Welcome to Our Language Lab

Welcome To Our Language Lab

Lara Garrett, Sherwood Elementary, Springfield, Missouri

Intro

Уявіть, що ви іммігруєте з іншої країни і вперше вступаєте в нову школу. Ніхто в будівлі не розмовляє тією ж мовою, якою ви розмовляєте вдома.

Uyavitʹ, shcho vy immihruyete z inshoyi krayiny i vpershe vstupayete v novu shkolu. Nikhto v budivli ne rozmovlyaye tiyeyu zh movoyu, yakoyu vy rozmovlyayete vdoma.

Imagine immigrating from another country and walking into a new school for the first time. No one in the building speaks the same language you speak at home. Because of the current conditions of the world, we are expecting even more immigrants and refugees, coming from traumatic life experiences, joining us in our schools in the coming year. How can we make our schools more welcoming, accepting, and engaging for our students and families joining us from other places around the world?

Step-by-Step Plan

Our funding provided bilingual library books in all eight languages currently spoken in our school community.

Once the books were purchased and added to the library collection, sections were adjusted to allow for a multilingual book display in the library. 

Near these books, a corner of the library has been setup as the “Language Lab” where our EL specialist regularly works with multilingual students. We have decorated the area with flags, globes, and maps.

The librarian collaborated with the classroom teachers to set up days and times when students can visit the Language Lab for multilingual activities including stories, videos, coloring pages, worksheets, and games featuring different languages. These activities were planned in collaboration with the EL specialist.

Students speaking ANY language are welcome to visit the language lab during these open times.

Parents are encouraged to read aloud any of our bilingual books. With permission, we will record this reading, then place a laminated QR code in the front cover of the library book, so other families can scan the code and hear the book read in the language other than English.

We are offering Sherwood Language Lab t-shirts for students and parents who become involved in our program.

We featured the Language Lab to parents visiting during open house and family nights throughout the year.

Timeline

June-July: Research languages spoken in our school; order books accordingly.

August: Work with teachers to set timing for open Language Lab club times.

September: Feature Language Lab at open house and have parent involvement and student sign up/permission slips available.

September-December: Run the first session of the Language Lab; End the session with a celebration, invite parents, and hand out t-shirts for participants; Collect feedback to prepare for the second session.

January-May: Run an additional two sessions of language lab (possibly one entirely focused on Spanish); Continue to elicit feedback from students, parents, and teachers regarding what is working well and what needs improvement.

May: Evaluate the program with the EL Specialist and involve teachers and families. Identify books to order for the upcoming year, determine which languages were underrepresented, and decide on program modifications and improvements.

Budget

We ordered nearly 150 bilingual books representing languages currently spoken in our school community from Amazon.

