Category Archives: Events

Happy São Jõao!

São Jõao, aka the June fesival, in Brazil – bonfires, lots of corn and corn-related foods, homemade liquors and tons of forró music and dancing (check out the news clip below at minute 2:20 for a demonstration by yours truly!) and even a type of square dance called quadrilha!  Think Brazilian Carnaval …for the country folks.

The northeastern tradition, celebrating the nativity of John the Baptist, draws from the european midsummer… although here in the Northeast the festival marks the beginning of winter (and when I say winter in the NE of Brazil think springtime weather in DC) and the end of the rainy season.  In the semi-arid climate of the interior, a little rain is cause for thanks and celebration indeed.  If you´d like to see where I was last year during this time and some examples of the quadrilhas, check out this short clip:

São Jõao is one of my favorite holidays of all time.  It unites the warm, happy people of the Northeast  and celebrates the culture of their region: a region often marginalized and discriminated against, despite its being what I think is the richest and most unique area in the country.  A lá Brazilian, we now have two weeks of vacation, to make the end of São Jõao a little less painful.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Tying it all together: English Week at UPE

Since our students are busy with other classes, and in many cases jobs and families, it’s often hard for Cara and I to find enough time with them to do all the activities we dream up. But when we’re given that time in the school schedule, it’s a great opportunity—like Cara’s English Week in Salgueiro, or in this case, my Encontro de Língua Inglesa at UPE. (The event happen at UPE, but also included students from the IF and FACAPE, and interested community members.)

Rafaela teaching her workshop, Common Pronunciation Mistakes for Brazilian Speakers of English

One of the things I was happiest about that week was the breadth of activities: we had everything from academic lectures and pedagogical lessons to dancing, singing, poetry, films and baseball games (check out the whole program!). Language learning is so dynamic because virtually any kind of activity can be relevant and valuable by incorporating the language or its culture.

For example, Cara’s hip hop dancing workshop breaks out of the “language classroom” model but accomplishes many of the same goals: the students practiced listening comprehension (her directions were all in English), they learned some important vocabulary (left and right, body parts, movements, etc.), and they got a direct cultural experience with a specific kind of American music. Cara even incorporated some sports culture into the dance choreography—baseball and basketball moves! I think that as English Teaching Assistants, this out-of-the-classroom kind of language instruction is often our forté. For the most part, I leave the grammar lessons to the experts—the trained professors—and augment those lessons with baseball games, dance classes, an English chorus, and any other kind of activity I can imagine to bring the language to life.

Leandro visiting the White House on the Tour of DC

Which brings me to the part of the week that I concocted completely from scratch: the Tour of Washington, DC. The activity was organized like a huge scavenger hunt for the whole group: after an introductional lecture about the District, I split them into five teams (with US state names) and directed them to visit each of five “attractions”: the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Newseum. Each of these attractions had a room of its own, with a projection of the silhouette of the building and at least three activities, plus a discussion question, posted on the walls. Examples of activities included: filling out the blanks in the lyrics of “I’m Just a Bill” from Schoolhouse Rock, completing a George Washington wordsearch, finding world headlines on the Newseum website, and writing three questions to ask President Obama if you had the lucky chance of running into him at his favorite burger joint, Ray’s Hell Burger. Upon completing at least two activities per room (taking into account that some activities would require too high a language level for some students), everyone had to return to the auditorium to complete an entry in the DC Guest Book.

I still love the entire concept of this activity, and now that I’ve prepared all the materials, its replicability is extremely attractive. However, I also learned some really valuable lessons that will improve the Tour in the future. You can see those thoughts below (click “continue reading” at the end of the post). I also hope anyone who participated will send their reactions and feedback to me.

Marcelo about to hit a home run in our baseball game!

