August 23, 2019–7:05 a.m.
Rome, Georgia is hosting a few very special guests this week. They have traveled thousands of miles to see how we live and learn in the U.S., and Rome Middle School had a chance to open their classrooms to 12 Japanese students and three adults who accompanied them.
The student exchange program is one that Rome Middle School has a history with, and RMS administrators, faculty and students were more than happy to show them around the school.
“Julia Patterson, who has mentored here at Rome Middle School, asked if we would like to be a part of the exchange program. Our school has been involved with this program before, but it has been a few years since we’ve had visitors from other countries in our classrooms to observe,” said Dr. Christy Epps, assistant principal at RMS. “The goal was to provide an opportunity for the exchange students to interact with our teachers and students, so we picked an ELA class with Ms. Barbara Chapman, a math classroom with Ms. Courtney Clark and an agriculture classroom with Ms. Ashley Hamby.”
The students from Japan brought along a translator who assisted with the language barrier, but the activities organized by the RMS teachers bridged the gap between Rome’s students and their Japanese counterparts. For example, Clark’s entire class covered multiplying integers using small circles that were red and gold. Exchange students worked side-by-side with the Wolves to solve equations but finding that they were more alike than different was the real lesson educators hoped to convey.
“They are working together in groups so that we can encourage our visitors and our students to learn about each other’s cultures,” Dr. Epps explained. “We had the students in our agriculture class learn about farming in Japan and we also asked them to offer information they had learned about American agriculture to our guests.”
“We asked our students to study the top five commodities for Japan and for the U.S.,” said Ashley Hamby, agriculture teacher for RMS. “Today, we talked about farming techniques in Japan and in America. I have enjoyed watching our students learn from children who are their age and from another country. Also, I am so happy that we were able to help our exchange students learn a little more about what life is like for us. This program is a great learning experience for all involved.”
“This is amazing for our students because we have essentially brought a new part of the world into Rome Middle School,” Dr. Epps smiled. “They are staying with us to have lunch, and I have seen nothing but smiles from all of the children since they have been in class. It is amazing that we can offer our children the chance to learn from someone who lives so far away.”
Parke Wilkinson, Principal at RMS, agreed. “I am thrilled that we are able to open our doors to students from Japan. It is great that they are willing to share their culture with us and we hope to share the best of who we are with them.”