Many Voices, One School:

Using QR codes to give ELs a voice

Janet Gonzalez, Pittman Elementary, Springfield, MO

Many Voices, One School:

Introduction

Many of our students come to us from various countries, backgrounds, and cultural experiences. While some families bring educational experiences from their home countries before relocating to the United States, others, particularly our newcomers, may not have a strong literacy background or history of formal education. This project was designed to offer our students the chance to access books from our school library. They can take these books home to their families, where, by scanning a QR code, they can enjoy listening to someone reading the book in their home language. Every book includes translations in both English and the languages spoken in our students' homes. Through this project, we seek to not only celebrate our students' diverse cultures but also to support the rich linguistic diversity present within our school.  Upon observation, schools in our district have many multilingual materials while others seem to lack such resources. My vision for this project was to add books to our school library for our multilingual students and families. This project allows for families to actively participate in their child's reading journey and create an opportunity for families to bond and share a love for literature together in the comfort of their own homes.

Step-by-Step Plan

The first step of this project was to create a list of the different languages spoken within our school community. Following this list, it was time to reach out to the high school ELD specialists through a survey to identify volunteers willing to record the selected bilingual books. Once the volunteers list was created, the next step was creating a list of 2-3 titles from Language Lizard in each of the five languages spoken by students at our school. Other titles were added to the list for our students but were not used in the recording session. These titles could be used in the future to have families record during events and add a QR code on the front cover as well. With the necessary materials in hand, the next step revolved around coordinating with the ELD specialist at the high schools and finding times that would work best for recording sessions. Each recording took about 1-2 minutes and was very fast. It took one day at both schools and each volunteer received a sticker created for this project. The sixth step involved creating a QR code for each book. This took some time as there were some problems generating QR codes that would not expire. Eventually, I came across an easy-to-use QR code generator that allowed me to edit them if needed.  The website used for the generation of the QR codes was https://me-qr.com/. With this generator, you can check how many times each code was scanned.After the QR codes were created, each one was printed out on sticker paper. All that needed to be done was to cut out each QR code and stick it to the front of the corresponding book.I introduced my English Learners (ELs) to the new books and explained how they could scan the QR codes on a phone or iPad at home. They enjoyed this part and could not wait to see the new books in the library and check them out. Sticky notes were also placed inside the books to prompt students and their families to share thoughts on what they liked about the book and what titles they would like to see next. At the end of this project, each of the families received a copy of one of the titles that went home with the student. This project aimed to enhance literacy and celebrate the linguistic diversity within our school community. 

Timeline

list languages spoken at the schoolidentify high school volunteers to record booksselect titles in home languagesset up recording sessions with high school studentscreate and print QR codes for booksintroduce books and demonstrate how to scan QR codesfamilies read books and provide feedback

Budget

Large World Map Tapestry Wall Hanging Amazon
100 Countries String Flag 2 Pack, 82 ft International Flags Amazon
Die-Cut Sticker Singles x50 VistaPrint
Custom Post-It Notes in Spanish VistaPrint
Custom Post-It Notes in English VistaPrint
Custom Post-It Notes in Swahili VistaPrint
Custom Post-It Notes in Russian VistaPrint
Custom Post-It Notes in Ukrainian VistaPrint
Custom Post-It Notes in Tagalog VistaPrint
Hello, Thank You, Welcome In Different Languages-Multilingual Posters 3 Pack-Hello In Different Languages - Multilingual Poster-Thank You in Different Languages - Multilingual Poster-Welcome in Different Languages - Multilingual Poster Language Lizard
We Can All Be Friends (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Book) - Spanish-English (x15) Language Lizard
We Can All Be Friends (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Book) - Russian-English (x3) Language Lizard
We Can All Be Friends (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Book) - Ukrainian-English (x3) Language Lizard
We Can All Be Friends (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Book) - Tagalog-English (x3) Language Lizard
We Can All Be Friends (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Book) - Swahili-English (x3) Language Lizard
3 Living In Harmony Books Set (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Books) - Ukrainian-English-We Can All Be Friends-Be Kind-Who Are We? Language Lizard
3 Living In Harmony Books Set (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Books) - Tagalog-English-We Can All Be Friends-Be Kind-Who Are We? Language Lizard
3 Living In Harmony Books Set (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Books) - Swahili-English-We Can All Be Friends-Be Kind-Who Are We? Language Lizard
3 Living In Harmony Books Set (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Books) - Russian-English-We Can All Be Friends-Be Kind-Who Are We? Language Lizard
3 Living In Harmony Books Set (Bilingual Diverse Children’s Books) - Spanish-English-We Can All Be Friends-Be Kind-Who Are We? Language Lizard
5 Book set (Children's Bilingual) - Ukrainian-English -Errol’s Garden-The Giant Turnip-Mungo Makes New Friends-Goldilocks and the Three Bears-The Three Little Sun Bears Language Lizard
5 Book set (Children’s Bilingual) - Spanish-English-The Biscuit Moon-Goldilocks and the Three Bears-I Took the Moon for a Walk-Happy After All-The Three Little Sun Bears Language Lizard
5 Book set (Children’s Bilingual) - Russian-English-Grandma’s Saturday Soup-Food, Food, Fabulous Food-Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat-Listen, Listen-The Three Little Sun Bears Language Lizard
5 Book set (Children’s Bilingual) - Swahili-English-Welcome to the World Baby-Tropical Rainforests-Fox Fables-Be Kind-The Three Little Sun Bears Language Lizard
5 Book set (Children’s Bilingual) - Tagalog-English-The Biscuit Moon-Errol’s Garden-Farmer Duck-Lima’s Red Hot Chilli-Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat Language Lizard