 | Item | Cost
| A Song of Frutas | $13.69
| ¡Todos a Comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book (Bilingual English and Spanish Edition) | $15.99
| How Kids Celebrate Holidays Around the World (Kids around the World) | $15.95
| The Heart of Mi Familia | $16.99
| Where Are You From? | $11.98
| Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (The Questioneers) | $12.87
| Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World | $14.49
| Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book | $17.49
| Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers | $14.99
| Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua | $15.69
| A Bedtime Full of Stories: 50 Folktales and Legends from Around the World (Volume 7) | $17.99
| May Your Life Be Deliciosa | $14.19
| A Year Full of Stories: 52 classic stories from all around the world (Volume 1) | $16.79
| If Dominican Were a Color | $14.33
| Watch Me: A Story of Immigration and Inspiration | $13.39
| Home for the Holidays: A Book for Kids About the Different Holidays That Bring Us Together, with Elmo | $5.49
| Lulu the One and Only | $12.88
| Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx / La juez que crecio en el Bronx (Spanish and English Edition) | $10.99
| Niño Wrestles the World (Golden Kite Honors) | $19.99
| A World Full of Spooky Stories: 50 Tales to Make Your Spine Tingle (Volume 4) | $18.79
| Bright Star | $13.43
| Joy to the World!: Christmas Around the Globe (World of Celebrations) | $16.99
| Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale | $15.29
| A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals: Over 90 fun and fabulous festivals from around the world! (Volume 6) | $10.29
| Lubna and Pebble | $13.79
| Across the Bay | $17.99
| Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma | $15.49
| I am Frida Kahlo (Ordinary People Change the World) | $11.89
| Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country | $17.09
| Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin | $12.39
| Lucia the Luchadora | $13.59
| Fearless Trailblazers: 11 Latinos who made U.S. History (English and Spanish Edition) | $18.99
| Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México | $14.49
| Diego Rivera: His World and Ours | $12.29
| Coquí in the City | $16.49
| What Is A Refugee? | $18.90
| Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family | $15.21
| Twas Nochebuena | $10.47
| Lilah Tov Good Night | $11.96
| What's on Your Plate?: Exploring the World of Food | $16.83
| A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas | $12.29
| Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth | $2.80
| Tiny Travelers Puerto Rico Treasure Quest | $11.39
| A World Of Cookies For Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World | $13.19
| Feasts and Festivals Around the World: From Lunar New Year to Christmas | $17.29
| Tani's New Home: A Refugee Finds Hope and Kindness in America | $10.79
| Watercress | $16.99
| My Papi Has a Motorcycle | $12.89
| Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day; Celebremos El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros | $17.75
| P Is for Poppadoms!: An Indian Alphabet Book | $15.39
| We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga | $13.29
| Zài dòng wù yuán qí miào de y tin (A Funny Day at the Zoo, Mandarin Chinese language edition) | $14.39
| Courageous History Makers: 11 Women from Latin America Who Changed the World (English and Spanish Edition) | $18.99
| Gibberish | $15.99
| Be Bold! Be Brave! 11 Latinas who made U.S. History (English and Spanish Edition) | $18.99
| Celebrations Around the World: The Fabulous Celebrations you Won't Want to Miss | $13.19
| Luli and the Language of Tea | $17.59
| Isabel and her Colores Go to School (English and Spanish Edition) | $13.91
| Sandwiches and Samosas | $19.78
| What Do You Celebrate?: Holidays and Festivals Around the World | $12.99
| Eyes That Speak to the Stars | $14.95
| ¡Vamos! Let's Cross The Bridge (World of ¡Vamos!) | $13.49
| Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage | $12.99
| I Am Golden | $14.44
| Coleccion de oro Jorge el curioso/A Treasury of Curious George (bilingual edition) (Spanish and English Edition) | $10.79
| The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk | $11.59
| Babushka: A Christmas Tal | $12.49
| The Legend Of The Poinsettia (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) | $17.20
| I Found It! a bilingual look and find book written in Traditional Chinese, Pinyin and English (Chinese Edition) | $15.99
| Paletero Man/¡Que Paletero tan Cool!: Bilingual Spanish-English | $17.99
| Kolobok (Russian, Chinese, English and Spanish Edition) | $16.87
| Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes | $17.37
| ¡Vamos! Let's Go To The Market (World of ¡Vamos!) | $8.89
| Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States | $16.85
| Dancing Devi | $19.95
| Eyes That Kiss in the Corners | $14.38
| Let's go on a hike! Written in Traditional Chinese, Pinyin and English: A bilingual children's book | $13.29
| Ek Naya Din: A New day - A Hindi English Bilingual Picture Book For Children to Develop Conversational Language Skills | $15.96
| Are You My Mother?/¿Eres tú mi mamá? (Bilingual Edition) | $12.65
| Happy within / Feliz por dentro: English- Spanish Bilingual edition | $16.00
| ¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat (World of ¡Vamos!) | $8.99
| Festival of Colors | $11.98
| The Name Jar | $17.99
| Russian Fairy Tales: Masha & The Bear, Kolobok, Teremok, Repka: Bilingual Text Russian Fairytales In English for Little Ones: Masha &The Bear, Little Bun, Wooden House, Turnip | $24.99
| Deep in the Woods | $7.99
| Total | $1,244.77

Sustainability

Hardback, mylar-covered library books can last for years. All books ordered were hardback books, and I used my library resources to protect book jackets with mylar. We will continue to order books to fill this collection and continue to represent additional languages as we gain new students over the years. However, the concept, space, and display are easy to keep going from one year to the next.

Reflections

Sherwood currently supports a high number of students who speak a language other than English in the home. We've had as many as a dozen languages spoken in our school at one time. Our library adds additional multilingual titles each year to represent these students, but these books often cost more and are harder to access than English-only library books. This grant includes a carefully curated list of 150 titles, specifically representing all languages and cultures of our Sherwood community. Some titles are about diversity and multiculturalism in general, others are bilingual titles meant to support multilingual learners, to bring books home that families and students can read in their first language in addition to English. Our native English-speaking students also benefit greatly from having access to these books and exposure to global culture, stories, and languages. The books from this grant will be on a display in the library for all students, teachers, and families to check out, integrate into lessons, and use to support our school community and help make Sherwood the most welcoming school it can be. 

The Sherwood English Language Development Specialist, our teachers participating in the model language rich classrooms, and the librarian collaborate throughout the year to support students in our Language Lab in the Sherwood Library. This Lab houses games, activities, and books representing a variety of cultures and languages from our community. At family events, parents are encouraged to explore the language lab and check out books and activities to take home and enjoy as a family. The library books will be an integral part of our language lab, as this is the easiest way to provide long-lasting, hardback resources that are tracked and checked out to families (like all other library books), and will stay as a part of our school's resources for years to come.

Welcome to Our Language Lab

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