Before this post gets too long, I’ll mention one more wonderful aspect of the English Week programming: we were lucky to have a great diversity of guest professors. My students already know Cara but are always happy to see her again, and they also got the chance to meet Laraine (our English Language Fellow in Petrolina) and Rafaela (the wonderful English professor at the Instituto Federal). In addition, we coordinated the final English Festival to coincide with the visit of five English teachers from Texas A&M University, who had been traveling in Pernambuco giving workshops to English teachers in the public schools and universities. If anything, I know my students learned one new word in English Week: “howdy!”

We’re about to go on winter break here in Petrolina, and I’m heading to meet my parents in Rio, but UPE’s English Week was a wonderful way to finish the semester: having planned an entire week of activities for over 100 students, I have some real successes and lessons learned to file away for next semester’s adventures.

See my pictures from the week here!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Rugby and Dancing and History, Oh My!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two Rubgy workshops (with 80 students each), one hip-hop dance class,  ten meet-and greets, one stereotypes activity, a dozen sessions of one fantastic English class featuring Shakira (thanks to the lesson planning of the incredible Laura Mizuha, English fellow in Salgueiro, PE) and a history lecture by Chelsea– our week at the Salgueiro Campus of the IF-Sertão Pernambucano was a busy one.   Check out my FB album for pictures of the week (click here for pics from the classroom and click here for Rugby shots) and tag yourselves a vontade (as you please).

The post was delayed while waiting for student feedback, but here it is at last-in English and Portuguese.  Read over the student and staff responses, and you can see what a big difference one week can make!

If I had to invent a perfect work week, this would be it.  I adored every second.

How does a week like this happen?  Start with a visionary research coordinator (Clovis Ramos, Professor of Irrigation) (note – this could be YOU), add two very dedicated English teachers (Roberta Godoy and Josenildo Forte) to organize the schedule and help facilitate the classes, a wonderfully dynamic PE teacher (Marcio Gondim) and a campus full of students and staff eager to help and to learn.   So, I know you’re all wondering – where will the next week be?

…You tell me!

This is an open invitation for all interested parties to please contact me at cara.snyder@ifsertao-pe.edu.br if you,  too, would like a fun-filled, tailored, English inspiring day or week at your school!  I would LOVE to hear from you. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

English Week at UPE!

I’m so excited to announce a special event next week at UPE Campus Petrolina: the first Encontro de Língua Inglesa, a week of lectures, workshops and activities coordinated by me, the other UPE English professors, and my favorite American nordestinas Cara and Laraine (our English Language Fellow). The event will include UPE, IF-Sertão, and FACAPE students, as well as ex-students and other interested parties in the area.

You can see the program on the blog for the UPE English course, upepetrolinacursoingles.wordpress.com.

To register, send an email with your name, school and class (or, in the case of an ex-student, place of work) to englishweekupe@gmail.com.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Stereotypes Continued at English Week in Salgueiro, PE

As a follow-up to Chelsea’s great post on stereotypes, I would like to continue and expand on the theme by sharing an activity about stereotypes during English Week (May 21-25) in Salguiero.  Inspired by her first American Club’s meeting about stereotypes, I decided to also touch on the theme, this time focusing on stereotypes we hold regarding the USA and Brasil.  The dialogue was lively and the results were fantastic.

I began the lecture with printouts of 4 provocative pictures.  In groups of 3 students and staff worked together to write opinions, descriptions and questions on the back of the photo.  When I said switch, they were to exchange pictures with a group who had a picture different from theirs and repeat the process.  After the third switch someone from each group was called to stand up and read the comments on the back of the picture (comments written by groups other than their own).  After each group spoke I revealed who the people in the picture were (see the included power point presentation… but before reading the answers, try yourself!): 1 an American boy scout; 2 Japanese-Brazilians in São Paulo (the largest city in Brazil in the state of São Paulo); 3 Brazilians in Rio Grande do Sul (another Brazilian state); 4 Mexican-Americans celebrating 5 de mayo.