What did it look like?

Sustainability

As the number of newcomers continues to grow in our school district, I want to add more bilingual books to our library. Considering the influx of diverse languages entering our school, I plan to have families of our students volunteer to record themselves reading a book in their home language. As families enter our school with new languages, I plan to invite them to record also. These recordings can be accessed in the library for years to come and each year we will add new ones. Additional titles will be acquired and showcased at a back-to-school event to encourage families to participate in recording themselves and add to our multilingual collection of recordings. Families appreciate cultural representation, and this promises to be a great way to get our families involved in their child's literacy development.

Reflections

One take-away from this project is witnessing the smiles on my students' faces as they get to hear someone reading in their home language and getting to take books home to share with their families. Having the opportunity to go to the library and check out books that are available in both their home languages and English enables our students to feel a sense of cultural validation. As the materials came in, our librarian catalogued the new books. We designed a shelf with a globe to promote the new multilingual and multicultural books.I added sticky notes inside the books so, if a student takes the book home to read, both the student and their family member can write about what they enjoyed. This feedback not only enriches their reading experience but can provide me with insights for future resources. Once a sticky note is used, I can add a new one again for other families in the future. I recommend using a handheld voice recorder to record readers as it is easier to carry and can download the recordings onto your computer. This made recording the students faster and easier. The only difficulty was finding a QR code generator that allowed MP3 files to become static QR codes that never expire. You can also use Flip Grid as it already has a QR code generator included. I found this out at the end of my project and wished I could have re-done the recording but that can be for another time. You can easily implement this type of project within your classroom. Begin by identifying the languages spoken in the classroom. Then, order bilingual books to enrich the classroom library. I know our families would love to be more involved in their child’s literacy development and recording themselves reading the stories would provide a meaningful connection between home and school. Listening to recordings of family members adds a personal touch to the bilingual books in your classroom.

What did it look like?

See Examples of Winning Demonstration Projects

LEADing Internationally:

LEADing Internationally:

LEADing Internationally emphasizes a strengths-based approach which values learning in any language (Regional Educational Laboratory Program, 2015). This project seeks to provide materials in students’ home languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, Somali & Spanish) for student project work, required…

LEADing Internationally:
Culturally Aware Comets:

Culturally Aware Comets:

Mark Twain Elementary has a diverse population of students and staff, many of whom come from different backgrounds. Our school's diversity needed to be celebrated and recognized. Many students come from low-income families. These students have yet to have the opportunity to travel or gain…

Culturally Aware Comets:
Heritage Voices:

Heritage Voices:

The Heritage Voices: Empowering & Celebrating Biliteracy project aims to support heritage speakers in developing their bilingual and biliterate abilities. Given the large population of Spanish-speaking students in our district, our primary goal is to provide resources and guidance to heritage…

Heritage Voices:
Cross-Town Pen Pals:

Cross-Town Pen Pals:

The main objective of this pen pal project was to use diverse books representing cultures around the world to make connections with students in a different classroom in the district. Students used multicultural books to collaborate throughout two reading units that focused on theme, inferring, and…

Cross-Town Pen Pals:
Culture Cats:

Culture Cats:

