Student Work

The 4th of July

This was a 20-minute timed writing exercise by Abdulaziz Darweesh who was in ALI’s Level 4 Writing course in the summer of 2021. Because of the nature of the assignment, there was limited time to correct errors. Some of them were corrected later for this blog post.

The 4th of July is an important day for the Americans, and it is Independence Day, but it differs from my country’s national day. On the 4th of July, Americans usually have barbecues and fireworks. They enjoy their time and spend their time with their families. Eating barbecue and playing with fireworks are traditional ways to celebrate in the United States. In addition, young Americans play with fireworks insanely, and sometimes they lose their fingers because of what they do. It is one day in the year, so they spend their time carefully. However, in Kuwait, the 25th and 26th of February are the national days, the independence day and liberation day. People usually play with water balloons and fireworks. Water balloons are the new method of celebrating; they used to play with water weapons instead. Using water balloons is more interesting than using water weapons. However, water balloons are dangerous, and people sometimes throw balloons at other people’s faces, which might hurt them. The government put strict rules to avoid that, and they have tried several times to stop that. In comparison with the US, in Kuwait, we have two days, but in the US, it’s one day. Therefore, the holiday in Kuwait is longer than in the United States. To sum up, both Kuwaiti national days and the 4th of July are days people look forward to every year.


Holiday Summary

Student W wrote this summary for ALI Level 4 Writing class in the Fall semester of 2020.

In the article “Wonder in the Air,” the author, Jeff Gammage, writes about how he believes that it is important not to lie to his daughter, but he cannot always tell her the truth in the face of “symbols and myths.” First, the author and his wife created a rule that didn’t allow them to lie to their daughter, including Santa Claus. Then, he didn’t want to perpetuate the myth about Santa Claus with his daughter. When his daughter asked him about Santa Claus, he answered wittily. Secondly, according to the author, he had to choose between allegory and verity to answer his daughter’s desire to know whether Santa kept a list of children who badly behaved. Also, the author mentioned that his daughter asked about whether Santa would give her a gift or not. After that, he lied to his daughter, saying that Santa Claus would give her gifts. Besides, the author stated that Santa Claus provided evidence that he had gone to his home and gave his daughter some gifts. Finally, the author believes that children faith in the power of mythology. He thinks that was Santa Claus who wanted him to know those wonderful and magical things was not something ordinary people can see, and the author also writes that he told his daughter to give something to Santa Claus.    

Works cited  

Gammage, Jeff. “Wonder in the Air.” Ten Steps to Improving College Reading Skills, 6e., edited by John Langan, 2014, pp. 203-205.

Student Work

Remembering the Good Times in 2020

Before the pandemic, 2020 looked like it would be an excellent year for Kansas City. Its professional football team, the Kansas City Chiefs, won the Super Bowl, and it was probably the last time hundreds of people gathered together here in celebration. Here is one Level 3 Writing student’s account of the celebration from February 2020.

The last Wednesday, the whole of Kansas City was like an exciting child who goes [for a] picnic instead of school. I watched the parade through real-time streaming by YouTube. Because where I live was so far from downtown, I could not walk there by myself. Besides, it was because there must have been a lot of people, I could only imagine going there.  I enjoyed comfortably the wonderful view in my room, and I looked at a few novel things. First, the streets were red color over.  Although the parade day’s weather was quite freezing, almost people were wearing various red items as if the rabbit which put on a red hat or red cape.  The sight was very funny, and they seemed cute and naive.  Second, the Hero, the players who stood manly aloft on the parade car looked so nice and handsome.  What a supremely confident smile!  If I looked at the players at the actual place, and if I had touched their hands, I might have fallen in love with at first sight.  Perhaps, I thought many people might have fallen in love with them there the day.   Last, of course, the people were massively crowded from the baby to elderly people.   However, when I saw the sky view by broadcasting, honestly, it didn’t look as much as I imagined.   When I focus around the parade, It looked like a flock of sparrows, but the view from away the focus saw unexpected free space.   If I knew it, I wish I should have gone there.  Anyway, while I was watching the spectacle, it took me to a world of interesting Kansas City in fairy tales for a moment.