Groups talked amongst themselves about stereotypes – definitions, when they are helpful vs hurtful, etc. and then we watched the first 4 minutes of a clip from an episode where the Simpsons go to Brazil, which you can watch by clicking here or by clicking on the slide in the power point presentation.  They wrote down the stereotypes made evident in the clip, we talked about it as I wrote their comments on the white board (shown in the image below).  Then all together we named some of the stereotypes people have of Americans including fast food, capitalist, warmonger, etc.

But my favorite part was the discussion that followed when I provoked “ok, so we all know what we don’t want people to associate with Brazil, but what do you want people to think about when they think about Brasil”?  I started them off with some of the things I associate with Brazil such as a thriving democracy, warmth and hospitality, athleticism, diversity and openness.  They added many more including nature, gastronomy and lots of music and dancing from the North East .

Student Feedback: on the left, some of the existing stereotypes and on the right, are some alternative visions as expressed by the participants!!

The group present in the classroom represents mostly people from the interior of the North East region of the country.  Yet Brazil is physically massive with extreme regional, cultural, environmental and even linguistic diversity.   With the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016) coming up, Brazil will be spending millions on selling  its (whole) self, and I for one and thrilled to see what they will come up with!

So, readers, what do you all think about Brazil?  How about the USA?  I’d love to hear from our multi-cultural readership–have Chelsea and I made you think twice about any stereotypes formerly held?

Tagged , , , , ,

Hip-e Hop-e

Before coming to Brazil and learning Portuguese, I realized that my favorite word in “Brasileiro” is Hip Hop.  It’s pronounced Hip-e Hop-e… which makes me very hoppy 🙂

This year I have started a Hip-Hop Dance Club at the Zona Rural.  I made a video with the first two short choreographies. It is the first of hopefully many, so I would love your feedback.

We laugh, we dance and we learn, and like all good things we end with a little samba.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Schedule for English Week in Salgueiro

Cara and I are so excited to be assisting and teaching English classes this week at the IF Campus in Salgueiro! Cara is already on campus working with the students, and I’ll be heading there tomorrow morning. See the schedule below:

 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Manhã

  07:30 – Participação de Cara na aula de Inglês Instrumental do curso de Tec. em Alimentos.

 

09:oo  – 10:30

RUGBY

 

 

 

09:00 Participação de Cara na Turma do MI Agro 2º ano

WAKA WAKA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09:00 Participação de Cara na Turma do MI Info e MI Edif.  2º ano

WAKA WAKA

Tarde  

 

 

 

 

14:00 – Chegada de Cara ao Campus.

 

15:00 – Apresentação de Cara para todos os Servidores (aproveitar aqui para falarem em inglês)

 

16:15 – Apresentação de Cara às turmas

 

 

 

13:30 – Participação de Cara no FIC da turma de Campinhos

WAKA WAKA

12:00 – Almoço no Chamas Grill

 

 

 

 

 

14:00

HIP HOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16:15 – “Talking” com Cara (os profs de inglês) com todos os servidores que queiram participar

STEREOTYPES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15:00 –

RUGBY

 

 

 

 

 

16:15 – Colóquio com a Americana Chelsea sobre a História do Brasil.

 

 

13:00 Participação de Cara na Turma do MI Info e MI Edif.  2º ano

WAKA WAKA

Noite  

 

19: 30 –

Apresentação de Cara às turmas

 

19:00 – Participação no FIC de Inglês para Professores

WAKA WAKA

   

 

 

20:00 – Pizza no Ponto de Encontro, coma a presença de Cara e Chelsea.

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

American Easter at IF-Sertão, Zona Rural

Chocolate eggs, the Easter Bunny, decorating eggs only to hunt them later—what could be more fun than an American Easter? This year, me, Chels and Rafa with the help of art Professor João and with many thanks to Director of Administrations Alberto Bruno and Pedagog Rosilene Oliveira, put on an American Easter at the IF Sertão, Zona Rural Camps for the 110 students of the accelerated High School (Ensino Medio) program.  It was a hit.

