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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on the Rio de Janeiro Carnival

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Date: Feb 19, 2007
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THE ARTICLE

Rio carnival says “no” to violence

Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival opened on Sunday with a riot of colour and music. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers arrived in the city to dance through the streets and watch parades, samba dancers, and hundreds of other colourful attractions. In keeping with tradition, Rio’s mayor handed the key to the city to the king of the carnival – named Rei Momo. This year, carnival king Alex de Silva took the key for the ninth year running in a noisy ceremony in front of Rio’s city hall. Mayor Cesar Maia declared: "From this moment, happiness will reign across the city." Mr de Silva echoed these words. He said the carnival “requires some serious work, but…we have the right to play”. He hoped people would be “filled with the spirit of carnival” and could “enjoy the mixing between social classes and respect each other”.

In spite of the positive words expressed by the mayor and carnival king, violence is overshadowing this year’s event. A wave of drug-related violence has hit the headlines in recent days. One battle between drug gangs resulted in a six-year-old boy being dragged four kilometres through the streets by a gang member’s car. The child’s death shocked even city residents, who have become almost immune to hearing about child murders. In another incident, the vice president of a top samba school and his wife were shot dead last week. Mayor Maia said that: "Rio has to overcome these regrettable events and promote its true nature.” He stressed that the majority of Brazilians are “calm, peaceful, and happy people”. He told reporters that the carnival was a good time to say “no” to violence.

WARM-UPS

1. BRAZIL: What information would you like to know about Brazil? Walk around the class and find out as much as you can. When you have finished, sit with your partner(s) and share your information.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

Rio de Janeiro / carnival / riots / partygoers / city halls / echoes / spirits / positive words / violence / waves / drug gangs / samba / happy people

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. A TALE OF TWO CITIES: With your partner(s), talk about how your city might be a city of two halves. Talk about the differences that exist regarding the points below. Will these differences get bigger or smaller in the future?

  • wealth
  • class
  • housing
  • religion
  • skin colour
  • education
  • security
  • happiness

4. CARNIVALS: Look at the “carnivals” in the table. With your partner(s), talk about what might happen in each one. Rate them: 10 is “I would love to go to this one”, 1 is “I’d rather sit at home and study English grammar”.

  • The Microsoft Carnival
  • The Hollywood Carnival
  • Carnival of the Sun
  • Carnival of the Ants and Spiders
  • The English Grammar Carnival
  • Carnival of the 21st Century
  • Children’s Carnival
  • Love Carnival
  • One World Carnival
  • My Carnival

5. QUICK DEBATE: Students A believe the Rio Carnival should be shut down until the city’s crime levels reduce. Students B believe this is a silly idea – Carnival is something that brings joy to Rio. Debate this with your partners. Change partners often.

6. VIOLENCE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with violence. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Rio’s famous carnival opened with street riots and violence.

T / F

b.

The city’s mayor gave a key to a man for the ninth year in a row.

T / F

c.

The mayor predicted it would rain across the city.

T / F

d.

The carnival king said people from all walks of life party together.

T / F

e.

Drug related crimes have been on Rio’s newspaper front pages.

T / F

f.

A six-year-old boy’s death shocked the city’s residents.

T / F

g.

A famous samba dancer and his wife shot a gang leader.

T / F

h.

Rio’s mayor said it was an opportune time to reject violence.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

world famous

unfortunate

b.

riot

rule

c.

partygoers

taking the edge off

d.

running

spate

e.

reign

revelers

f.

overshadowing

tranquil

g.

wave

mass

h.

immune

in a row

i.

regrettable

unaffected by

j.

calm

renowned

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

a riot of

these words

b.

In keeping

across the city

c.

Alex de Silva took the key for the ninth

these regrettable events

d.

happiness will reign

of drug-related violence

e.

Mr de Silva echoed

colour and music

f.

violence is

to hearing about child murders

g.

A wave

with tradition

h.

become almost immune

Brazilians are calm

i.

Rio has to overcome

overshadowing this year’s event

j.

the majority of

year running

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Rio carnival says “no” to violence
 

Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival opened on Sunday with a ________ of colour and music. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers arrived in the city to dance through the streets and watch parades, samba dancers, and hundreds of other colourful ________. In keeping with ________, Rio’s mayor handed the key to the city to the king of the carnival – named Rei Momo. This year, carnival king Alex de Silva took the key for the ninth year ________ in a noisy ceremony in front of Rio’s city hall. Mayor Cesar Maia declared: "From this moment, happiness will ________ across the city." Mr de Silva echoed these words. He said the carnival “________ some serious work, but…we have the right to play”. He hoped people would be “filled with the ________ of carnival” and could “enjoy the mixing between social classes and ________ each other”.