Culture Cats is an after-school club that promotes learning and exploring other countries and cultures. We are called Culture Cats because our school has many English Learners (ELs) that make up our student body and our mascot is a wildcat. We use books, guest speakers, games, crafts, and snacks to…

Culture Cats:
Activities for English Learners:

Activities for English Learners:

The Monett School District boasts a richly diverse student body, with English Learners (ELs) representing the fastest-growing demographic nationwide, having increased by 60% over the last decade (Breiseth, 2015). Our district welcomes students from various countries, with Spanish being the…

Activities for English Learners:
Home-to-School Communication:

Home-to-School Communication:

The Monett community has twenty plus different languages or dialects spoken here. Newcomer families from other countries are on the rise, and there is a constant need to help students learn English as a second language. The purpose of this project is for students to practice their language skills at…

Home-to-School Communication:
Wordless Picture Books:

Wordless Picture Books:

My project’s purpose is to give English Learners (ELs) access to text through wordless picture books. The goal of using these books in our class and school is to engage students who are multilingual in our classrooms. Students may work on their language skills as well as reading and writing skills…

Wordless Picture Books:
Developing a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive School:

Developing a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive School:

The Monett R-1 School District serves a large population of English Learner (EL) students; out of 2,346 students, 48% identify as a minority. Many students come from low socio-economic backgrounds and have minimal literacy exposure. About half of the students in each Monett classroom are ELs, and…

Developing a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive School:
Home Language Reading Skills:

Home Language Reading Skills:

As many refugee and immigrant families arrive in America, their focus on language and literacy often shifts exclusively to the English language. Multilingualism is a strength, and it is important that our families maintain their home language literacy skills in conjunction with their English…

Home Language Reading Skills:
Biliteracy Breakfast:

Biliteracy Breakfast:

Many multilingual families forgo maintaining literacy in their heritage language in the pursuit of English. It is important to highlight the value and benefits of continuing the development of home languages. By inviting students and families to read together and explore literature and language, we…

Biliteracy Breakfast:
Our Little Library:

Our Little Library:

Many families of English Learners (ELs) are not able to read books from school with their child or help with homework because of the language barrier. Since some families believe they are unable to help their children with English and/or homework, they can become very disconnected from their child…

Our Little Library:
Rounding Up Resources:

Rounding Up Resources:

There are many resources available to support educators of English Learners (ELs), however, having access to those materials isn’t always easy. One cannot overstate the value of having resources available for teachers. We know that “without specific knowledge related to language development, even…

Rounding Up Resources:
Multilingual Listening Library:

Multilingual Listening Library:

Three second-grade classrooms offered their students access to a multilingual listening library. The main objective of this project was to promote the use of home languages and encourage English language acquisition.This project had two primary goals:To provide students with frequent access to…

Multilingual Listening Library:
Around the World:

Around the World:

Around the World Family Literacy night is a project designed to highlight differences in culture and build literacy skills. As an EL teacher in my district, I understand the importance of creating opportunities for our students and families to learn about other cultures within our school community.…

Around the World:
Home-to-School Literacy Project:

Home-to-School Literacy Project:

Family literacy activities are essential for student academic success in school. The Home-School Literacy Project equips students and parents with bilingual activities, books, and resources to support their literacy skills. Families participate in a literacy night to share their own experiences and…

Home-to-School Literacy Project:
Many Voices, One School:

Many Voices, One School:

Many of our students come to us from various countries, backgrounds, and cultural experiences. While some families bring educational experiences from their home countries before relocating to the United States, others, particularly our newcomers, may not have a strong literacy background or history…

Many Voices, One School:
A Multicultural Pirate’s Reading Night

A Multicultural Pirate’s Reading Night

Our school mascot is a pirate. My project, A Multicultural Pirate’s Reading Night, was an event in which multicultural families who have children enrolled in Preschool or Kindergarten were invited to learn about the importance of promoting literacy in their first language as well as English. The…

A Multicultural Pirate’s Reading Night
Promoting Family Conversations in Multiple Languages

Promoting Family Conversations in Multiple Languages

There is a need for deep conversation, even at a first-grade level. The purpose of the project is to promote conversations between students and their families via play, read-alouds, and everyday activities through literacy kits that students can check out. The kits include books, phonics games,…

Promoting Family Conversations in Multiple Languages
Celebrating Multilingual Magic:

Celebrating Multilingual Magic:

