wanted to take a picture and see if you could count how many moosewag are in the picture.

We also included our Ojibwe numbers!

Please leave a comment with your guess! We will release the answer next Friday, May 22nd at 11:00am!

Good luck!

1- Bezhig

2- Niizhin

3- Nisin

4- Niiwin

5- Naanan

6- Ningwadwaasi

7- Nizhwaasi

8 – Shwaasi

9 – Shaangasi

10 – Midaasi

11 – Midaasi-bezhig

12 – Midaasi-niizhin

13- Midaasi-nisin

14 – Midaasi-niiwin

15 – Midaasi-naanan

16 – Midaasi-ningwadwaasi

17 – Midaasi-niizhwaasi

18 – Midaasi-shwaasi

19 – Midaasi-shaangasi

20 – Niizhitana


Day Three: Things are Changing


Things are changing in our tub. The miinikaan (seeds) that we planted last week are starting to grow! We are hoping to have some nice vegetables to bring home by the end of June.

We checked on our moosewag and wrote some new observations and additional questions. Students used our anchor chart of “Spring Words” and came up with simple sentences about their worms. Some of them needed help with some of the translations but they are getting better.

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Keira: Niin naagadawaabam – I observed

1. Gitigaazh ayaan maajiigin

Plants are starting to grow.

2. Moosewag abiitan aki.

Worms live in soil.

3. Niin waabam asin

I see a rock.

4. Niin waabam miinikaan.

I see a seed.

5. Moosewag ayaan ginwaa.

Worms are long.

6. Niin waabam oshkiinzhig moose.

I see his eye.

7.  Niin waabam agiji-gidagaa miskwaa moose.

I see a red spot on the worm.


Do the moosewag have biibii?

Reece: Niin naagadawaabam – I observed

1. Niin waabam asin

I see a rock.

2. Niin waabam miinikaan.

I see a seed.

3. Niin waabam moosewag.

I see worms.

Tara: Niin naagadawaabam – I observed

1. Moosewag abiitan aki.

Worms live in soil.

2. Moosewag ayaan wiiyaw ginwaa

Worms have long bodies.

3. Moosewag manezi nibi.

Worms need water.

Day Two: Expanding our thinking!


I had a large group of students today, almost a full class. All the educators reading this will know how rare it is to have a full class. I wasn’t going to do two days of worms in a row, but since so many were absent yesterday and word traveled fast, I wanted to encourage the enthusiasm and expand their thinking!

The students came up with questions that they want to find answers to while we study worms.

1) Do moosewag (worm) need aki (soil) to survive? (Like a giigoonh (fish) in nibi (water)

2) What do moosewag wiisin? (eat)

3) How fast do they grow?

4) Do they need nibi to live?

5) Where do they poop?

6) Will they help our plants grow?

Meet my 1/2 students! (Some of them you met yesterday)

Tanner: This was Tanner’s first day with the worms but he had heard about them from his friends. While at recess we collected some miigiwewin (Ojibwe for gifts) and was very excited to give them to his new wiijiwaaganag (friends). He found some really neat asin (stone/rocks) that were a great addition to the habitat.

The word friend in Ojibwe is a tough one because there are different words for a male friend and female friend.

A male friend is called a niijii while a female friend is called a niijikwe.

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Anthony: Anthony is the newest student to our class. I sometimes wonder if he thinks we are all a little crazy, but he is starting to find his voice and loved the moosewag.

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Mackenzie: Mackenzie is the twin sister of Mackayla. She has such an amazing personality and it always eager to learn more Ojibwe words and explore her Native Culture. She made a friend to keep the moosewag company while we aren’t at school.

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Reece and Mackayla: These students were so excited to see the moosewag today! They were also helping each other and sharing their knowledge from yesterday with others. They said next time they want to try and race the moosewag.

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Everyone is definitely looking forward to learning more and being able to share their knowledge with others. They are also very conscience of the environment and taking care of nature and living things.

In the Ojibwe language some words are described as animate or inanimate. Something that is animate is described as something that is alive, has a heartbeat or can move on it’s own. The opposite is inanimate things that are not alive, have no heartbeat and cannot move on their own. For example: a moose (worm) is considered animate but asin (stone/rock) is inanimate.

Ojibwe vocabulary today:

asin – rock/stone

moose – worm

moosewag – more than one worm

miigiwewin – a gift

wiijiwaaganag – friends

aki – soil/earth

nibi – water

wiisin – eat

giigoonh – fish

Day One: Finding our friends


Students were very enthusiastic and excited about the worms.

We took some pictures, played with the worms (moose is worm in Ojibwe, pronounced mo-say), fed the worms some of our vegetable scraps for composting purposes and planted a few bean and pea seeds.

Now for the students:

Keira’s Observations: The worms were hard to find and slimey.


Reece’s Observations: Look Miss, the worms are learning on technology too. (He is credited for the picture of worms on my laptop keyboard)

Worms on LaptopReece Worms 1

Mackayla’s Observations: Look at the different sizes. This one must be very old.


Tara’s Observations: Look Miss, they are friends. I want to keep this one and bring him home to show my family.


Some of the words we learned today were:

moose – a worm

moosewag – more than one worm

aki – dirt/soil/earth

Pronunciation Key for Ojibwe Words

We Use:
Ojibwe pronunciation:
a Like the a in what.
aa Like the a in father.
e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gaze.
i Like the i in pit.
ii Like the ee in seed.
o Like the u in put. Sometimes it sounds more like the o in note.
oo Like the o in lone. Sometimes it sounds more like the u in tune.

About Our Project

Welcome to Northern Nightcrawlers!

First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to come to the blog page and helping to make this experience more meaningful for my students.

As I was driving home on April 3rd, 2015  there was a special radio program on CBC called “The Dirt on Soil”.

It was presented in two parts and I have to admit, I drove home a little slower just so that I could listen to the whole thing. There was so much information and the thing that really stood out for me what this project that students were doing with composting and how much they were learning. That’s when it hit me! I could do something similar with my students but we could incorporate the Ojibwe words that we have been learning while integrating other curriculum expectations from science and social studies.

2015 was declared the Year of Soil by the United Nations. Soil is considered to be endangered due to many factors. Through the final eights weeks of school we are going to be learning about composting, what the worms need to thrive and survive and planting some vegetables to share with our community. (All while using some of our Ojibwe vocabulary and sharing our knowledge with the world)

Over the next few weeks I will have the students add to the blog and hopefully post some pictures and videos of our progress. Any feedback and comments would be very much appreciated!

I have included a few links below if anyone is interested in learning more as well!

CBC Dirt on Soil Part 1:

CBC Dirt on Soil Part 2:

Year of Soil Site:

Looking forward to starting this project with my students and seeing that spark ignite in their eyes!