Studying at the ALI During the 2020 Pandemic

One of our students, Ateyah Alharbi, volunteered to share his experiences of studying at the ALI and living in Kansas City when the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Spring 2020 semester. We interviewed him via Zoom, the video conferencing platform we have been using to keep our students safe and engaged in their English language development.

In this video he shared how he kept busy during the quarantine, how the transition from face-to-face classes to online learning affected him, and how the pandemic affected his family. Despite all of the setbacks from the pandemic, Ateyah told us what he likes about studying in the United States and living in Kansas City. You can read the whole transcript by viewing the video on YouTube and reading more below the description.

We wish Ateyah well in all of his future endeavors!

Student Work

Learn to Be Kind

This essay was written by Weijing Li (Vikki), a Summer 2020 student in the level 5 ALI Writing course.

No one wants to be subjected to school violence, and no abuser is willing to admit or take responsibility for his or her crimes. Every day people in the world fall into pain and even lose their lives because of campus violence. In addition, with the progress and development of society, intramural violence has gradually developed from real life to virtual network. As an U-News staff stated that some college students’ bullying occurs through fraternity and sorority bullying, but it is increasingly happening online through social media (U-News Staff, P5). The 2019 Chinese movie Better Days definitely points out the harm of school violence because it uncovered the crimes of many abusers, the plot fits in with the current social background,and there is a good meaning to encourage people who are abused in school.

First of all, this film fully exposes the crimes and ugly faces of the abusers in school violence. Some of the abusers’ horrific behavior leads to serious injuries or even death of their victims. As Tigran V Avetisov mentioned in his article, “Recently there was a story published on CNN by Eliott C. McLaughlin talking about how one fifth grade girl attacked Raniya, another fifth-grade student, who later died from her injuries” (Avetisov, P4). In addition, abusers often don’t admit and take responsibility for their mistakes and crimes until the police and witnesses come up with strong and convincing evidence. They mislead and influence younger people and students in the wrong way. Young teenagers and children are unconsciously influenced by the people around them to try to imitate the behavior of people older than themselves. If they are surrounded by such people, they will think it is right and record it in their mind and want to try to imitate it. In a word, the movie accurately reveals the crimes and evil faces of the abusers in school violence.

Second, I recommend this movie because its plot is very close to the background of the current society. Many students in today’s society are suffering from it. An article about school bullying claim that a little more than half the students responded to the survey, and 47 percent said they were the victim of at least one episode of peer mistreatment as students; 62 percent reported either witnessing or enduring mistreatment on a weekly basis (Martellaro, P1). Besides, it comes as a surprise that today’s abusers tend to be students with good grades or wealthy families. This is because children from wealthy families are spoiled by their parents and thus get deformed and spoiled love. While the reason why students with high scores are often because their parents and teachers have too high expectations on them, which leads to excessive pressure, abnormal mood swings and distorted psychology. A report documenting a professor’s view of school violence said that bullying is no lower than it used to be, and the author mentions in his article that Dr. Dan Weddell said in his speech that it was another thing in the classroom, claiming that bullying is as bad as ever (UMKC Today Staff, P2). All in all, its plot is so close to the background of today’s society that people can resonate with it.

Last but not least, the film has a very positive effect on encouraging those who have been bullied and are being bullied. The ending of the film is a happy denouement in which good triumphs over evil. Moreover, in the Film, the protagonist always responds to the abusers with an unyielding and not weak personality and attitude. An article about the experience of girls being bullied tells the story of a girl named Salina who was once subjected to racial discrimination and school violence because she was Asian, but Salina never gave in and she decided to become stronger and smarter in this situation (Glass, P1). The author believes that this kind of bad behavior and words to her instead became her motivation and made her work hard until the day she succeeded. At the end of the film, a propaganda video against bullying was put up. The promotional video played a very good effect because the theme and content of the promotional video not only sublimated the whole film, but also made a summary of the movie. Overall, the film provides encouragement and psychological comfort to those who are being bullied and are being bullied, and has a very positive impact.

