Tag Archives: activity

Teaching Baseball to Brazilians

In the middle of April, I kicked off the weekly meeting of the American Club at UPE – Campus Petrolina. (Check out the calendar of future events here.) Our first meeting’s theme was one of the things I am most excited to teach here: baseball! I am a big baseball fan, and the start of the national leagues’ season in April seemed like an appropriate time to begin teaching the sport to my students.

It was just a start, but a great start—we have some important new vocabulary, a basic understanding of the rules (three strikes and you’re out; run around all the bases back to home plate and you get a point), and perhaps most crucially, we produced a lovely rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Below, I’ve posted my presentation, for curious readers but particularly for students to practice the vocabulary!

For future classes on baseball, I’m excited to get to teach baseball idioms (sneak preview: “When we meet for class again, I want to practice our song right off the bat! = “immediately”). I also want to talk about minorities in baseball and the story of Jackie Robinson, as well as get into some more controversial questions: what about women in baseball? Is baseball democratic? Teaching this stuff makes me so happy; it almost doesn’t count as work. (But as we said in a previous post, work and fun are often synonymous here.)

After I finished teaching yesterday, I ran into a few students who hadn’t been able to come to the class. They saw the baseball bat sticking out of my bag (yes, I brought one) and asked if they could play. Uh, of course! This part was totally unplanned: stumbling through an impromptu game of baseball in the courtyard at 9pm with a bunch of Brazilians. Three trees were our bases, and no one had gloves, but that’s the best thing about sports like this—for basic functionality, you need minimal equipment. Mostly the men played (and one woman, plus me), but other students gathered around to watch, and it reminded me how much physical games can bring people together. And even better, it was none other than America’s favorite pastime bringing us together. This is exactly why I am here. Since language and culture are so tied, even if I’m not great at teaching English grammatical structures, at least I can provide the cultural component—with barely any effort; simply my presence and a bat and ball.

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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 🙂

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