Days 7 and 8 Parnaíba and Carnaubinha Beach Resort June 13-14, 2016

After a nice long day at the Centro de Linguas, teaching and interacting with students, we were whisked off for a weekend adventure in Parnaiba.  Joselia had arranged for a driver from the Teresina Education Department to take us by pickup on the 5-hour journey.  We had dinner at an outdoor restaurant, accompanied by a brass band that Joselia said brought back good memories of her father’s music.

Parnaiba 1

The next morning we were driven to the Centro de Linguas of Parnaiba, the sister school to Teresina’s CCL.  We met and talked with the English teachers, sharing ideas for international travel and experiences and learning more about the education system in Brazil.                                                                                      Centro de Linguas Parnaiba

Joselia had a real treat in store for us for the second overnight.  The Carnaubinha Praia Resort was a beautiful, relaxing retreat with a pool and a restaurant, just steps away from the beach.     We caught a sunset at Barra Grande.  The impromptu dance party on the beach, initiated by Ricardo, our normally reserved driver, was the highlight of the evening.

Beach Resort         Barra Grande

Delta Boat TripBrazil 2015 113 Delta

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Days 5 and 6 Teresina June 11-12, 2015

Teresina arrivalAfter saying goodbye to the rest of the American TGC Fellows, I set off for the city of Teresina, accompanied by Allison Weller, a history teacher from Long Island.

Teresina is the capital of the state of Piaui in the northeastern part of the country.  It has a population of around 768,000 people, so it’s larger than Denver.  It is famous for being the hottest city in Brazil.  It is winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, so today’s high temperature of 91 degrees isn’t as unbearable as it will probably get in September.

According to the Lonely Planet Guide to Brazil, Teresina was founded in 1852 and was Brazil’s first planned city.  It is an inland city, with two major rivers, The Poti River and the Parnaíba River.  Though its economy is mostly made up of service and government jobs, with no major industries, education is valued here and there are many public and private schools and universities.

Our time here will be spent visiting different kinds of schools, both public and private.  We’ll be sharing ideas with students and teachers – presenting workshops and presentations and talking about the American system of education.  We hope to learn more about the Brazilian system and to spend time in classrooms with students of English.

Our host teacher for this adventure is Josélia Santos, an English teacher whose experiences abroad and excellent English skills make her the perfect person to introduce us to the life of a Brazilian teacher.  She’s also great fun! Allison and I are lucky to be matched with her.  Our home base is the Centro Cultural de Linguas (CCL), a public language school where students come to learn Portuguese, English, Spanish, and French.

Our first day in Teresina was spent getting oriented and meeting Josélia and Alex, her colleague at Centro de Linguas.  Josélia and Alex were both 2009 particpants in the International Leaders in Education (ILEP) Program, another US State Department sponsored program that brings teachers to the US from around the world for a 5-month intensive course of study.


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Igreja de São Benedito

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Our welcome dinner with Joselia and Alex at Seu Boteca

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Palácio Karnak, the official building of the Governor of the state of Piaui








The next day we made our way to the Centro de Linguas, met the principal and were introduced to some of the language teachers.  We stepped into several classes to introduce ourselves and talk about the Teachers for Global Classrooms program.  This was a new experience for many of the students who had never before met American teachers. They wanted to know all about our time in Teresina and about our favorite movies and actors and books.  Several students sang for us, and we had an impromptu lesson in dancing the Forró, a popular dance in the Northeast.

We got to drive around Teresina in the afternoon and visited a park at the confluence of the two rivers, the Poti and the Parnaíba.  We visited pottery shops and watched artisans sculpt and put together their creations.

Back at school we visited more classrooms and then left for a weekend adventure in Parnaíba, a coastal town that is a popular vacation destination for residents of Teresina.  A five hour drive got us there in time for a pleasant dinner near the river where a band played some Brazilian oldies that Josélia said reminder her of her father.Parnaiba 1

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Days 1-4 Brasilia June 7-10, 2016

Brasilia, the capital of Brazil didn’t exist 60 years ago.  It was built as a futuristic city in the heart of the country, and became the new  seat of government – the legislative, judicial, and executive branches are all there.

We toured the city by bus and stopped to see the National Stadium a venues for one of the  the recent World Cup soccer matches, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida, known as the Brasilia Cathedral.

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National Stadium, Brasilia

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Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida, known as the Brasilia Cathedral


While in Brasilia, we met with the staff at the American Embassy to learn about the work of the US government here and the partnerships in education, like Teachers for Global Classrooms, that we have with the Brazilian government.



Federal Institute of Brasilia

We also visited two schools in Brasilia.  The first was the Federal Institute of Brasilia (IFB) a public technology and professional school which offers high school all the way through PhD degrees in the technical trades and teacher education in subjects where there are DSC01275shortages.  The government has made many opportunities available for Brazilian students to gain skills and knowledge in important areas. A city-wide bus strike had left many students without transportation to school, so the classrooms were mostly empty.  The principal was gracious enough to make a presentation and show us around his facility.


Dance Studio

The second school we visited was a private school, Collegio Serios, for students pre-K through high school.  It was a delightful place, full of bright eager students.  A panel of students who had excellent English skills spoke to us about their school and answered our questions about their goals for the future.  A panel of teachers also answered our questions about their lives in the classroom.  We saw the littlest students taking their naps, primary students practicing a dance for their parents, and lined up very attentively in brightly colored desks, poring over their books.  We saw middle school students in the typical fashion of kids their age, pushing and shoving each other playfully at recess.  And we poked our head into well-equipped high school classrooms and labs.




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Teachers for Global Classrooms

Brazil US flagsIn a little over a week from now I will be making my way to Brazil on a travel fellowship as part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program.  For three weeks I will have the opportunity to visit schools and classrooms in Brazil where I’ll meet students and teachers and education officials.  I’ll get to share my experiences and American culture and learn all about theirs.  The three cities I’ll visit are:  Brasilia, the capital; Teresina in the state of Piaui; and Salvador, in the state of Bahia.

I’ve been preparing for this trip for quite a while now, exploring  themes of global education, ever since I found out a year ago that I was accepted to the program.  I completed an intensive 8-week online course, and then traveled to a symposium in Washington, DC in February.  Several weeks ago I was introduced to the teacher who will be hosting me and another American teacher in Teresina and we have made a day-t0-day itinerary of our time together.

It’s all becoming a little more real.

(Note:  This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program, IREX, or the U.S. Department of State.)

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Top 20 Brazil

Capa_de_Bruno_&_Marrone_AgoraListening to the Top 20 songs playing in Brazil this week:

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Food of Brazil

From Lonely Planet

“Eat Your Way Around Brazil”

“Brazil’s 3 tastiest treats: put a little history in your mouth”

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Music of Brazil

Listening to my first sounds of Brazilian music.

Listen to “Garota de Ipanema”  (Girl from Ipanema) MP3

Antonio Carlos Jobim

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Travel Deeper – Brazil

RioHikes-PedraBonita - Travel Deeper Blog

A travel blog by an American living in Brazil.

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The Economist: Security in Brazil: A magic moment for the city of God

SecuriCity of God (Economist)ty in Brazil:  A magic moment for the city of God

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Lonely Planet – Brazil

First book I always buy when planning a trip is from Lonely Planet.


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