Weird things go on in the first grade. It’s no wonder that all the little monkeys look so exhausted after a six-hour day.

jesebo on flickr
jesebo on flickr

Sparky takes her parent-teacher courier job very seriously. She watches me paw through a ridiculous number of papers, forms, flyers, friendly reminders and threats from the school every afternoon.

They say you have to bake something for the PTA, she tells me. I nod solemnly as I decide how to explain to her that we don’t have to do everything on the school calendar.

You have to swim with the PTA, she says. I decide to save the speech about how the PTA just wants money I don’t have. I’ll give her that one next year.

Anyway, the worm was a total surprise. It came with no written instructions, and no warning whatsoever. She just toted it home last week For Science. She insisted that we were supposed to keep the worm and leave it completely alone for a week. I had my doubts, but she was very certain that the worm was supposed to be undisturbed and unfed.

It was in a clear cup, with a black paper covering and just a few holes punched in the black top. We put the worm on a high shelf in the kitchen, where it would be safe.

A couple of days later she was begging to peek at the worm. I talked her out of it and reminded her that Wednesday would be worm day.

Saturday, I knocked the worm over and didn’t tell anybody. It occurred to me that the container sounded awfully dry, but I was feeling pretty guilty about it, so I tried to forget about the worm as quickly as possible.

Monday, Sparky came out of class upset. She had been unable to think of a suitable name for her worm. All of my suggestions for names were brushed away, so I went back to forgetting about the worm.

Wednesday was a busy day, so we all forgot to check the worm.

Somehow, she muddled through writing her Worm Story the following day. After all the hoopla at school, checking the worm that day became a priority.

We expended a lot of effort removing the paper very gently to find…nothing. Well, I thought I saw something, but I didn’t want to interfere with her scientific assessment of the situation.

She was expecting to see tunnels and so on, but to my untrained eye all that appeared was a cup full of sand and dirt with half a dead worm on top. Finally, I pointed this out to her.

“That’s not my worm,” she said.

“How can you tell?” I asked.

“My worm was lots fatter.”

“Were we supposed to put water in the cup?”

“Oh. Yeah. I think so…”

“Are you going to tell the teacher that your worm died?”


Earthworm class work has started to dribble home. Here are the worksheets with real responses (and some anticipated responses):

How did you make your worm a “home”?

We made layers of sand and soil

After two weeks, what does the home you made look like? Record your observations. What do you think happened?

The home looks the same. The worm is dead. I think it died.

Can you find the worm’s mouth?


Does it have eyes?


How does it move?


Does it have legs?


How does it feel?

Selme [translation: “slimy”]

Look at a neighbors worm. Are they different? How?

Yes. My worm is dead.

Draw a picture of your worm:


We’re planning a worm hunt for tomorrow. I don’t think we can kill them all.

2 Replies to “Wormed (another throw-back story)”

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