Wanda Gray Elementary stands as a cornerstone for education in Springfield, Missouri, providing a nurturing space for a diverse student population. Currently hosting 483 students weekly, with 29 benefiting from English Language Development (ELD) services and speaking languages other than English at…

Celebrating Multilingual Magic:
A World of Languages in Our Classroom:

A World of Languages in Our Classroom:

As a model language-rich classroom in my district, it is my goal to provide a comfortable, interactive environment for our multilingual students and their families. When students see their native language in books, posters, and through multimedia presentations they feel valued and have a sense of…

A World of Languages in Our Classroom:
DEAR to Me:

DEAR to Me:

DEAR to Me stands for Drop Everything and Read to Me and that is exactly what happened at the Monett Early Childhood Center.DEAR to Me is a special time for Middle School students to come and read in small groups.  Our kindergarten students got to hear books read to them in English, Spanish and…

DEAR to Me:
Dig Into Reading:

Dig Into Reading:

Through the Dig Into Reading multiliteracy project, we have created a culture of reading within our school and are continuing to promote reading engagement at home. We have been able to provide multilingual literacy resources and encouragement to enhance students' reading in their preferred…

Dig Into Reading:
HELLO! HOLA! XIN CHÁO! BONJOU! HALO!

HELLO! HOLA! XIN CHÁO! BONJOU! HALO!

As the population of English learners (ELs) continues to grow in our community, students can utilize their home language as a means to develop second language skills. The ELL Outreach Program brings together students of different ages yet similar cultures and languages to improve their English…

HELLO! HOLA! XIN CHÁO! BONJOU! HALO!
Many Languages, One Shelf:

Many Languages, One Shelf:

This project allows English learners the opportunity to check out materials that represent diverse cultures and languages. Most materials are bilingual and include English translations on the same page. These resources promote and maintain ELs’ home languages and build English proficiency. As a…

Many Languages, One Shelf:
Our Cultural Heritage:

Our Cultural Heritage:

Our Cultural Heritage is a project designed for students and families to work, share, and learn together. This project is designed for students to practice various reading, writing, and speaking skills to create an alphabet book about their families’ home countries.  Using a digital online book…

Our Cultural Heritage:
Language Clubs:

Language Clubs:

The students in our school come to us from many different backgrounds and cultural experiences. As educators, it’s our job to make all students feel welcomed and safe at our school and in our classrooms. Promoting and valuing the first language helps English learners and bilingual children feel more…

Language Clubs:
Welcome to Our Language Lab

Welcome to Our Language Lab

How can we make our schools more welcoming, accepting, and engaging for our students and families joining us from other places around the world? With a Language Lab!

Welcome to Our Language Lab
Multilingual Garden Unit

Multilingual Garden Unit

A community garden not only adds beauty to a school but also instills pride in the students that help build it. By utilizing best practices that teach English Learners (ELs), students explored how to design a garden.

Multilingual Garden Unit
Multilingual Story Garden

Multilingual Story Garden

A community garden not only adds beauty to a school but also instills pride in the students that help build it. By utilizing best practices for English learners (ELs), students visited a local community garden in the city to learn about gardening and sustainability. They also participated in a story…

Multilingual Story Garden
Multicultural Newsletter

Multicultural Newsletter

The multicultural newsletter aims build connections with multilingual families by getting to know them and by introducing them to the school community. Amber Troye shares her protocol and experiences that can help educators deepen their knowledge about multilingual learners’ home cultures,…

Multicultural Newsletter
Family Literacy Night

Family Literacy Night

The Family Literacy Night project involves caregivers in the life of an elementary school. In preparation for the event, reading buddies in kindergarten and 4th grade partner to read multicultural books; they also learn to tell wordless picture books and author their own.

Read the full blueprint.

Family Literacy Night
Better Together Unit in Nixa Public Schools

Better Together Unit in Nixa Public Schools

Kara Griffin at Summit Intermediate in Nixa Public Schools presents the blueprint of a project that aimed to welcome new families and unite the school around exploring the home cultures and languages of the students who attend. The project contributed a multilingual collection to the school library…

Better Together Unit in Nixa Public Schools
Newcomer Welcome Kits

Newcomer Welcome Kits

Sarah Reeves at Bayless School District in St. Louis, Missouri describes her school's activities that aimed at creating a welcoming environment for newcomer refugee families by supplying them with useful items in a thoughtfully assembled backpack.

Read the full blueprint.

Newcomer Welcome Kits