Ojibwe ABC Books

Students will learn about the Ojibwe language and create a book demonstrating their knowledge on letters, words, and animals.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


The students were interested in listening to the language on both Lyz Jaakola's music cd's and in the story The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich. We discussed how the Ojibwe language is different from our English language. We talked about the different letters in the Ojibwe alphabet, and the differences of an oral language rather than a written language. Use blank hardback books for creating the ABC books. The students were very excited to see the blank books and anxious to get started in making their ABC books.


We were careful to hand out the books so that the front cover was facing the children. We wrote our title and names on the front. Each day, we introduced a new letter and two new words from the Ojibwe language. We had selected words (nouns) which the children could easily illustrate in their books. The children chose one of the words to write and illustrate in their books. Various ABC books were used as examples to show the children how the book pages might look. We included many animal names as our word choices.


Every day we introduced a new letter and two new Ojibwe words. The students chose a word and wrote it into their book. They then drew an illustration and colored it with colored pencils. Our words were also posted on a "Word Wall" so that they could be referred to at a later date.We followed up this project with an animal report. Students chose a favorite animal from their ABC book and researched more about that animal. We used a planning sheet as a way to guide students through the questions and answers a research reports asks and attempts to answer. See the attached planning sheet for a model.


We frequently reviewed the words on our Ojibwe Word Wall. The students shared their books with the class. We listened for our words in the songs on the Lyz Jaakola music cd. Our culminating event was having Lyz Jaakola come to our classrooms and sing songs containing our words to practice our new Ojibwe language.We read our reports to the class and then extended this activity one step further. We created 3 dimensional versions of our animals out of Crayola's 'model magic' to accompany our report and ABC books. We displayed all these items for the school and community to see.


Students will be evaluated through performance assessment. Each student is expected to have a completed Ojibwe book by the end of the unit. Their books should contain 17 illustrated pages.

Vocabulary Words


The students enjoyed the project very much. All students successfully completed their books. They have been heard incorporating Ojibwe words into their descriptions when conversing. They also point out familiar words when hearing them in stories.

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards

Language Arts

Social Studies