By Rosii, Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Here are some activities I did with the students in my school. We celebrated Thanksgiving as an event because my headmaster asked me to do something with this date as the students had to learn about American culture. One week before Thanksgiving, we had a Halloween Party, which is normally celebrated here in Brazil. We also commemorate Black Awareness Day because much of our population is black and is a descendant of slaves. Because the days were so close together, we had a lot to prepare in a very short time.

It is the first time that the school and students have had this experience.
First, I asked them to do some research on Thanksgiving, and then I talked about it. I asked them to choose a photo of their family at a meal and describe it, to write a text, to answer the 5w questions and, at the end, to write down what they are thankful for.

First I read them a text. They had to read, interpret and contextualise it and then identify the 5W’s questions in the text and answer them. Then the students brought in a photo and did the same. It was a challenge, but I helped them and instructed them not only to answer the 5W’s questions but also to contextualise the photo itself.

In this photo, we see two friends. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, friends are never forgotten and are invited to the meal if they are alone on that day.

At our Thanksgiving Celebration, some of my students gave a little presentation.

Bianca (on the right) and Rayane (on the left) opened the celebration in English and Portuguese. They explained what Thanksgiving is, and what we would see the classes do.

Here you see Aznath, one of my good students, and an employee next to her. Her name is Nice, and she is a cleaner at the school. She is singing the song “Hallelujah” written by Leonard Cohen. Raphael, an art teacher at my school, wanted to include other people in the celebration, as a way of saying thank you.

Gustavo then read one of his own poems. He is a brilliant student who loves to write. The title is Imaginary Sea. After researching Thanksgiving, he simply wrote 7 – 8 verses very quickly. When he showed them to me, I was very impressed. I asked him to read his poem at our celebration. The audience loved the poem. But this is not new, because we always ask him to write something when we have an important day or event. The poem was in Portuguese, and then he translated it into English.

I really like this short. They created a short play in English without my help. They wrote the text and then presented it to the school and the teachers. I am so proud of them. It is about a meal, celebrating the date, and explaining what Thanksgiving is.

These are my beautiful and committed students who made the play.

At the end of the Thanksgiving presentations, after dinner, we set up a table with sweets that they love.

On Friday the 24th of November, we celebrated Black Awareness Day.

It is actually a holiday on November 20th, but the actual celebration is a few days later. Here, we commemorate the slaves that came to our country from Africa. The video below was chosen by our Philosophy and History teacher. She explained to the students what black awareness is. Our goal was to have some students sing this song. They invited me to help them because the song is in English. I could help them with the pronunciation and what the song means.

Here we rehearsed our performance. 😃

My really, really hard job, but I loved it😃😃

I’m just happy and blessed with this project engaging both periods of my school. The guy with the guitar is art teacher Rafael and the little boy wearing glasses is his son. They sing in the church too…they’re really really really amazing…. There was very little time to rehearse.

Here is the final performance. In the end, they asked me to be part of the choir too. Ahh, it was the first time I sang in a choir and in English, the song is beautiful, I confess I got goosebumps, we didn’t rehearse much and that’s all we managed.

Everything was a mad rush because we also had to fulfil the content of the 4th and final term… But I have some great students who are helping me with this arduous task
You’ve seen that I’ve written down how to pronounce the words “it’s not that correct” but it helps because they don’t have the ability to speak yet, I’m the only English teacher in the school who tries to work on their speech.

As I said, it’s very difficult to teach in a public school and the government doesn’t care about teachers, but I still try to do my best in the conditions I have. I love it, and I’m very happy when I see progress in my students….

By the way, Aznath, my singing student, sent me some short videos of the work my philosophy teacher friend Adriana did with our students on Black Consciousness.

The students did their work under the guidance of philosophy teacher Adriana. The photographs of the black students were taken by philosophy teacher Diógenes. There were many beautiful photographs, but Adriana had to choose a few to develop and exhibit.

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