It was a great to start to what will hopefully be a year full of culture and language-related activities.

This blog post will be done in three parts—the background and English activities, the decorating of eggs, and then finally the hunt!

Part I- The Class, A Palestra

Before the lecture we filled cups 2/3 of the way with water and 1/3 with vinegar before adding the food coloring to dye the eggs.  Then Chelsea and I explained some of the history of Easter and about the American traditions of Egg decorating and the Easter-Egg Hunt.  The students completed worksheets and had a review test—the first to correctly finish the test won a pin-drive!

Part II- The Decorating, A Decoração

After the lecture, it was time to decorate.  The students split into three classrooms.  There, they used wax crayons and rubber bands to form patterns on their eggs before submerging them in dye for 5 minutes.  Some added oil for a psycidelic, tye-die effect.   They turned in at least two eggs for the hunt and took two home to show to their family and explain the American tradition… and then, of course, to eat!

Part III- The Hunt, A Caça aos Ovos

The next day we hid the eggs in a top secret location as the students anxiously awaited.  Once set loose they took 30 mintues to find the carefully hidden silver egg!  They received prizes for the most eggs collected (35 eggs was the winner) and the finder of the silver egg.  Thanks to all who participated and collaborated for a delicious and hoppy Easter 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

New Language Center at the Instituto Federal

Panel of speakers from left to right: Artidonio Araujo Filho, Leopoldina Veras, Sebastião Hildo Diniz, Cara Snyder, and Jeziel Junior da Cruz.

Thursday, March 29 was an exciting day at the IF Industrial campus in Petrolina: the official inauguration of a new Global Culture and Language Center (GCLC) dedicated to supporting English language learning for students at the IF. Students, professors and administrators packed the room to listen to impassioned speeches by the school’s General Director Sebastião Hildo Diniz, Industrial campus director Artidonio Araujo Filho, director of education Leopoldina Veras, international relations coordinator Jeziel Junior da Cruz, Professor of Information Technology and mastermind of the Global Language and Culture English Program Alexandre Correia, and English professor and “official inspirer” Cara Snyder.

Alexandre Correia spoke to a full classroom at the inauguration.

I wish I could convey through this post the energy present in the room while listening to that panel of speakers. It’s overwhelming the increase in initiative and energy that people here have to support English learning and the rising importance (stimulated in large part by Government efforts) they place on studying abroad. Cara has said that the comparison from last year to this one is striking—people seem to finally be waking up to the reality that globalization is unavoidable even in a region that was formerly thought to be insular and isolated, and they are correndo atrás—an often used Brazilian saying that means working hard to achieve something—to take part. For a deep-rooted cultural change to take place so palpitably in such a short time span (Cara has been here for a little over a year) shows another unique Brazilian strength: extreme flexibility in finding ways to get things done, aka the jeitinho brasileiro.

Me, getting excited about some of the new resource books for the GCLC!

As we have said in previous posts, English skills are for many students the singular obstacle to studying abroad, and the GCLC is a tangible step towards overcoming that obstacle.

Perhaps most importantly, the Center is a physical space at the school dedicated to English language learning. Having this space gives a sense of permanency and legitimacy to the school’s mission to teach its students English, and the Center will be a nexus for students eager to find a way to study abroad in English-speaking countries.

Tagged , , , , ,

Plant a Tree, Write a Book and Have a Child

A Brazilian saying says that before you die you must:

1-Plant a tree

2-Write a book

3-Have a child

I’m light years away from number 3, and this blog is the closest I’ve goten to a book, but on Friday, March 30, 2012, when the Petrolina campus celebrated it´s 29th year of being, I planted my first tree!

The event  (click here to see the day’s activities) featured a band called Pierrot (pictured below) made up of students from the IF, tree planting (also pictured below), and live music played by the IF- Sertão orchestra (click here to see their blog).

Happy birthday dear IF-Sertão, Petrolina… and many more…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tagged , , , , ,
Advertisements