Despite being located deep in the Amazon jungle, the indigenous tribes of Brazil share their country’s pride for their national game of soccer. The excitement is tangible as tribal members watch the World Cup matches on communal televisions in the tiny poverty-stricken villages.
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.
Excerpt: Deep in the Amazon…By Jere Longman,The New York Times
“The PP Maués would not set sail for an hour, but its long and narrow decks were already crisscrossed with hammocks for an overnight trip down the Amazon. By the time it was to dock early last Monday at the regional port for which it was named, the Maués would have traveled 15 hours from the nearest World Cup stadium. A second boat would be needed to reach an even more remote indigenous village that planned to watch Brazil play Mexico last Tuesday. The village did not have electricity or cellphone signals and would rely on a diesel generator to indulge its secluded passion for soccer. While Rio de Janeiro and its famous beaches provide the touristic backdrop of the World Cup, the fevered grip of the world’s most popular sporting event can be felt even in some of the most isolated areas of the rain forest, where outsiders seldom visit. Football is in our blood, said Andre Pereira da Silva, 32, the chief of a small community of Sateré-Mawé Indians in Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon, who served as a guide. The intended destination was his home village, Monte Salém, one of an estimated 150 Sateré-Mawé communities of about 11,000 residents along the lower Amazon. As a boy in Monte Salém, he made soccer balls with the sap of rubber trees, using a stick to shape the latex into an improvised if sometimes uncontrollable sphere. Ten trees for one ball…Nova Belo Horizonte is home to 22 families, most of them living in wooden houses with thatched roofs. A rudimentary soccer field, with wood goal posts and no nets, has been cleared of stones and tamped flat amid the surrounding groves of guaraná, pineapples, oranges, bananas, peppers and the staple root called manioc.
Health care is distant and inadequate, village elders said. There is no radio contact with the hub Maués, four or five hours away on the most common type of boat. Cellphones do not work. The front steps of the school have crumbled, and the ceiling leaks. Yet even if spending on World Cup stadiums seemed wasteful in a country with so many needs, it was important that the tournament returned to Brazil for the first time since 1950, said Reginaldo da Silva Andrade, 27, the chief of Nova Belo Horizonte… Brazilian people are the ones who love and watch the game the most in the world,” da Silva Andrade said. In Nova Belo Horizonte soccer serves many purposes: fun, fitness, conflict avoidance and a diversion from alcohol and drugs. It also provides a chance to socialize with other river villages. Teams travel by boat, and tournaments are often accompanied by festivals… “Brazil is a fighter,” said Luiz Sateré, Pereira da Silva’s father, who wore a Neymar jersey. “Brazil is a warrior.”
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video clip.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about aboriginal tribes living in the Amazon jungle of Brazil. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.
II. While Reading Tasks
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart by Education Oasis for assistance.
- The boat’s narrow decks were already crisscrossed with hammocks.
- It was to dock early last Monday at the regional port.
- A second boat was needed to reach an indigenous village.
- The intended destination was his home village.
- As a boy he made soccer balls with the sap of rubber trees.
- The game was also showing on a small, staticky television.
- A man pointed his flashlight at the water’s edge, searching for caimans.
- In mid afternoon Monday, the equatorial heat was stifling.
- Most families live in wooden houses with thatched roofs.
- Health care is distant and inadequate.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- Many of the remote indigenous villages now have electricity and cellphone signals.
- The villages are miles away from Rio de Janeiro.
- As a boy in Monte Salém Pereira da Silva made soccer balls out of the skins of animals.
- Flamengo and Vasco da Gama are names of two famous soccer players.
- Neymar is a young Brazilian soccer star.
- Today health care is adequate in the small villages.
- Some believe that soccer came to Brazil in the late 1890s by a man named Charles Miller.
- It is said that early Indians made balls from the latex of rubber trees.
- In the broader culture of Latin American soccer women are accepted into the game.
- There is an initiation ritual in which boys in the tribe become men after being repeatedly stung by venomous ants.
Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- The Maués would not set sail for an hour.
- A second boat would be need to reach an even more remote indigenous village.
- The village did not have electricity.
- Rio de Janeiro is famous for it’s beaches.
- He made soccer balls with the sap of rubber trees.
- Children played among the hammocks.
- The boat had no satellite dish.
- Paulo José, the ships owner, was left to eat in silence.
- Classes for older students in Nova Belo Horizonte cannot be held at night during the World Cup.
III. Post Reading Tasks
Reading Comprehension Check
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Directions: The following statements are from the article. Have groups choose one and restate the idea into their own words. In addition, have students give their opinions on what they think should be done to help the indigenous families living in the Brazilian jungles. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the discussion topics.
- “Nova Belo Horizonte is home to 22 [indigenous] families, most of them living in wooden houses with thatched roofs…Health care is distant and inadequate, village elders said. There is no radio contact with the hub Maués, four or five hours away on the most common type of boat. Cellphones do not work. The front steps of the school have crumbled, and the ceiling leaks.They only want our votes, said Luiz Sateré, 56, a community coordinator for the Sateré-Mawé. It’s the only thing that matters.”
- “Yet even if spending on World Cup stadiums seemed wasteful in a country with so many needs, it was important that the tournament returned to Brazil for the first time since 1950, said Reginaldo da Silva Andrade, 27, the chief of Nova Belo Horizonte.”
- “In Nova Belo Horizonte soccer serves many purposes: fun, fitness, conflict avoidance and a diversion from alcohol and drugs. It also provides a chance to socialize with other river villages.”
ANSWER KEY: World Cup in the Amazon