Through the rumble of steps and lockers that echo through the hallways at Goodrich Middle School, the sound of multiple languages and voices trickle through the crowd. With students speaking 16 languages, the words flow from person to person in a dialogue that is sometimes difficult to interpret literally. However, the expressions of students laughing and greeting one another on their way to class need no interpretation.
Despite their differences in background or language, the students at Goodrich are all united by sharing a common community and home. In the eighth grade English classrooms, teachers asked students to volunteer their linguistic skills in an activity that not only challenged them academically but also allowed them to find common ground in their shared experiences living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Mirroring a writing style that will follow them into high school, students rallied behind a common theme to support the claim that Lincoln is a good place to live, that our community is one that offers a good education, a safe environment, and an atmosphere that is beautiful and relaxing (among others). Students then worked together to research facts and statistics that would support their reasoning. Finally, students explained how their research supported their reasons.
One excerpt goes as follows, “This is a city full of diverse cultures. The Lincoln Journal Star quoted Mayor Beutler as saying ‘Our city can take great pride in its longtime reputation as a place where everyone can feel welcome and enjoy a high quality of life.’ Welcoming other culture keeps Lincoln diverse. Diversity is important because it gives people a chance to experience different cultures and lifestyles.”
With their combined efforts, students created books and projects to showcase their claims and all of the work they put into supporting their arguments. Using resources generously donated by the Nebraska Alumni Association, the Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Nebraska Tourism Commission, students found photos and maps to add more life to their projects.
In a final step, some students volunteered to transform these projects into something that really brings to light the amazing complexity and depth that the Lincoln community has to offer. Working together, multilingual students translated the messages of this project into Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Pashto, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Published: January 12, 2017, Updated: January 12, 2017