 

 

 

running
attractions
respect
requires
riot
reign
tradition
spirit

In ________ of the positive words expressed by the mayor and carnival king, violence is overshadowing this year’s event. A ________ of drug-related violence has hit the headlines in recent days. One battle between drug gangs ________ in a six-year-old boy being dragged four kilometres through the streets by a gang member’s car. The child’s death shocked even city residents, who have become almost ________ to hearing about child murders. In another ________, the vice president of a top samba school and his wife were shot dead last week. Mayor Maia said that: "Rio has to ________ these regrettable events and ________ its true nature.” He ________ that the majority of Brazilians are “calm, peaceful, and happy people”. He told reporters that the carnival was a good time to say “no” to violence.

 

 

resulted
promote
wave
overcome
incident
spite
stressed
immune

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Rio carnival says “no” to violence

Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival opened on Sunday ______________ and music. Hundreds of thousands of ______________  in the city to dance through the streets and watch parades, samba dancers, and hundreds of other colourful attractions. ______________ tradition, Rio’s mayor handed the key to the city to the king of the carnival – named Rei Momo. This year, carnival king Alex de Silva took the key ______________ in a noisy ceremony in front of Rio’s city hall. Mayor Cesar Maia declared: "From this moment, ______________ across the city." Mr de Silva echoed these words. He said the carnival “requires some serious work, but…we have the right to play”. He hoped people would be “______________ of carnival” and could “enjoy the mixing between social classes and respect each other”.

______________ positive words expressed by the mayor and carnival king, violence is overshadowing this year’s event. ______________ violence has hit the headlines in recent days. One battle between drug gangs ______________ six-year-old boy being dragged four kilometres through the streets by a gang member’s car. The child’s death shocked even city residents, who have ______________ hearing about child murders. In another incident, the vice president of a top samba school and his wife were shot dead last week. Mayor Maia said that: "Rio has to _____________________ events and promote its true nature.” He stressed that the majority of Brazilians are “calm, peaceful, and happy people”. He told reporters that the carnival was a good time to say “no” to violence.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘say’ and ‘no’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “CARNIVAL” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about carnivals and festivals.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • riot
  • hundreds
  • keeping
  • running
  • reign
  • spirit
  • spite
  • hit
  • immune
  • overcome
  • majority
  • no

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you read the headline?
  2. What adjectives would you use to describe this story and why?
  3. What do you know about Rio de Janeiro and its carnival?
  4. Are you a carnival person?
  5. Have you ever been anywhere where there was a riot of colour and music?
  6. What would your city be like if happiness reigned across it?
  7. Does your city have any festivals or carnivals?
  8. Is there social harmony in your town?
  9. Do you think everyone has the right to play?
  10. Would you like to attend Rio’s carnival?

---------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Does violence overshadow life in your town?
  4. Are there waves of drug-related crimes in your town or country?
  5. How would residents of your town react to the killing by a drug gang of a six-year-old boy?
  6. What do you think is the best way for Rio to rid itself of drugs, guns and crime?
  7. What is your image of Brazilian people?
  8. In what other ways can a city’s residents say “no” to violence?
  9. Do you think people are immune to seeing death and destruction on TV and in the papers?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

YOUR CARNIVAL: In pairs / groups. You are a carnival organizer. Decide on one of the carnivals from activity 4, page 3 of this lesson. Fill in the details of the table together.

The carnival: _____________________________

Why you chose it

 

When it’ll be

 

The main themes

 

Side shows/events

 

Security

 

Competitions and prizes

 

Slogan and logo

 

Change partners and share your ideas. Give each other advice on better ideas for the carnival.

Give a presentation of your ideas to your classmates. Vote on the best one(s).

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

Rio carnival says “no” to violence

Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival (1) ____ on Sunday with a riot of colour and music. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers arrived in the city to dance through the streets and watch parades, samba dancers, and hundreds of other colourful attractions. (2) ____ keeping with tradition, Rio’s mayor handed the key to the city to the king of the carnival – (3) ____ Rei Momo. This year, carnival king Alex de Silva took the key for the ninth year (4) ____ in a noisy ceremony in front of Rio’s city hall. Mayor Cesar Maia declared: "From this moment, happiness will (5) ____ across the city." Mr de Silva echoed these words. He said the carnival “requires some serious work, but…we have the right to play”. He hoped people would be “filled with the spirit (6) ____ carnival” and could “enjoy the mixing between social classes and respect each other”.