In a word, school bullying brings endless harm and pain to students, families and schools.The movie Better Days not only accurately describes the harm of school violence, but also shows the result of the positive energy that good will eventually triumph over evil. The 2019 Chinese Film Better Days accurately reveals the atrocities of school bullying because it depicts the crimes of many abusers, the plot is consistent with the current social context, and has a good starting point and inspiration for those who are abused in school. I believe that in the future, with the passage of time, the development of society, and the progress of mankind, bullying and violence in school will be reduced gradually until the day it disappears.

Works Cited

U-News Staff. College – Cyber Bullying, National Concern. University News, 2013.

John Martellaro. Bullying Occurs at Every Level, Including College. UMKC Today, 2012.

Tigran V Avetisov. Bullying in America. UMKC Project: From Us To Them, 2019.

UMKC Today Staff. UMKC Professor Says Bullying in the Classroom is as Bad as Ever. UMKC Today, 2015.

Kennedi N Glass. Stereotypical. UMKC Project: From Us To Them, 2019.

Student Work

My Best Vacation

The following passage was written in June 2020 by Sara Alnoufali in Writing II (ENG 102D).

My best vacation is to Calcutta, India because it has three interesting places. The first place is the old market in Calcutta on the main street. It is a huge and interesting market. This old market has a lot of small shops, it has more than 100 shops. You can find anything there, and it is too crowded because it is outdoor, so there are a lot of people and cars. For example, you can find Indian traditional clothing, traditional food, traditional games, and you can find a temple. The second place is an old jail called St Angelo’s. It is a jail inside the fort. The place is like the forest, and it is very big. The door was made of iron, and it is black. They used it for psychological torture for criminals, but now they use it for the tourism. For example, there is graffiti in the wall, and iron handcuffs. Finally, the most interesting place is the zoo. This zoo has a lot of animals. It is a very huge zoo. It has a lot of animals that I have never seen it before. It is remarkable. There are a lot of trees, and it was very crowded. For example, there are many kinds of snakes, monkey, crocodiles, and owls. There is a huge bird, and they put it in a big cage because it is a cannibal. In conclusion, I like Calcutta a lot because of these interesting places the zoo, the market, and the jail.

Student Work

Super Bowl Victory Parade

The following essay was written by student Masako Aizawa for her Level 3 Writing class in response to her participation in the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory parade.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV parade on Friday 5th, 2020 was fun event for Chiefs’ fans, Chiefs’ cheerleaders, and Chiefs’. It was unbelievably cold day that was around 27 degrees outside. But many Chiefs’ fans welcomed back to the team and thanked for their amazing historical victory. I had prepared making my favorite hot caramel favorite coffee, and set a piece of cinnamon bread pudding on the table, then turned on the TV in my cozy warm living room. I enjoyed three things from watching through the parade.

First, I saw huge happy red colored crowds all over the street and at Union Station for waiting for the parade. I surprised seeing babies who was bundled up with red blankets. Also, the man who was half naked and his body was painted in red. A couple of men were drinking  beer on the top of the trees. In the morning, I wished the parade would be filled with many Chiefs’ fans. It was nice to see the giant supporters.

Second, Chiefs’ cheerleaders seemed relaxing and enjoying the parade. It was very nice to see them, sitting inside the double-decker bus with full of smile. The cheerleaders worked hard as football players, so they deserved this victory celebration too. The cheerleaders gave us the  joyful moments during the games. It was time to receive appreciations from Chiefs’ fans. I liked see their smile from the top of the red double-decker bus.

Third, each of Chiefs’ members was really happy and being free at the parade. It was very funny that some players came out from the buses, then started dancing with their unique movements and goofy face expressions. Some players were singing and high-touching with their fans . The others were showing crowds their Super Bowl victory trophy. I saw many scenes  that the players and their fans were laughing and talking each other. It looked everyone do not mind of the cold temperature. 

In conclusion, Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory parade was fun, because I felt that Chiefs’  fans had a great time watching, Chiefs’ cheerleaders  had relaxing  and happy time, and Chiefs’ teammates enjoyed their victory celebration with their big fans. 


Happy New Year!

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

— John Dewey.

This is the first post on ALI’s new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.