(7) ____ spite of the positive words expressed by the mayor and carnival king, violence is overshadowing this year’s event. A (8) ____ of drug-related violence has hit the headlines in recent days. One battle between drug gangs (9) ____ in a six-year-old boy being dragged four kilometres through the streets by a gang member’s car. The child’s death shocked even city residents, who have become almost (10) ____ to hearing about child murders. In another incident, the vice president of a top samba school and his wife were shot (11) ____ last week. Mayor Maia said that: "Rio has to overcome these regrettable events and promote its true nature.” He (12) ____ that the majority of Brazilians are “calm, peaceful, and happy people”. He told reporters that the carnival was a good time to say “no” to violence.

1.

(a)

open

(b)

opened

(c)

opening

(d)

opener

2.

(a)

At

(b)

In

(c)

On

(d)

An

3.

(a)

nameless

(b)

naming

(c)

named

(d)

name

4.

(a)

running

(b)

runs

(c)

run

(d)

runner

5.

(a)

reins

(b)

rein

(c)

rain

(d)

reign

6.

(a)

with

(b)

of

(c)

on

(d)

at

7.

(a)

Out

(b)

Of

(c)

On

(d)

In

8.

(a)

wave

(b)

ocean

(c)

tsunami

(d)

crest

9.

(a)

result

(b)

resulting

(c)

resulted

(d)

results

10.

(a)

immunize

(b)

immunization

(c)

immune

(d)

immunity

11.

(a)

dead

(b)

death

(c)

die

(d)

deadly

12.

(a)

importance

(b)

tension

(c)

pressured

(d)

stressed

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about the Rio de Janeiro carnival. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. CARNIVAL POSTER: Make a poster showing some of the world’s famous carnivals. Show your poster to your class in the next lesson. Vote on the best one

4. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about drug-related crime. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Which article was best and why?

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the mayor of Rio. Tell him what he should do to stop the violence in his city. Ask him three questions. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

world famous

renowned

b.

riot

mass

c.

partygoers

revelers

d.

running

in a row

e.

reign

rule

f.

overshadowing

taking the edge off

g.

wave

spate

h.

immune

unaffected by

i.

regrettable

unfortunate

j.

calm

tranquil

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

a riot of

colour and music

b.

In keeping

with tradition

c.

Alex de Silva took the key for the ninth

year running

d.

happiness will reign

across the city

e.

Mr de Silva echoed

these words

f.

violence is

overshadowing this year’s event

g.

A wave

of drug-related violence

h.

become almost immune

to hearing about child murders

i.

Rio has to overcome

these regrettable events

j.

the majority of

Brazilians are calm

GAP FILL:

Rio carnival says “no” to violence

Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival opened on Sunday with a riot of colour and music. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers arrived in the city to dance through the streets and watch parades, samba dancers, and hundreds of other colourful attractions. In keeping with tradition, Rio’s mayor handed the key to the city to the king of the carnival – named Rei Momo. This year, carnival king Alex de Silva took the key for the ninth year running in a noisy ceremony in front of Rio’s city hall. Mayor Cesar Maia declared: "From this moment, happiness will reign across the city." Mr de Silva echoed these words. He said the carnival “requires some serious work, but…we have the right to play”. He hoped people would be “filled with the spirit of carnival” and could “enjoy the mixing between social classes and respect each other”.

In spite of the positive words expressed by the mayor and carnival king, violence is overshadowing this year’s event. A wave of drug-related violence has hit the headlines in recent days. One battle between drug gangs resulted in a six-year-old boy being dragged four kilometres through the streets by a gang member’s car. The child’s death shocked even city residents, who have become almost immune to hearing about child murders. In another incident, the vice president of a top samba school and his wife were shot dead last week. Mayor Maia said that: "Rio has to overcome these regrettable events and promote its true nature.” He stressed that the majority of Brazilians are “calm, peaceful, and happy people”. He told reporters that the carnival was a good time to say “no” to violence.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - b

2 - b

3 - c

4 - a

5 - d

6 -b

7 - d

8 -a

9 -c

10 - c

11 - a

12 - d

 

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